What are dental implants?
Dental implants can be compared to screws that are implanted in the jawbone to permanently secure crowns or lock-in loose dentures. Dental implants are a relatively simple procedure, and we do offer sedation for our patients who request it.
Why would I need dental implants?
We offer dental implants to our patients who have lost one or more teeth, and those missing teeth are affecting their bite (how they chew), and/or their pattern of speech (this is very common with missing front teeth).
What are they made of?
Though there are hundreds of dental implant manufacturers, the actual implant itself is almost always composed of titanium. Titanium is a very hard metal that is biocompatible with human bone- that means that the bone will grow around the implant quickly with a very low rate of rejection. Titanium doesn’t rust, doesn’t corrode, and is stronger than steel, so you can expect that it will hold your crowns and/or dentures in place without much difficulty.
How long is the procedure?
The actual implantation takes a single office visit, but it takes between 3 to 6 months before we can fit the crown or dentures to the implant. We wait because it takes 3 months for the bone of the lower jaw to grow around the implant (osseointegration), and 6 months for the bone of the upper jaw to grow around the implant. Osseointegration is important because once the bone has integrated the implant it has a very solid foundation for crowns and dentures.
How long do dental implants last?
Typically, failure or rejection of the implant will take place within the first 6 months, if it will happen at all. Once the first 6 months passes, the implant itself can last forever depending on the conditions in the mouth, the oral hygiene of the patient, if the patient has a family history of bone loss, or if the patient has diabetes. These things can all extend or shorten the life of the implant, crown, or dentures.