Dental Implants Q & A
What are dental implants?
Dental implants are tooth replacements that are “rooted” in your jaw so they look and behave just like your natural tooth. Implants are designed to be extremely strong so they can withstand regular chewing and biting over a long period of time.
How are implants different from fixed bridges?
Fixed bridges are attached to the teeth on either side and sit on top of the gum. As a result, it can be difficult to clean around them, plus they can place considerable strain on the teeth that support them. Dental implants use a post that’s implanted into your jaw so they function just like a natural tooth.
How are dental implants attached?
Dental implants typically require three visits. During the first visit, a titanium post is implanted in the jaw to serve as a “root” for the crown that will be placed on top. After being implanted, the post is left in place and allowed to join with the surrounding bone in a process called ossification, which takes about 10 to 12 weeks. Once it joins with bone, it becomes stable enough to support the crown and facilitate normal functioning. During the next appointment, an impression is made so the crown can be made and a metal connector called an abutment is attached to the post. In the next visit, the crown is attached to the abutment and then shaped for an optimal fit.
Do implants require special care?
No, they can be cared for just like your natural teeth, with regular brushing and flossing and regular trips to the dentist for checkups. Although the crown is artificial and not subject to decay, gum disease can still occur, and that can cause implants to become loose just like your natural teeth. Be sure to see your dentist regularly to check for gum disease.