A dental implant is a metal post that’s designed to be implanted into the jaw bone and used to support a missing tooth, or in some cases, a denture. Because they’re implanted into the jaw, they’re very secure and feel more like a natural tooth, making them a very popular alternative to dentures and bridges. The artificial tooth or crown that attaches to the implant is made of durable materials that can be tinted to match the natural teeth so it blends in beautifully.
Implant procedures usually require three office visits to ensure the implant is secure and the crown is properly fitted. During the first treatment visit, the post will be implanted into the jaw bone. Implants require a certain amount of bone to provide proper support. When the bone is too thin, a bone graft procedure may be performed to supplement the existing bone. Bone graft procedures can usually be performed at the same time as the implant placement. Once the post is in place, it will remain undisturbed for several months to enable it to fuse with the bone. At the second appointment, a second piece called an abutment will be attached and an impression will be made and sent to the lab where the crown will be made. At the third appointment, the crown (or denture) will be attached and adjusted so it fits comfortably and securely.
Implants offer several benefits compared to traditional dentures:
The post is embedded in the jaw so the crown (or attached denture) is much more secure and patients don’t have to worry about slippage or sore spots.
Because they fit securely and look natural, patients experience greater confidence compared to wearing dentures.
Implants are very easy to care for with regular brushing, flossing, and dental visits, just like natural teeth.
Implant posts mimic the effects of a natural tooth root to stimulate continued production of new bone, replacing old, worn bone so jaws stay healthy. Dentures (and bridges) rest on top of gums and cannot stimulate bone replacement, which means bone will atrophy over time and increase the risk of additional tooth loss.
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