Many advances made in dental technology have made it possible for almost anyone to benefit from dental implants. Dental implants are artificial tooth replacements that look, feel and function like natural teeth. Missing teeth can diminish your quality of life as you may feel embarrassed by the visible gaps in your smile and you may find it more difficult to enjoy your favorite foods or speak clearly.
The traditional solutions to missing teeth – bridges, dentures and crowns lose their effectiveness over time and are challenging to maintain. Dental implants on the other hand provide you with a positive, natural looking alternative that helps restore your smile and your ability to chew and speak properly. Dental implants can be used to replace one, a few or many teeth.
What Exactly is a Dental Implant?
A dental implant is based on the design of a natural tooth. A natural tooth has two main parts. One part sits above the gumline while the second part, the root, sits securely in your jawbone. A dental implant may involve several pieces or it may consist of just two main parts. The top of a dental implant is custom-created just for you to match the shape and size of your natural tooth crown. The lower part of a dental implant replaces the root of the natural tooth. Implants are made of titanium or titanium alloy. Unlike most materials, the human body accepts titanium without the risk of infection.
How the Procedure is Done
The first part of the dental implant procedure involves surgically creating a space in the jawbone for the implant. The implant is then placed, followed by a healing cover. Depending upon the implant system, the gum may be sutured and a temporary denture placed. The site of the implant immediately begins to heal wherein the bone gradually attaches itself to the implant. It normally takes from 2 to 4 months for the healing process to complete. Once the healing has taken place, the custom restoration is fitted to the implant to complete the dental implant procedure.
Benefits of Dental Implants
There are many benefits associated with dental implants including:
- Next best thing to healthy, natural teeth. An implant replaces a lost tooth so that it looks, feels and functions like a natural tooth.
- Long-Term Solution. Dental implants can last a lifetime when properly cared for which is unlike other options such as bridges that need replacing every few years.
- No More Worrying about Your Teeth. When you replace missing teeth with dental implants, you no longer have to hide your smile because you have visible gaps between your teeth. You also won’t need to worry about your teeth becoming loose or falling out when you speak, eat or laugh.
- Help Retain the Natural Shape of Your Face & Smile. When you have teeth missing, you can look older than you are because your face can appear sunken as the jawbone naturally shrinks to compensate for the missing teeth. But with dental implants, you’re able to maintain the natural shape of your face and smile.
- Eat What You Want. When you’ve filled gaps or spaces in your smile with dental implants, you’re able to enjoy all your favorite foods without hesitation.
- Protects Your Natural Teeth. When a tooth supported bridge is placed, the natural teeth on one or both sides of the missing tooth need to be ground down some, which damages healthy teeth. But there is no grinding of natural teeth required when a dental implant is placed which means dental implants do not negatively implant healthy teeth.
For more information on dental implants, watch the educational videos that are linked on our website’s homepage. Our Gretna & Metairie, LA dentist, Dr. Greg Guerra, believes that making your smile the best it can be will go a long way towards improving your quality of life. If you’d like to find out if you’re a candidate for dental implants, please fill out and submit the Appointments form on our website or give us a call at (504) 367-6193. One of our team members will be happy to assist you.