What is a dental implant?
An implant is a titanium root that is placed in the area that your lost tooth once occupied. Just as your teeth can receive dental crowns, a crown can be made and cemented on this titanium root. This restoration mimics your tooth’s natural shape and color and appears to emerge from the gums as a natural tooth.
Who is a candidate for implants?
Anyone who is missing one or more (even all) of their teeth may be a candidate for implants. If one or a few of the teeth are missing, implants in conjunction with a crown or bridge can replace those teeth and function as normal teeth without losing more bone and being subject to decay. Ultimately, a consultation with a dentist who is knowledgeable on these procedures can help determine your individual needs.
Why should I choose an implant?
For some an implant may cost more up front than a dental bridge. However, a dental implant is not susceptible to decay unlike bridges. Dental bridges require the teeth in front and behind the open space to be filed down to allow room for 3 or more connected crowns. If any tooth involved in the bridge is damaged or decayed the bridge must be replaced. The average life of a bridge is 15 years. This means that most bridges will require replacement at least once in your lifetime. The average expectancy for an implant is 30 years with some studies suggesting even longer. An implant is the best investment for tooth replacement.
When is the best time to replace my tooth?
The best time to replace a lost tooth is soon after removal when the bone healing response begins. An open space in the mouth will not be open for long. The teeth around your missing tooth will tip into the space. If there is a tooth above or below your missing tooth, it will rise or fall into the empty space. When a tooth is removed the bone that surrounded it begins to deteriorate. As this bone disappears, nearby teeth will lose their support. This could cause pain, loose teeth, lack of retention for bridges and dentures, sharp and painful ridges, loose gum tissue and sore spots. With tooth loss, a five-fold decrease in function occurs and the stomach must work harder to digest food leading to ulcers and other digestive problems. With today’s technology often an implant can be placed the same day as tooth removal saving your time and money as well as ensuring an excellent outcome for implant placement.
Who places my dental implant?
A specialist, an oral surgeon or periodontist, will perform your implant (titanium root) placement procedure. Dr. Morgan will give you a referral and we can assist you in making a consultation appointment. At that consultation with the specialist you will review costs, healing time, and the details of your procedure. Typically you will have 3-4 months of healing time between the placement of your implant and the time Dr. Morgan can begin making your crown that is placed on your implant.
Will I have a tooth while I heal after implant placement?
Many patients choose to have a retainer made that replaces your missing tooth or teeth during the healing process. It is commonly called a flipper and is usually made by Dr. Morgan before your tooth is removed and your implant is replaced. When an implant replaces a front tooth often a temporary implant crown is made to help the gums heal properly and ensure a beautiful cosmetic result.
Who makes my dental implant crown?
Dr. Morgan will make the implant crown after you have healed from your implant placement and your specialist “uncovers” it from under the gums. The process of making an implant crown is similar to the process of making a regular crown. At your first visit an impression will be made of your implant and sent to the lab. About 3 weeks later you return to Dr. Morgan and your implant crown is fitted and placed on your implant (titanium root).
How long will my implant and implant crown last?
The average expectancy for an implant is 30 years with some studies suggesting even longer. In fact, an implant is so solid and strongly bonded to your jaw bone that it does not “give” as teeth do when chewing. You may benefit from an occlusal guard (night guard) to protect your natural teeth from damage at night when most tend to clinch or grind. An implant crown, dependent on habits and forces, should have a similar life expectancy. It is important to note that an implant must be cared for with regular dental cleanings and excellent oral hygiene just as any other dental restoration.