Implants: The New Normal for Single Tooth Replacement

What is a dental implant?

A dental implant is a titanium post, which serves as a substitute for a natural tooth's root. The implant is placed in the jaw bone so that it may fuse with natural bone to become a sturdy foundation for a replacement tooth. Implants can be used to replace individual teeth or to support a bridge or denture containing multiple teeth. 

Who can receive implants?

Dental implants can be provided to patients of all ages who are missing teeth due to decay, disease, injury, or other medical conditions. Since surgery is required, implant patients must be in good health, with healthy gums and adequate bone structure. If an implant site lacks the adequate structure, procedures may be done to improve it prior to implant placement. Implants are not for everyone. Chronic conditions like bruxism, diabetes, or leukemia may interfere with healing aftter implant surgery, so teh success rate decreases for patients with these conditions. This is also the case  for patinerts taking bisphosphonates for osteoporosis. Additionally, those who drink alcohol or use tobacco may not be good candidates for implants. 


How does implant placement work?

First, the dentist or specialist will perform surgery to place the implant in the jaw. Next, the surrounding bone will heal via a process called osseointegration; the bone grows around the implant to hold it firmly in place. Finally, the process will be completed by placing on the post a crown.
How long does implant placement take?
Once the implant placement surgery is completed -usually in an hour or two- the healing process begins, and that can take as long as 6 months. Additionally, the fitting of the permanent replacement tooth is usually accomplished within 3 weeks. 


How do I care for my implant?

Although an implant's success rate depends on its purpose and location in the mouth, as well as the patient's overall health, a major reason some implants fail is poor hygiene. It's important to brush implants twice a day, as well as to floss in between them. Additionally, as many as four dental cleanings per year may be necessary to maintain gum health.