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Dental Implants

What are "dental implants"?

Dental implants are usually made from titanium, just as other metal inserts in the rest of your body are made out of titanium. Dental implants are used to replace the roots of the teeth that are missing. On these dental implants, after they've adhered to the bone, we can then screw in what looks like a ground-down tooth, or what we call an abutment. On that abutment, a crown can be placed.

Who can get dental implants?

In order to place a dental implant, the surgeon must first expose the bone. Then a small hole is drilled in the area that the dental implant is going to be placed, and then successively larger drill bits are used until we get to about the size of the implant. Once the hole is prepared, the dental implant is screwed down into the area and then covered with the gum and left to heal for three to four months, depending upon whether it is in the lower jaw taking three months, or the upper jaw taking four months . If bone needs to be added, it sometimes will take a little longer. After the dental implant has integrated to the bone, and what we mean by that is the bone has grown up around the dental implant and sometimes gone into little crevices in the dental implant so that it is very solidly in the bone, the dental implant is uncovered. Then an abutment is screwed in there, and the abutment will vary again depending upon what is going to be placed there. The abutment can be titanium or it can also be zirconium, which is white if we're going to be in an aesthetic area.

Dental Clinic

Is dental implant surgery painful?

I have never had a dental implant myself, so I can't give you first hand knowledge. But from what I understand, having a dental implant is no more painful than having a tooth extracted. That's what the patients tell me and I have to believe them.

How should I care for my dental implants?

Dental implants actually require more care than your natural tooth. The reason for this is that around your natural tooth is a biological zone which keeps bacteria out. You don't have anything like that with a dental implant. A dental implant will have the gum adhere very tightly to the dental implant, but it is not impervious to bacteria so you need to do a better job of brushing your dental implant than you did your natural tooth. You need to become almost "born again" if you lost your teeth from neglect. You can't do that with your dental implant.

How long will my dental implants last?

If your implant was placed well, if you maintain it well, and the tooth is restored in such a way that no extra pressures are placed on it, it's going to last a very long time.

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