Crowns and conventional bridges or dentures may not be your
only options when replacing missing teeth. For some people, dental
implants offer a smile that looks and feels very natural. Surgically
placed below the gums over a series of appointments, implants fuse to
the jawbone and serve as a base for individual replacement teeth,
bridges or a denture.
Implants offer stability because they fuse to your bone.
Integration of the implants into your jaw also helps your replacement
teeth feel more natural and some people also find the secure fit more
comfortable than conventional substitutes.
Candidates for dental implants need to have healthy gums and
adequate bone to support the implant. A thorough evaluation by your
dentist will help determine whether you are a good candidate for dental
Is there another way I can have a tooth replaced other than a bridge?
Yes. Dental implants can provide artificial teeth that look
natural and feel secure. Dental implants can also be used to attach full
or partial dentures. Implants, however, are not an option for everyone.
Because implants require surgery, patients must be in good health, have
healthy gums, have adequate bone to support the implant and be
committed to meticulous oral hygiene and regular dental visits. If you
are considering implants, a thorough evaluation by your dentist will
help determine if you would be a good candidate.
What is involved in placing implants?
First, surgery is performed to place the anchor. Surgery can
take up to several hours, and up to six months may be required for the
bone to grow around the anchor and firmly hold it in place. Some
implants require a second surgery in which a post is attached to connect
the anchor to the replacement teeth. With other implants, the anchor
and post are already attached and are placed at the same time.
After the gums have had several weeks to heal, the next step
is begun. The artificial teeth are made and fitted to the post portion
of the anchor. Because several fittings may be required, this step can
take one to two months to complete.
Implant surgery can be done either in a dental office or in a
hospital, depending upon a number of factors. A local or general
anesthetic may be used. Usually pain medications and, when necessary,
antibiotics are prescribed. Your dentist will give you instructions on
diet and oral hygiene.
Article Source: http://www.ada.org/2966.aspx?currentTab=1
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