Dental implants are a restorative treatment option that can be used to replace a missing tooth or multiple missing teeth. Here, our Fort St. John dentists explain how dental implants work, including what to expect during the dental implant procedure.
What are dental implants?
A dental implant is a permanent tooth replacement. An implant consists of two pieces: a titanium rod that is placed into the jaw bone, creating the "root" of your new tooth, and a crown or artificial tooth that is attached to the titanium rod. Together, these pieces work to restore the function and appearance of your smile.
What are the different kinds of dental implants?
There are 3 main types of dental implants:
Endosteal - This is the most common type of implant and requires a healthy jaw bone for the titanium rod to bond with. The screw-like rod is placed into the jaw, below the gum line, and fuses with the jawbone over time.
Subperiosteal - An alternative to endosteal, subperiosteal implants are still placed below the gum line but do not fuse to the bone. Rather, they are placed on top and have a metal frame that is secured by the gums once they heal. This type is typically used for patients who do not have enough healthy jaw bone material to support endosteal implants or for those who do not want to undergo more intensive oral surgery.
Zygomatic - This is currently the least common type of dental implant. Zygomatic implants are typically only chosen if the patient does not have enough jaw bone to place endosteal or subperiosteal implants. They are more complicated and involve placing the dental implant in the cheekbone.
Are dental implants effective?
Modern dental implant surgery has been performed successfully for over 30 years. It is considered a safe, strong, and effective way to replace a missing tooth or multiple missing teeth.
Dental Implant Procedure
The dental implant procedure is several months long and requires multiple visits to the dentist. This is because the titanium rod must fully heal before it can be capped with the restoration. After an initial consultation, you will return to your dentist's office for the first implant procedure appointment. During this appointment, your dentist will surgically place the titanium "root" below your gum line into your jaw bone. As your jaw heals, the titanium rod will fuse to your jawbone.
Once your dentist has assessed the implant and decided that it is fully healed, they will then attach your custom-made tooth replacement to the titanium rod to complete the procedure.
The end result will be an artificial tooth that feels and looks like a natural tooth.
How long will dental implants last?
Dental implants are durable and can withstand many years of use. With proper care, dental implants can last 25 years or more. Proper care includes:
- Brushing twice a day
- Flossing every day
- Visiting your dentist twice a year for proper hygiene cleanings and inspection of your dental implants
- Protecting your teeth from damage (such as refraining from biting or chewing on hard materials or using your teeth as a tool to open items)
Your lifestyle choices and general health can also impact the success of dental implants. Certain illnesses, diseases, and medical conditions can lead to dental implant failure.
Why get dental implants?
Replacing missing teeth is important for a few reasons. Not only does it have the cosmetic benefit of filling gaps in your smile, but replacing missing teeth can make it easier to chew and speak, stop the surrounding teeth from shifting out of place, and can even prevent jaw bone deterioration.
Dental implants may be the correct choice for you due to their longevity and ability to function like a natural tooth. Tooth replacements, such as crowns, bridges, or dentures, may not have the same lifespan, even with diligent care. Speak with your dentist for more information about the tooth replacement recommended for you.
Are you considering dental implants to replace missing teeth? Contact our Fort St. John dental team today to book a consultation.