A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that is placed into your jaw to hold a replacement tooth or bridge. Dental implants may be an option for people who have lost a tooth or teeth due to periodontal disease, an injury, or some other reason.
They are made of titanium, which is lightweight, strong and biocompatible, which means that it is not rejected by the body. Titanium and titanium alloys are the most widely used metals in both dental and other bone implants, such as orthopedic joint replacements. Dental implants have the highest success rate of any implanted surgical device.
Titanium’s special property of fusing to bone, called osseointegration (“osseo” – bone; “integration” – fusion or joining with), is the biological basis of dental implant success.
Generally speaking, if you have lost teeth you are a candidate for dental implants. It is important that you are in good health however, Delta Dental care wishes to advise you that some conditions may interfere with the success of dental implants. For example, uncontrolled diabetes, cancer, radiation to the jaws, smoking, alcoholism, or uncontrolled periodontal (gum) disease may affect whether dental implants will fuse to your bone. It is important to let your dental surgeon know all about your medical status (past and present) together with all medications you are taking, whether prescribed, alternative (herbal) or over-the-counter.
Placing dental implants requires a surgical procedure in which precision channels are created in the jawbone, often using a surgical guide. The implants are then fitted into the sites so that they are in intimate contact with the bone. They generally require two to six months to fuse to the bone before they can have tooth restorations attached to them to complete the process. The surgical and prosthetic team at Delta Dental Care is equipped with the latest technology and the expertise to take care of your implant procedure.
Dental implants can be used to replace a single missing tooth by either extracting the tooth or placing the implant in the edentulous space. Subsequently, after the healing period of 3 -6 months, an abutment is attached to the implant. This is a device that “abuts” or joins the implant to a tooth form called a crown, which replaces the tooth part you see in the mouth. It will hold a custom-made crown that the dental laboratory will fabricate and match to your existing teeth. The custom crown is cemented or screwed onto the abutment to permanently keep it in place. Once the crown is in place, it should be indistinguishable from your natural teeth.
As with single tooth replacement, temporary healing caps or abutments may be placed on multiple implants until the healing phase is complete. After healing, permanent abutments are attached to the implants. They can attach to custom-made crowns or bridgework that a dental laboratory will fabricate to match your existing teeth. In the final step, the custom bridge, which will replace multiple teeth, is cemented or screwed onto the abutments.
If all of your lower/upper teeth are missing, depending on the design of the removable restoration, two to six implants may be used to support a removable denture. Removable dentures are often used to replace extensive tooth, bone and gum-tissue loss, thus providing support for the facial skeleton, lip and cheeks. A new denture can have attachments that snap or clip it into place. Design variations are often related to your bone density and number of implants present; Delta Dental Care will discuss these options during your consultation. A significant advantage of a removable denture is facilitating the cleaning of the dental implants.
Implant crowns and other prosthetic (false) tooth replacements are made to be remarkably failsafe systems. They are removable and replaceable (only by your dentist), so that if damage or wear necessitates replacement, this can be accomplished without affecting the implant(s) or attachment to the bone.
Nevertheless, implants do require maintenance. It is important to practice good daily oral hygiene, including brushing and flossing to control bacterial biofilm. Delta Dental Care will ensure to follow up on your treatments and remind you to meet your dentist for routine follow ups. Special instruments are necessary to clean dental implants that will not damage their metal surface beneath the gum tissues. Delta Dental Care will monitor your implants to make sure the integrity of the osseointegration is stable, and that the implant crowns, bridgework or dentures are functioning adequately.
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