The loss of one or more permanent teeth, due to trauma or decay, is increasingly common. Dental implants offer a permanent solution.
What are dental implants?
Dental implants are commonly mistaken as transplants. There is a key difference. A transplant uses actual teeth from a donor, while implants are crafted from synthetic material. They offer a permanent solution to tooth loss by replacing missing teeth. They consist of two parts: a screw—usually titanium—that is placed in the jaw bone, and a false tooth placed on the screw.
Why would I need a dental implant?
It's important for your health to replace missing teeth, as leaving gaps can lead to serious issues down the road. There are a variety of reasons that teeth can be lost. Gum disease, trauma, decay, and congenital defects are among the most common.
Who is a good candidate for dental implants?
As long as there is enough bone available to support the implant, and no disease is present that will deteriorate the bone over a period of time, most people are candidates for dental implants. Unlike some other tooth replacement procedures, there is no minimum or maximum age. There are some serious health issues that may disqualify you from being considered for dental implants. These include recent chemotherapy, bone marrow cancer, low sinuses, uncontrolled diabetes and smoking. Your dentist will perform a full oral health exam to determine your candidacy. Be sure to discuss any concerns that you may have.
What happens during a dental implant procedure?
Following an initial visit to determine candidacy and perform a full oral health exam, you will be scheduled for the first step, the placement of the screw. Using great skill, Dr. Godfrey will bore a pilot hole into the jawbone to help guide the screw, and place the implant.
Once the implant is in place, it must be allowed to integrate with the jawbone for a period of time, usually a few months. After this time, you will return to the office for the placement of a temporary crown. The temporary crown is important to the process, as it allows the gums to reform in a natural way.
Finally, the temporary crown is replaced with a permanent one. Regular follow-up visits are necessary to track progress.
Is it painful?
The procedure itself is not painful. A local anesthetic is used to numb the area. You may feel minor discomfort during your recovery. Your dentist will prescribe a medication to help with this discomfort.