Whether due to accidental trauma, damage, and decay, or the simple passage of time, tooth loss is something that millions of Americans experience every year. And while modern dental treatments and daily oral care allow many people to go their entire lives without permanent tooth loss, if and when it does happen, implant dentistry offers individualized solutions.
What Is Implant Dentistry?
Implant dentistry is a specialized part of family dentistry, and is the only permanent way to replace a missing tooth or teeth. The basics of implant dentistry essentially create an artificial “root” to replace the structure that held the original tooth in the jaw, which will then support a prosthetic tooth. Since the 1950s, titanium has been the material of choice for this procedure, as it is non-reactive and strong enough to handle the bite pressure exerted by your jaw.
To start, your dentist will surgically insert the titanium post into the jaw bone, where it will fuse with the existing bone mass over the next 3-6 months. Once your dentist is certain that the implant is fully healed and properly fused, custom prosthetics that are manufactured to match the size, shape, and color of your natural teeth can be attached to the post—either permanently or with the ability to remove the prosthetic at will. Unlike dentures, implant dentistry creates a permanent solution for missing teeth that is just as strong as your natural teeth.
How Does Implant Dentistry Work?
Here is a simple illustration of how dental implants work:
First, your dentist will perform the necessary surgery to place the titanium insert into your jaw. During the surgery, your dentist will make a small cut in the gum tissue to expose the underlying bone. With a dental drill, they will make a hole that is appropriately sized for the insert. After placement, your dentist will suture the soft tissue, securing the insert in place with the head of the post visible above the gum line.
In certain cases where the underlying bone is too weak, soft, or isn’t fully grown, a bone graft may be required to create a strong enough support structure for the massive amount of pressure the implant will experience as a suitable tooth replacement. There are multiple grafting material options, including bone from another part of your body, donor bone material, and synthetic bone material to consider. Talk to your dentist about the kind of bone grafting material that is best for you.
After an initial healing period of three to six months, and when your dentist is satisfied that the implant has achieved “osseointegration” (or fusion) with the jaw, you will return for a follow-up appointment to have the prosthetic tooth or teeth fitted and secured to the post. Your dentist will give you specialized instructions for the care and maintenance of your prosthetic which should be followed closely. This procedure is a common, safe, and effective method of restorative dentistry.
The Benefits Of Implant Dentistry
The benefits of implant dentistry are well worth the long healing time and temporary discomfort of waiting for the implant to fully iterate into the jaw. When teeth are lost, not only does it diminish bite function, occasionally inhibit speech, and present unsightly aesthetics to some people, but there can also be extenuating effects on your overall oral health. Tooth loss can result in movement and crowding of your remaining teeth as they compensate for the gap. Missing roots can also lead to bone loss in the jaw as stimulation from chewing is no longer effective.
Implant dentistry presents a chance for patients who have lost teeth due to trauma and decay to regain their smile exactly as it was—both functionally and aesthetically—with a solution that is both strong and natural-looking. Of course, restorative and implant dentistry are a solution to a problem that dentists would prefer none of their patients experience. That’s why locals should look into preventive dentistry in Sparks, NV, with the professionals at Champagne Family Dentistry in Sparks. Preventive dentistry keeps your teeth healthy and strong so implant dentistry never needs to be an option. Call today and schedule your appointment!