Before dental implants, patients had to settle for structurally incomplete prosthetic appliances that looked and felt noticeably artificial. Now that dental implants are an option in a wide variety of scenarios of tooth loss, patients have access to a revolutionary treatment method that dramatically improves on stability and functionality of the smile after tooth loss.
The innovative technology that bestows these qualities on dental implants capitalizes on the process of osseointegration, in which the jawbone at the implant site is able to form a strong bond with the dental implant’s titanium surface over several months after the oral surgeon inserts the dental implant in the patient’s jaw.
Osseointegration leaves the dental implant to serve the same basic purpose that the missing biological tooth’s root did. Not only does it support the crown (or bridge or denture in the case of multiple missing teeth), but it also stabilizes the jaw. When a tooth’s root is no longer present, the jawbone slowly erodes and changes shape. That jawbone atrophy often causes a dental bridge or denture to lose its shape, which does not happen with dental implants.
Because the quality of bone at the implant site is so essential to successful osseointegration, the oral surgeon must first determine whether the patient has adequate jawbone material in order to successfully place a dental implant. If the patient has already lost some bone, the surgeon may recommend an initial bone graft prior to dental implant placement.
The dental implant placement procedure is completed on an outpatient basis. Patients may be able to be fitted with a temporary appliance on the day the dental implants are placed and get a stronger, permanent prosthetic when osseointegration is complete. After getting their dental implants, most patients are able to resume most of their normal activities within a few days. Your surgeon will give you specific post-operative instructions so that you can do everything possible to support an uneventful healing process.
Dental implants have a number of advantages in comparison to traditional tooth replacement appliances. To learn more about how these devices have dramatically changed the landscape of tooth replacement, call our office to schedule an evaluation.