Crowns and conventional bridges or dentures may not be your only options when replacing missing teeth. For some people, dental implants offer a smile that looks and feels very natural. Surgically placed below the gums over a series of appointments, implants fuse to the jawbone and serve as a base for individual replacement teeth, bridges or a denture.
Dental implants offer stability because they fuse to your bone. Integration of the implants into your jaw also helps your replacement teeth feel more natural, and some people also find the secure fit more comfortable than conventional substitutes.
Candidates for dental implants need to have healthy gums and adequate bone to support the implant. A thorough evaluation will help determine whether you are a good candidate for dental implants.
What is involved in placing dental implants?
First, surgery is performed to place the anchor. Surgery can take up to several hours, and up to six months may be required for the bone to grow around the anchor and firmly hold it in place. Some implants require a second surgery in which a post is attached to connect the anchor to the replacement teeth. With other implants, the anchor and post are already attached and are placed at the same time. In our office, this step is done by a periodontist who works closely with us on your case.
After the gums have had several weeks to heal, the next step is begun. The artificial teeth are made and fitted to the post portion of the anchor. This requires usually two visits where we take an impression and later cement the new crown onto the implant.