What are Dental Implants?
Your teeth perform numerous essential functions for you each and every day. Not only are they crucial for biting and chewing food (and beginning the digestive process), they are also important for proper speech and providing you with a beautiful smile. Tooth loss, no matter how many teeth are missing (or how they are lost), significantly impacts all of these functions, making once simple daily tasks a major challenge. At Timothy H. Kindt, DDS, we can replace your missing teeth with dental implants.
What Exactly are Dental Implants?
For decades, missing teeth have been replaced with dentures, partial dentures, or dental bridges. While these options are still available today (and are much more comfortable and natural in appearance than their earlier predecessors), they have their drawbacks. Dental bridges require perfectly healthy teeth to be altered in order to fit crowns over them. Dentures (both full and partial) rest directly on the gum tissue, and can be uncomfortable. Dental implants are a more recent development available for replacing missing teeth, and are completely different from any other option. They consist of three major components. The implant itself is a small titanium rod that is surgically implanted into the jaw. As you heal, the bone fuses to the implant, a process called osseointegration. This turns the implant into a stable root. An abutment, or connector, is placed on top. Finally, a crown (false tooth) is screwed into place on top of the implant, giving you back a fully functional tooth.
Implants for All Needs
Typically, when you lose teeth, the number of teeth missing would determine what restorative option was available. Dental implants can be used to replace any number of missing teeth. In order to suit your specific needs, there are several types.
Single tooth implants
A single tooth implant is used to replace one missing teeth in a specific area of your mouth. It is possible to have several single tooth implants in your mouth. One titanium rod is inserted, and used to support a single crown.
Multiple tooth implants
A multiple tooth implant (or implant supported bridge) is used to replace a section of missing teeth. One or more implants are used to support the necessary number of replacement crowns.
Implant supported dentures
Implant supported dentures replace traditional dentures. 6 to 8 dental implants are used to support an arch of missing teeth, and hold the denture securely (and permanently) in place.
All on 4 treatment concept
Dental implants rely on the fusion of your jawbone to the titanium for stability and success. However, once you lose your teeth, the bone in your jaw begins to resorb and grow weak. If there is insufficient bone mass, implants may fail. The All on 4 treatment concept is used instead of an implant supported denture when you don’t have enough bone mass. Instead of relying on 6 to 8 implants, the success of this treatment relies on the strategic placement of just four dental implants.
The Implant Procedure
Unlike any other tooth replacement option, dental implants require surgery. Before you undergo implant surgery, we first conduct a consultation, during which time we examine your mouth and take X-rays. This enables us to determine if the procedure is right for you and the best placement for your implants. Surgery begins with a local anesthetic. Sedation may also be used to help keep you relaxed and calm. Incisions are made in the gums, exposing the bone below. Holes are drilled and the implants are placed. Your gums are sutured closed around the implants and temporary teeth are placed.
As you heal, we will keep a close eye on the process, making sure that the bone is fusing properly. Once you have completely healed, we then begin the process for making your permanent replacement teeth. Abutments are placed and impressions are taken. The impressions are used to design and create your customized teeth. When they are ready, your permanent implants are screwed securely in place.
What are the Benefits of Dental Implants?
Dental implants offer a number of different benefits over traditional tooth replacement options. They are permanent, and don’t need to be removed for any reason (unless they are damaged or need maintenance). They are easy to care for, and can be brushed and flossed just like your natural teeth. Because your replacement teeth are supported by implants instead of your gums, they are much more comfortable. One of the biggest benefits of dental implants, however, is that they stimulate your jawbone, which helps to keep the bone healthy and strong. This prevents bone loss, which helps to maintain your facial shape, keep your natural teeth in place, and maintain a more youthful appearance.
Dental implants restore the functions of your teeth, the beauty of your smile, and your quality of life. For more information, and to find out if dental implants are the right solution for you, call Timothy H. Kindt, DDS at (480) 939-5818 to schedule your consultation today.