Dental implants are an option to replace missing teeth. An implant is a small titanium cylinder that is placed in the jawbone. Oral surgery is required to place the cylinder in the jaw. The implant will then fuse with the jawbone and form an “artificial root” which will provide structural support like a natural tooth would. Once the implant has fused with the bone, a dental crown is placed over the implant so that it looks exactly like a natural tooth. A dental implant is the only method of dental restoration that not only preserves the natural bone, but also stimulates bone growth.
Tooth decay and/or missing teeth can sometimes cause bone loss in the jaw bone especially if they are not treated right away. If this has occurred a bone graft may be necessary on the jaw bone before the dental implant can be inserted. Otherwise, the implant would not have enough bone to fuse to structurally. A qualified oral surgeon would perform the bone graft procedure.
Your San Antonio dentist, Dr. Guillory, will refer you to an oral surgeon to implant the titanium cylinder(s). Once this has fused with your jawbone, he will complete the follow-up treatment and custom make your crowns, apply them to the implant support, and ensure that they fit properly with your natural teeth.
Here’s what the American Academy of Implant Dentistry has to say about dental implants:
“Think of dental implants as artificial tooth roots, similar in shape to screws. When dental implants are placed in your jawbone (A), they bond with your natural bone. They become a sturdy base for supporting one or more artificial teeth, called crowns.
A connector – known as an abutment (B) – is placed on top of the dental implant to hold and support your crowns. The crowns are custom-made to match your natural teeth and fit your mouth (C).
Modern dental implants have been used successfully for over 30 years. They are the strongest devices available to support replacement teeth – and even better, they allow these new teeth to feel, look and function naturally.
When performed by a trained and experienced dental implant dentist, dental implant surgery is one of the safest and most predictable procedures in dentistry.”
How Long Does It Take to Replace Teeth Using Dental Implants?
The time involved in replacing teeth with dental implants is different for each person. Several variables are involved including:
- Your particular dental needs
- Your dental health
- The condition of your jawbone
- Your overall health and wellness
Dr. Guillory can provide you with a dental plan and estimated timeline based on your individual needs. Generally speaking, it can take from a few months to a year depending on how complex your particular situation is and whether or not bone grafting will be necessary.
Dental Bridges vs. Dental Implants: Pros and Cons of Each
Dental bridges and implants both serve the same purpose of providing a replacement tooth if a tooth or teeth are missing. There are pros and cons to each option and in each individual case, one option may be more appropriate than the other.
A dental bridge is an option for a missing tooth however, the teeth on either side of the gap must be in place for the bridge to have something to adhere to on both sides. Since the missing tooth will be replaced by a crown that is suspended between the two abutting teeth, it won’t be anchored to the jaw. If there has been bone loss to the jaw, this can be a better option for those that don’t wish to have any bone grafting done. A bridge is a simpler procedure since no oral surgery is required and is generally a lower-cost option.
A dental implant does not require any support from neighboring teeth since it will be anchored into the jaw bone. Implants are also appropriate when there is more than one missing tooth. Because implants serve as “artificial roots,” the jaw bone maintains its structural integrity which helps maintain facial structure as you age. A dental implant is also easier to maintain since you can brush and floss as you normally would with your natural teeth. A bridge requires a special type of floss that can get underneath the bridge. While there is more expense involved initially for an implant, they will generally last twenty-five years or more. A bridge may need to be replaced every ten to fifteen years.
Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions. We are always able to assist you with information, scheduling, and financing. We are happy to answer your questions and provide any information you may need about dental procedures or our practice.
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