A dental implant is a small titanium post that replaces the root of a missing tooth. It is placed beneath the gum and fuses with the bone. A crown is fitted to the top of the implant and replaces the visible portion of the missing tooth.
In addition to replacing a single missing tooth, dental implants can be used to retain dentures, or replace several missing teeth in a patient’s mouth. They can also help minimize jawbone shrinkage after tooth extractions.
With proper care and maintenance, dental implants are permanent, and can improve your smile for a lifetime.
Dental Implants vs. Dental Bridges
Dental implants provide a more advanced and conservative replacement for missing teeth than a traditional bridge because they eliminate the need for grinding down teeth on either side of the space.
At Authentic Dental Designs, we offer three primary tooth-replacement options. Depending on the number of missing teeth, certain implant options work better than others:
- Single-tooth replacements have the highest success rate, and because they will never decay or need root canal treatments, they are the best long-term investment for replacing a single tooth.
- Multi-tooth replacements are similar to traditional bridges and are commonly performed when three or more teeth in a row are missing.
- Implant-supported over dentures replace the entire jawline along the top or bottom (or both). These dentures snap into place so they will not shift around in the mouth or fall out during normal movements. They can also be screwed in permanently, and therefore they cannot be removed.
Single Dental Implant
A single dental implant replacing a single missing tooth
Dental Implant Bridge
Two dental implants replacing multiple missing teeth
Implant-Supported Over Denture
Multiple Implants retaining a full upper denture
Are Implants right for me?
Because implants require surgery, you must be in good health, be committed to good oral hygiene and regular dental visits, and have healthy gums. Also, you either must have adequate bone to support the implant or be a good candidate to build up the area with bone grafting. Once the implant is placed it may require up to 6 months for the bone to grow around it and firmly hold it in place, although in some cases immediate use of the implant may be possible.
With proper care, dental implants can last a lifetime. This means routine brushing and flossing twice a day, to keep all of the teeth healthy. Dental implants should be treated like natural teeth and maintained in the same manner. During professional cleaning and routine annual exams, Dr. Toland will examine the implant to ensure the surrounding tissue is healthy.
Dr. Toland will complete a thorough oral examination and will discuss if dental implants are the best option for your individual needs.
Interested in dental implants?
If you think that you might benefit from dental implants, we invite you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Meghan Toland by contacting our La Mesa cosmetic and restorative dentistry practice today.