Dental implants change peoples lives when it comes to replacement of teeth. Dental implants provide a foundation for artificial teeth which look, feel and function like your natural teeth. With dental implants people who have lost teeth regain the ability to eat almost anything, and are confident because their teeth appear natural and their facial contours are preserved.
What are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are tiny titanium posts, which are implanted into the jawbone where teeth are missing. These dental anchors act as root substitutes that are surgically inserted into the patients jawbone. During this process the bone bonds with the titanium post which creates a strong foundation. Small posts are then attached to this implant; these posts provide stable anchors for artificial replacement teeth. Dental implants also help preserve facial structure, which helps prevent bone deterioration that naturally occurs when teeth are missing.
Dental Implant Surgery
For most people, placement of dental implants involves two procedures performed by a oral surgeon or a dentist who specializes in dental implants. First, implants are surgically implanted within your jawbone. Following this surgery, the dental implants, which are placed beneath the gum line, are gradually bonding with the jawbone. This process usually takes 2-3 months to complete, but you will always have teeth to wear. Most people will be able to wear dentures and eat a normal food diet during this time.
After the implant has completed bonding to the jawbone, the second phase begins. Your oral surgeon will uncover the implants and attach the small titanium posts. These posts will act as anchors for your new artificial teeth. When the artificial teeth are placed, these posts will not be seen. The dental implant procedure usually takes 6-8 months from beginning to end, and most patients experience minimal disruption in their daily life.
With recent advances in dental implant technology and methods, oral surgeons are able to place “single stage dental implants”. The benefit of these types of dental implants is that there is no second procedure to uncover the implants. These types of dental implants do require at least 1 to 6 weeks of healing time before artificial teeth can be placed. In some cases dental implants can even placed at the time of tooth extraction, once again lessening surgical procedures. Additional advances in dental implant methods have made it possible in select cases to extract teeth and place dental implants and a crown, all in the same visit.
Who performs the placement of the dental implants?
Dental implants are a team effort between an Oral Surgeon/Dental Implant Specialist and a Denture Specialist. While our Implant Specialist who performs the actual implant surgery, and initial tooth extractions and bone grafting if necessary, the denture specialist fits and makes the permanent prosthesis. The denture specialist can also make any temporary prosthesis needed during the implant process.
What types of prostheses are available?
- A single prosthesis, typically referred to as a Crown, is used to replace one missing tooth – each crown is attached to its own dental implant.
- A partial prosthesis, typically called a Bridge, can replace two or more missing teeth and often requires only two or three dental implants.
- A complete dental prosthesis, typically referred to as a Fixed Bridge or a Fixed Denture, replaces all the teeth for your upper or lower jaw. The number of dental implants varies depending upon which type of prosthesis needed to replace the missing teeth. A fixed prosthesis is permanent in that it is only removable by a dentist ;however, eventually the prostheses will need replacement because of wear.
- A removable prosthesis, often referred to as an Overdenture (or a Removable Denture) attaches to either a bar, ball in socket (O-ring) or locator attachments. It allows the patient to be able to remove the denture when they want.
Are you a candidate for dental implants?
If you are considering implants, your mouth must be examined thoroughly and your medical and dental history reviewed. A special radiograph (xray) is required to determine if the bone is adequate for implants. If your mouth is not ideal for implants, ways of improving outcome, such as bone grafting, may be recommended.
If you’re looking for Dental Implants Portland, OR we will review your particular needs with you during your appointment.