A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that is placed into your jaw to hold replacement teeth. They provide a strong foundation for false teeth (referred to as pontics) whether they are permanent or removable. Implants have a very natural tooth-like appearance and are both comfortable and helpful in regards to the disadvantages to missing a tooth. Things such as speech and chewing become easier with the presence of dental implants.
Types of Dental Implants
The first type of dental implant is referred to as endosteal, which means ‘in the bone’. It is the most commonly used option and functions through the surgical placement of posts in the jawbone. Every implant can hold one or more pontic and this procedure is often used as an alternative to bridges or removable dentures.
The next option is called subperiosteal (‘on the bone’) and they are placed on top of the jaw with metal framework posts supporting the fake tooth through the gums. This option is typically used for patients who are not able to wear dentures and have minimal bone height.
What to Expect
Everybody’s circumstance for receiving implants is unique, so it’s important to discuss at length what option is best for you. This consultation is the first step to the process for dental implants at our office. Once we’ve made your first appointment and you arrive, we will surgically place the tooth root implant in the bone socket of the absent tooth. When the jawbone heals after this procedure, it will grow around this metal post and anchor it securely in the jaw. Before we can conduct the next step of the process, we must wait until it has healed properly – this can take anywhere from 6 to 12 weeks.
After the implant has become bonded to the jawbone, a small post is attached to the previous implant to hold the new tooth. In order to create your new tooth, we will make impressions of your teeth to capture your specific bite, type, and tooth arrangement. The false tooth is made based off of this model – outside of the office – and then attached to the post at a separate appointment. We will ensure that the color and look of your new tooth matches that of your natural teeth, as the implant is meant to be a natural replacement with the same look, function, and feel.
If you have a missing tooth or missing teeth, we may discuss with you the possibility of receiving dental implants. At that point in time, you should talk to us about any questions or concerns you have about the procedure and we will determine the best plan of action for full smile restoration. Dental implants should be taken care of as diligently as your natural teeth- this means brushing twice daily, flossing, and using antiseptic mouthwash! We will, of course, want to schedule appointments to check on not just your overall oral health, but the continued health and maintenance of your dental implants once the procedure has been conducted.
If you are interested in dental implants for a beautiful smile, contact our office today to schedule your appointment with Dr. Lawlor.