When an adult tooth is lost, an alternative replacement is the healthiest choice, leaving the open space puts you at risk for problems with biting, chewing, movement of surrounding teeth as well as headaches, muscle pain and less than attractive appearance.
Dental implants provide a secure, comfortable, and natural looking type of tooth replacement
Dental implants are not only an option for single tooth replacement; they serve as the base for many tooth replacement options including bridges and dentures. As the name implies, they are surgically implanted in the jaw as a permanent tooth replacement.
What are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are Tooth root replacements devices that offer patients an alternative to bridges and dentures. All of these options are replacement options for one or more teeth, but the advantages of implants is that they are a more permanent solution and look more realistic. Patients in the Tampa area prefer dental implants because the aesthetics are superior, as is the fit and function compared to bridges and dentures.
A dental implant is secured to the jaw via a titanium post that works similar to the root of the natural tooth. The post is attached to a piece (abutment) that holds the crown. The crown is made from porcelain to preserve a natural appearance, and porcelain is a durable material that lasts for many years.
Benefits of Dental Implants
Ferrera Dental Care patients in the Tampa area have three options to restore a missing tooth – dentures, bridges and dental implants. A dental implant is the preferred choice because it is securely fixed to the jaw and closely mimics the look and function of a natural tooth and they preserve bone. Unlike bridges, dental implants do not require the removal of enamel of the adjacent teeth to accommodate the crowns.
The crown of the implant fits snugly against the gum line. Patients with dental bridges may develop gaps between the bottom of the crown and the gum line, that create foot traps. This allows bacteria to infiltrate the gums and cause oral health issues (cavities). This does not happen with dental implants because the crown is mounted in the original socket.
Dental implants last longer than bridges. You care for the implant with proper brushing and flossing. Your dentist checks the implant during annual examinations and x-rays to ensure that the post is securely fixed to the jaw . The implant also promotes the growth of new bone in the jaw.
Good Candidates for Dental Implants
The best candidates for dental implants are individuals who need to replace one or more teeth and have adequate bone in the jaw. If you have less than the optimum amount of bone, grafts may be used to try to build up the bone socket for the dental implant. The success of this approach does vary, but most bone grafts work well. Gum health is another consideration. If you have gum disease or other oral health issues, those will need to be addressed before having dental implants. Patients who smoke or consume large amounts of alcohol on a regular basis may not be good candidates for dental implants, as these habits affect blood flow in the oral cavity, and this reduces the chances of the dental implants integrating with the bone. Some medical conditions, such as diabetes, need to be well-controlled before having dental implants.
Frequently Asked Questions About Dental Implants
What is the procedure for dental implants?
If you need bone grafts for your implants, this is typically done when the tooth is extracted. Once the bone graft integrates with the natural bone, dental implants are mounted in three steps. First, the post is placed into the jaw . The bone needs approximately three- six months to grow around the post. A temporary crown may be positioned over the post. Next, the abutment is attached to the post. Once this is secure, the crown is mounted on the abutment.
How long does it take to heal after a dental implant?
We recommend that patients plan for dental implants to take six months to one year to heal completely. The healing time for dental implants does vary based on how quickly your body produces enough bone to hold the post in place.
Are there any restrictions with dental implants?
You can use your dental implant just as you would a natural tooth. There are no food restrictions, although we do recommend that you avoid chewing hard objects, such as ice.
How do I care for dental implants?
Caring for a dental implant is the same as your other teeth. You brush and floss normally. You should also check the base of the crown periodically to see if any food particles are trapped or if the crown rests above the gum line. Dr. Ferrera also checks this during your cleanings and regular exams.
Do I need to replace my dental implants?
The crowns of dental implants may need replacement after 10 to 15 years. The post and abutment of dental implants should not need to be replaced unless you experience bone loss in the area. If you notice that the implant is loose, contact our office to schedule an appointment. We may be able to strengthen the post with a bone graft or recommend other options, such as replacing dental implants with a bridge should you lose too much bone. The same implant can be reused as an anchor for future tooth loss if need be.