Losing a tooth due to decay, trauma, or any other reason can be scary, but you don't have to worry about having a toothless smile or not being able to chew in the back of your mouth. Dental implants are an effective, contemporary, and permanent solution to this age old problem.
What Is a Dental Implant?
A dental implant is essentially a titanium screw that mimics the natural root of a tooth. For more than half a century, orthopedic surgeons have been using titanium screws for joint reconstruction and bone fracture repairs which inspired us dentists. The process can take anywhere from 3 to 6 months depending on the location and number of implants needed. When the dental implant is fully finished, it will feel completely natural, as if you've never lost a tooth.
What Is the Tooth Implant Procedure?
Typically, the process starts with a consultation where we determine if you are a candidate for this procedure or not. We plan on doing an implant if there are missing teeth, if we are extracting teeth, or if we need additional retention for removable/fixed appliances.
These are the items we do during a consultation:
- We examine the health of your gums, medical history, and jaw bone to ensure that you are a dental implant candidate.
- On surgery day we place the implants.
- Once the dental implants have healed we size for the final restoration.
Are There Same Day Dental Implants?
The dental implant procedure described above is not the only option. There are also same day dental implants if you are a qualifying candidate. With this option, the implant is placed and the temporary crown are delivered in a single step. This is a great option when working in aesthetic areas where it is critical for appearance that nothing changes. Many patients prefer the speed and convenience of this option especially when we are extracting a tooth to ensure no interruption on the aesthetics of their smile. Please see our dentists for a consultation to see if this is an option.
What Are the Advantages of Dental Implants?
Aside from aesthetic value, dental implants help protect the integrity of your bite. When you lose a tooth, the surrounding teeth naturally start to migrate into that space. That throws off your bite in a way that can lead to headaches, pain while chewing, and other issues. With back molars, your jaw bone can even start to atrophy when teeth are missing. Dental implants stop crowding and atrophy from happening.
Are Dental Implants Better Than Removable Appliances?
Additionally, dental implants offer key advantages compared to other treatments for missing teeth. Unlike removable partial dentures you don’t have to take anything in and out of your mouth. Since dental implants are fixed and feel like natural teeth you can eat better without having to worry about things moving around, popping out, or feeling unnatural.
In certain cases we place implants under dentures so that you can snap them on like a button on a jacket. It helps with retention for patients who have multiple teeth missing and want to maximize the use of their removable, partial, or complete denture without adhesives.
Dental implants don't just have to be for a single missing tooth. They can be utilized for patients that are missing multiple or all of their teeth.
Dental Implant Reconstruction
For patients that have decayed or missing teeth, a reconstruction case may allow them to regain function, aesthetics, and phonetics in one visit. When we see that you have the majority—if not all— of your teeth in a terminal state, we plan a day of surgery that allows us to do the following:
- Go under sedation
- Remove all your teeth
- Place 4-5 implants on each jaw
- Put in a fixed temporary bridge
Unlike a removable, partial or complete denture, this is a bridge that is in your mouth permanently. It allows you to function like you would with your own natural teeth. This is a great option for patients that don’t want to suffer from wearing a denture or go through a lengthy healing process.
With the utilization of new technologies including guided surgery, milled restorations, and advanced surgical techniques this is achievable.
Are Dental Implants Better Than Bridges?
Some people opt for a bridge instead of implants, but if they're not anchored to implants, bridges have to get anchored to existing teeth. That process involves shaving down the enamel on those teeth. With dental implants, there is no effect on the surrounding teeth. This allows the procedure to be minimally invasive on your adjacent teeth which is a huge benefit to many patients.
Do Dental Implants Look Natural?
Best of all, dental implants look completely natural. The dentist takes a mold of your mouth or uses 3D imaging software to create a model of your teeth. Then, that information goes to a lab or a special 3D printer at the dentist's office and your new tooth gets created. You can even opt for customizations to make it look even more natural. We focus on making sure that your gum contour, shape, shade, and overall bite feels natural and perfect!
A beautiful looking smile is important for confidence and good oral health. If you're missing a tooth, contact Buckhead Cosmetic and Family Dentistry today. We can help you explore dental implants and other options.