Whether you have lost one tooth or all your teeth, you want to find the best replacement option available. In most cases that will be dental implants. So what exactly are they? Dental implants are small, artificial tooth roots, made of titanium, that can be surgically placed into your jawbone and then covered with a prosthetic tooth—generally an all-porcelain crown. No one will be able to tell they are not your natural teeth. In fact they also function like your natural teeth. You will be able to eat anything you want, without the problems you typically see with removable dentures.
Dental Implant Procedure
Implants are placed in two stages. In the first stage the root form is surgically placed into your jawbone. During the healing period, we want to allow plenty of time for your bone to grow around the implant. This process, known as osseointegration, is what gives the implant its strength and allows you to eat normally. This process can take a few months. In the second stage, a permanent crown is placed over the root. We use all-porcelain crowns, so it will have the same natural translucency of your other teeth.
When to Use Dental Implants
If you are only missing one tooth, you have two good options for tooth replacement: a dental implant or a dental bridge.
|A dental bridge will actually involve three teeth: the missing tooth and the two adjacent teeth. Each of the adjacent teeth will be prepared for a crown. Then, a three-unit bridge will be made, suspending a false tooth between two crowns. This is most useful when one or more of your adjacent teeth are needing dental work done anyway. For instance, if your tooth to the immediate left of the false tooth is in need of a crown, you would be taking care of two problems simultaneously.|
|If your adjacent teeth are perfectly healthy, then you may not want to have them ground down to make room for an unnecessary crown. In that case, a dental implant makes more sense. Additionally, the presence of the titanium root form will preserve all the bone structure.|
If you are replacing several teeth or all of your teeth, then the advantages of dental implants are even more important. Though it may be tempting to get removable dentures because they cost less, you need to be aware of the long-term consequences. Once your teeth are removed, your body begins to re-absorb the minerals in your jawbone to use elsewhere throughout your body. After about ten or more years, there is not enough jawbone left to sustain removable dentures, making you a dental cripple. The only way to be able to chew food after that is to have expensive bone grafting procedures. Then you can either have your dentures re-made to the new bone structure or get dental implants. You save yourself a lot of pain and expense just getting the implants in the beginning.
Can any dentist place dental implants?
No. It takes a lot of post-graduate training to become skilled in placing dental implants. Even with additional training, some dentists will only do the crown restoration and you will have to see an oral surgeon to have the titanium root placed. That can be an additional hassle, because you have to make sure your dentist and surgeon are communicating well with one another so that the implant is placed in the position the dentist needed for your prosthetic tooth placement.
You will not have to worry about those complications at Sommers Family Dental. Dr. Chen has done the post-graduate training that not only qualifies him to do the prosthetic tooth restoration, but he can also perform the surgery. This eliminates any mis-communication issues. Dr. Chen is also a member of the American Academy of Implant Dentistry.
If you would like to see if you are a candidate for dental implants, you may call our office at (630) 892-7041 to request a complimentary consultation. We will do a quick examination and answer any questions you may have about the procedure. If you prefer, you may click here to request an appointment online.