If you are missing one or several teeth, you have options for restoring a healthy and fully functioning smile. Among these options are dental implants, which are considered by many dentists to be the most long-lasting solution to missing teeth. Here, Dr. Wayne Sutton of Sonoma Smiles explains what you need to know about dental implants.
Dental implants replace a tooth from the root to the crown.
Dental implants differ from other dental restorations because they replace the entirety of a tooth, from the root to the crown. They consist of three parts: a titanium post that is surgically inserted into the jaw, an artificial tooth that sits on top of the gum and an abutment piece that connects the root and replacement tooth. Because the implant post is positioned directly into the jawbone, there is no risk of it shifting around or slipping out of the mouth. This offers a level of support and stability that other dental restorations alone cannot provide. Dental implant posts can be used to anchor a dental crown, bridge or full or partial denture.
The dental implant placement process takes longer than that of other restorations.
The dental implant placement process is more extensive than the placement of dental bridges, dentures and crowns. The first part of the implant procedure involves oral surgery. An incision will be made in the gums to place the implant post. In order for the post to provide a stable and durable foundation for the artificial tooth, it must be given time to fuse with the surrounding jawbone. This process, called osseointegration, takes three to six months to complete. Once the jawbone is fully healed, the replacement tooth or teeth are positioned into place. In contrast, other dental restorations are typically placed over a span of two weeks.
Dental implants can last a lifetime.
When properly cared for, dental implants can last many years. In some cases, they can last a lifetime. This said, there are several things that can cause an implant to fail. Poor oral hygiene (including not seeing the dentist every six months) is the No. 1 cause of implant failure. Smoking is also linked to high failure rates and should be avoided after receiving dental implants.
Replacing teeth with dental implants can help restore your ability to eat, chew, speak and smile with ease again. To learn more about dental implants or the other dental restorations Dr. Sutton offers, please call (707) 585-2555 or email us today.