People are living longer than ever, and while regular brushing, flossing, and checkups allow many of us to maintain our natural smiles for a lifetime, sometimes our teeth just can't keep up. If you've lost a tooth (or a few teeth) due to injury or disease, dental implants can rejuvenate both your smile and your oral health.
An implant is a synthetic tooth root in the shape of a post that is surgically placed into the jawbone. The “root” is usually made of titanium: the same material used in many replacement hips and knees, and a metal that is well-suited to pairing with human bone. A replacement tooth is then fixed to the post. The tooth can be either permanently attached or removable. Permanent teeth are more stable and feel more like natural teeth.
The ideal candidate for implants is a non-smoker who has good oral health, including a sufficient amount of bone in the jaw, and healthy gums with no sign of gum disease.
Implants are versatile. If you are only missing one tooth, one implant plus one replacement tooth will do the trick. If you are missing several teeth in a row, a few strategically placed implants can support a permanent bridge (a set of replacement teeth). Similarly, if you have lost all of your teeth, a full bridge or full denture can be permanently fixed in your mouth with a strategic number of implants.
Consider your replacement teeth to be the same as natural teeth. They require the same daily brushing and flossing, and the same amount of regular checkups. Just like your natural teeth, the better you take care of your replacements, the longer they will last.
Conventional bridges and dentures are not fixed to the bone, and can therefore be unstable. This can make it difficult to eat or smile with confidence. Implants not only look more natural, but feel and act more like normal teeth, with a stronger biting force. And because they don't directly rely on neighboring teeth for support, implants don't compromise the health of your natural teeth. In fact, bridges are only expected to last seven to ten years, even less with root canals, whereas implants will typically last a lifetime.
Implant-supported dentures are over-dentures fixed to the gums by mini implants. For patients with an uncomfortable or loose-fitting denture, stabilizing it with mini implants can be a more comfortable and functional solution.
Mini implants are placed in the jaw, where they are anchored firmly in the surrounding bone. Attachments are placed in the underside of the denture that connect to the implants. When placed in the mouth, the denture snaps onto the implants, keeping it stable and secure.
A mini implant consists of a miniature sized titanium implant that acts like the root of your tooth. On the top of the implant sits a retaining fixture that snaps into a corresponding fixture on your denture. The result is a more comfortable, stable denture that enables you to enjoy life without worrying about your teeth.
With a regular sized dental implant, there needs to be a certain amount of bone structure available to place the implant. With mini implants, less space is needed, allowing the use of a site that has less than adequate bone.
Placing mini implants is also often simpler and less time-intensive than placing full-sized implants. Full-sized implants generally require several months of healing before they can reliably support dental restorations, while mini implants can often support a denture right away.
The procedure for placing mini implants is usually simple and relatively pain-free, and the recovery time is often just a day or two. Modifications to the denture are made on the same day the implants are placed, so you can begin wearing it with your new implants right away.
Call our office or request an appointment online to see if Dental Implants are right for you.