Dental implants are becoming the more popular way to replace missing teeth for a number of reasons. Implants are utilized to create a foundation for new teeth where natural teeth are missing or have been extracted. The implant offers the patient the opportunity to regain normal function of the tooth. The alternative to an implant would be a bridge or a denture.
Benefits of a dental implant:
- The implant will osseointegrate (bond) to the existing bone.
- The new implant will support your teeth firmly and safely.
- Implants do not require the cutting of healthy, natural teeth as in the case of a bridge.
- The new implant will prevent progressive bone loss in the area of the missing tooth.
- Implants are highly successful in most areas of the mouth.
A natural tooth has two main parts, the root and the crown. The root is the part of the tooth that is below the gumline. A dental implant acts as a replacement for this part of the tooth. The titanium implant becomes an anchor for a new tooth in the jawbone. The first step of the procedure is surgical placement of the implant. Under regular dental anesthetic, the gum tissue is opened and the dentist places the implant into the jawbone. When this is completed, the tissue is stitched closed. There is usually no significant discomfort with this procedure. This process can take from 1-3 hours depending on the number of implants being placed. Depending on your unique circumstances, Dr. Shore can place your implant or she may refer you to a specialist for this procedure.
The implant will be left completely untouched for a period of 3-6 months. During this time, the bone will grow around the implant in a process called osseointegration. A temporary crown or small removable denture called a stayplate may be utilized during this time period to allow for chewing and to preserve the cosmetic appearance.
Dr. Shore will complete the remaining portion of the implant procedure. The next step in the process is to take an impression of the implant to capture the placement of it in your mouth. Then, a specialized dental lab will create an abutment piece that fits into the implant, and a crown that is cemented on top. This restoration will be comfortable and cosmetically pleasing. Your completed implant will be fully functional like a natural tooth, allowing you to resume normal chewing.
Implants Before and After
If you would like to see before and after photos of dental implant procedures by Dr. Stefanie Shore, visit our Smile Gallery.