Let's Talk About Dental Implants 101
Your dentist has multiple methods for restoring tooth function. Almost all dental patients are familiar with fillings, and many have received crowns or had root canal procedures. But what happens when a tooth (or teeth) is lost? At that point, the dentist still has options: dentures or implants.
Each method has pros and cons. Dentures are less expensive and have a quicker installation process that is non-invasive. Additionally, dentures are very helpful for patients who have experienced varying degrees of bone or gum loss. On the downside, some patients find dentures uncomfortable, with a tiresome but required regular cleaning routine; if proper maintenance is not observed, infection can occur. As a patient ages and gum or bone tissue changes, dentures are likely to require adjustment or replacement.
An implant is the option that most closely mimics the appearance, stability, and function of a natural tooth, and implant care is the same as your regular daily tooth care. Properly installed implants are long-lasting and permit continued natural growth of your bone and gum tissues. There can be problems with implants; these will be discussed in the next article.
Dental implants, in one form or another, have been used since ancient times. Made of materials ranging from carved bamboo to precious metals to shaped and carved animal teeth/tusks, they all served the same attempted purpose: to restore the function of missing teeth.
Structure of an Implant
Modern dental implants utilize titanium rods that are implanted into the bone to serve as the basis for the artificial tooth. Titanium is strong, lightweight, does not corrode in the body, and — most importantly — has proven to be the ideal substance for osseointegration, which is the process wherein the main support part of the implant successfully fuses with surrounding bone, thus replicating the structure and function of natural tooth roots.
The first part of the implant, the titanium rod, is an “anchor” resembling a cylinder or screw. It is set into jaw bone and assumes the function of natural tooth roots. After the titanium bonds with the underlying bone, a second part, an abutment or post, is installed; this acts as a connector between the titanium and the third implant part, which is an artificial tooth crown. A properly installed implant restores lost ability to chew — and because it successfully replicates the appearance and structure of a natural tooth, it can help to remove the “sunken” outward facial appearance often experienced by patients with multiple or long-term tooth loss.
Installation of a dental implant is usually accomplished in three stages over a period of several months. The first stage is the surgical placement of the titanium rod in the jaw. After this surgery comes a period of healing, often 3 to 6 months; during this time, the implant undergoes osseointegration (described earlier), providing a strong foundation for the remaining implant stages. At the second stage of the process, the abutment or post is installed, and, again, a period of healing is required. The third and final stage is installation of the crown, which will mimic the shape and size of the lost tooth, and it will be colored and fit to blend in properly with the surrounding teeth.
Long-Term Success of an Implant
If the patient has been properly evaluated as a good candidate for implants, the implants should experience a very long service life, with a good chance of outlasting some of the surrounding natural teeth. Sometimes, though, complications can occur that compromise an implant, requiring replacement or even removal. These cases will be covered in detail in the next article.
Contact Us Today to Set Up Your Appointment!
Have you been searching for the best place to get dental implants in Lenexa? Well, search no further!
We accept most insurance plans. Our friendly staff is ready to answer any questions and to check your insurance coverage to resolve any issues. To save time on your dental visit, you can conveniently fill out patient paperwork ahead of time by using the links on our website. Because your dental health shouldn’t have to wait, Dentures Plus Lenexa partners with CareCredit to offer our patients financing options. Contact information for financing can be accessed via our website.
Dentures Plus Lenexa looks forward to servicing your dental, denture, and implant needs! Whether you’re a new resident in Johnson County, seeking to get a dental problem fixed, or an existing patient who is experiencing an issue with dentures or implants, we’re here to help. Please stop into our office at 8630 Maurer Road in Lenexa or call us today at 913-227-0466. At Dentures Plus Lenexa, your health comes first – period. For the best dental, denture, and implant service in the Kansas City area, contact us today!