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Dental Implants Demystified

The goal of today’s dentistry practices is to save your tooth. But sometimes this is not possible for a variety of reasons. The tooth may be badly damaged due to an accident or decay and your doctor has no other option than to extract it. This is where dental implants can preserve your smile and maintain your natural bite. If your doctor just extracted the affected tooth, your other teeth may shift over time and affect your speech and natural bite. Understanding dental implants will help you see their benefits if your doctor recommends the procedure.

What are Dental Implants?

Dental implants replace the tooth. The portion you see above the gum line is known as the crown. Crowns are typically fabricated from porcelain and can be made to match the color and shape of your natural teeth. The abutment is the middle portion of an implant. It is where the crown is fixed and connects the crown to the implant. The lower third portion is the implant. It is surgically placed into the jawbone. Once in place the implant must heal before the abutment and crown are placed. Receiving a dental implant requires several months and visits to the office because the implant must first heal before the abutment is placed.

Dental Implant Procedure

Before the doctor places the abutment to fix the crown she first needs to surgically place the implant. Implants are made of titanium and are permanent once they heal. Your jaw must be able to support the implant for it to heal properly. If you have a weak jawbone, or your jawbone has been damaged, she will do a bone graft from another site on your body. Once the implant is placed it needs to heal and go through a process called Osseo-Integration. Osseo-Integration is the process in which the threads of the implant integrate with the surrounding bone to form a firm strong anchor for the abutment. Osseo-Integration usually takes about three months.
Once the implant has healed your doctor will place the abutment. The abutment serves as a connecter to the implant and the crown. When your doctor is happy with the placement of the abutment, she will place the crown onto it and you have a new natural looking and feeling tooth. Implants can also be used to support a bridge of two or more crowns.

Care of Your New Dental Implant

Once your new implant heals it will feel and look just like your natural teeth. Care for your implant just like you would your natural teeth. Brush and floss twice a day, use the toothpaste and mouth rinse your doctor recommends, and keep up on your checkups. At your checkup, the doctor will inspect your gums and make sure the implant is healed. Also keep up on your twice a year dental cleaning to prevent plaque and tartar buildup around the crown. With proper care, your implant will last for many years.
If you have any questions about dental implants, please call or contact us today.P