What is a Dental Implant?
Dental implants are small titanium posts which are surgically placed into the jawbone to replace missing teeth. These titanium anchors act as substitutes for the tooth root. Acting like natural teeth, they safeguard and preserve the bone structure and facial appearance. After a healing time of three to four months the bone of the jaw bonds with the titanium post, creating a strong foundation for artificial teeth. Implants can be used to replace an individual tooth, multiple teeth or to secure specialized dentures in place.
Why Replace Missing Teeth with Dental Implants?
A missing tooth can affect a person’s bite, speech, appearance and eating choices. The remaining teeth, which now have to compensate for the missing ones, may wear out prematurely, or be damaged or lost. The natural consequence of missing teeth is deteriorating bone. Generally, people will lose 25% of their supporting bone structure within the first year after tooth loss. Dental implants are a great option because they are designed to provide a foundation for replacement teeth that look, feel and function like natural teeth.
Surgical Advances in Dental Implants
Using the most recent advances in dental implant technology, Drs. Owsley and McDaniel are able to place single stage implants. These implants do not require a second procedure to uncover them, but do require a minimum of six weeks of healing time before artificial teeth are placed. There are even situations where the implant can be placed at the same time as the tooth extraction – further minimizing your number of surgical procedures.
Dental implant placement is a team effort between an oral and maxillofacial surgeon and a restorative dentist. Drs. Owsley or McDaniel performs the actual implant surgery, initial tooth extractions, and bone grafting if necessary. The restorative dentist (your dentist) fits and makes the permanent prosthesis. Your dentist will also make any temporary prosthesis needed during the implant process.
“Don’t be afraid to Smile.”
For years I’d felt like a part of my body was missing — because my teeth were. My dentist told me that dental implants would make me feel and look a lot better. OK, I said. Now, I’m thrilled. I can smile, eat anything, and enjoy a good laugh with my friends.