What is a dental implant?
A dental implant is a small titanium screw that serves as the replacement for the root portion of a missing natural tooth. Dental implants can be placed in either the upper or lower jaws. Due to the biocompatible properties of titanium, a dental implant fuses with the bone and becomes a good anchor for the replacement tooth. Dental implants can be used in solutions for replacing single or multiple missing teeth.
Why dental implants?
Compared to fixed bridges, dentures, and other surface restorations, dental implants offer several benefits. They are the most natural-looking type of restoration for missing teeth. They can give you the most freedom with your daily activities. Dental implants are permanent, and they can provide superior comfort over dentures, which may slip out of place or break during regular use.
The most significant benefit of implants is the ability for greater enjoyment of life. Anyone missing teeth sacrifices their confidence and the ability to smile and laugh without covering their mouth in shame. But benefits go beyond this:
Improved appearance: When there is tooth loss, there is also loss of bone support to your facial structure. Without this support, your face can eventually change shape, making you appear older or gaunt. Dental implants provide the same support as your natural teeth.
Easier speaking: Removable dentures slip and slide in the mouth and impact speaking ability, causing embarrassing slurring and mumbling.
Easier eating: Implants are secured into your jaw and allow you to bite with the same amount of force as your natural teeth.
Easy care & convenience: Implants don’t require glues, cleaning tablets, or weird flossers. Just brush as usual!
Improved oral health: Dental implants don’t require attachment to other teeth, as a dental bridge does. The surrounding teeth are untouched, improving oral health all around.
Bone loss prevention: When teeth are missing, bone loss occurs in the jaw. Bones need constant stimulation from teeth. Dental Implants provide this stimulation.
Durability: Other options in tooth replacement need repairs from time to time or replaced periodically. Dental implants can last a lifetime if properly cared for.
Can anyone get dental implants?
In most cases, anyone healthy enough to undergo a routine dental extraction or oral surgery can be considered for a dental implant. Patients should have healthy gums and enough bone to hold the implant. They also must be committed to good oral hygiene and regular dental visits. Heavy smokers, people suffering from uncontrolled chronic disorders -- such as diabetes or heart disease -- or patients who have had radiation therapy to the head/neck area need to be evaluated on an individual basis. If you are considering implants, give our office a call to schedule a consultation with Dr. Geislinger.
Do dental implants last?
Unlike natural teeth, dental implants are not susceptible to dental disease such as decay; however, the health of the gums is vital to maintaining lasting implant success. Conscientious home care by the patient and regular professional cleanings and check-ups are essential elements for dental implant sustainability. Each patient is different, and success relies upon diagnosis and planning, medical history, and a variety of other factors.
How long is the implant process?
Each patient is different. After completing the necessary diagnostics, your dentist will provide you with a treatment plan including the estimated amount of time to complete the process. Total treatment time depends on your needs, medical and dental history, the health of the supporting bone in your jaw, and the technique and materials that will be used. It can be as short as a few months, or more than a year for more complex conditions.