Dental implants are oral prosthetics that replace adult teeth that have been knocked out, pulled, or damaged beyond repair. Implants replace both roots and teeth to restore a person’s smile to healthy, normal function. Metal, screwlike posts made of titanium replace the roots and are fused to the jawbone to create a solid foundation for artificial teeth, or crowns.
Why should I get dental implants?
Missing or decayed teeth can pose a serious risk not only to your oral health but to your overall health as well. An incomplete set of teeth can affect jaw alignment and function, affecting how you chew, bite, talk, and breathe. Improper alignment can also place additional strain on your neck and jaw muscles, leading to headaches and facial pain, and on only specific teeth, causing them to break or crack.
In addition to increasing your risk of oral infection by creating an ideal space for bacteria, a gap in the jawbone can also cause the bone to atrophy, or deteriorate. When the jawbone shrinks and gums recede, the teeth on either side of the gap grow weaker and more susceptible to decay or plaque buildup. The surrounding teeth may also grow into the gap, leading to crowded, crooked, or improperly spaced teeth.
Missing teeth and poor oral health have also been linked to an increase in other overall health concerns, including heart disease, premature birth in women, and endocarditis, an infection of the heart’s inner lining.
You may benefit from dental implants if you:
- Are missing one or more teeth
- Have healthy oral tissue
- Have a jaw that is done growing
- Can receive a bone graft or have adequate bone to secure the implants
- Are unwilling or unable to wear dentures
- Are willing and able to commit to the months-long process
- Want to improve your speech
- Don’t smoke tobacco
- Don’t have any health conditions that will impede the healing process
Dental implant surgery
Although it is an outpatient procedure, dental implant surgery is an extensive process that takes place over several months and requires lengthy periods for healing. Though treatment times vary, the average implant procedure takes about six months and includes:
- Although it is an outpatient procedure, dental implant surgery is an extensive process that takes place over several months and requires lengthy periods for healing. Though treatment times vary, the average implant procedure takes about six months and includes:
- Removal of the damaged tooth or teeth
- Preparing the jaw bone with bone grafting, if necessary. Bone grafting is necessary if your jawbone is too soft or isn’t thick enough to support the implant. A bone graft reinforces the jawbone and creates a better, more solid foundation for the implant by encouraging new bone growth. Bone grafts may be natural, like from another bone in your body, or synthetic, made of a material that will provide the strength and structural support your jaw needs. Your jaw will need several months post-grafting to heal and grow enough new bone to proceed with the implants.
- Placing the dental implant. A cut is made in the gum to expose the bone, into which holes are drilled to accommodate the implant posts. The post is implanted deep into the bone, where it will serve as a root. While there will still be a gap at this point, you may have the option to receive a temporary denture that can be removed for cleaning and sleeping.
- Bone growth and healing. Osseointegration, the process of living bone connecting to an artificial implant, begins when the titanium post is implanted in the jaw. During the next several months, your jawbone will begin to grow into the surface of the implant, much the same way as natural teeth and roots, fusing with the implant to create a good base for your artificial tooth or teeth.
- Placing the abutment. An abutment is a connector attached to the top of the implant to support the crowns that will eventually be placed there. Attaching the abutment requires a minor procedure in which the gum is reopened to expose the implant, the abutment is attached to the implant, and the gum tissue is reclosed around the abutment but not over it, so it is still visible above the gumline.
- Placing the artificial teeth, or crowns. Artificial teeth, also referred to as crowns, are custom-made to fit your mouth and match your natural teeth, but they cannot be placed until the implant has stabilized and the gum and jaw have healed from the previous procedures. Depending on your specific needs, your crowns can be fixed, removable, or a combination of both. Removable teeth are similar to dentures—they are mounted on a metal frame that snaps into the implant abutment. Fixed teeth are permanently cemented or screwed onto the implant abutment.
Patient Education Videos
What Is A Dental Implant?
Description: This video provides patients an overview of dental implants and why they are the best treatment option for missing teeth.
Dental Implants Process
Description: This video provides patients an understanding of what’s involved in a typical dental implant done by a Dental Depot specialist.
The Benefits of Dental Implants
Because of their durability and complete fusion with the jaw bone, dental implants are more durable and facilitate better natural oral function than any other prosthetic, without limitations on diet. They fit securely and do not click or slip when you laugh, eat, or talk. Unlike dentures or bridges, dental implants require little to no maintenance or cleaning requirements and very rarely lose their fit. With proper oral hygiene, routine dental visits, and a healthy diet, your implants will last a lifetime.
Dental implants also preserve the natural bone in the jaw, stimulating bone growth and preventing atrophy. Empty spaces in the jaw from one or more lost teeth can eventually cause the jaw to atrophy, or deteriorate. Dentures and bridges are designed to sit above the gumline; implants, however, fill that gap and prevent bone loss.
Dental implants at Dental Depot DFW
Dental Depot DFW is committed to providing comprehensive dental care for a lifetime of healthy teeth. That’s why our diverse team of dental professionals include specialists like an oral and maxillofacial surgeon and a periodontist who are experienced in restorative dentistry procedures like dental implants. By providing dedicated resources like these to all of our 4 area locations, we provide our patients with the quality and continuity of care they deserve, whether it’s a cleaning and check-up or full surgical implants. To find out more about dental implants or to schedule an appointment, visit out Request an Appointment page.