Dental implants are replacements for missing teeth. They act as a base for fixed or removable artificial teeth. An implant is a surgical fixture installed into the jawbone and bonds with the natural bone over a few months. Dental implant surgery involves replacing tooth roots with metal, screw-like posts. This is followed by placing an artificial tooth that appears and functions like natural ones.
Types of Dental Implants
Dental implants are crafted from pure titanium and are suitable for every form of tooth loss. Here are three common types of implants:
These are the most common type of dental implants as they are suitable for the majority of patients. They require a healthy jawbone for the post to bond with. Endosteal implants are popular as they have the most stable, natural-feeling results. These implants are placeholder posts shaped like screws. They are inserted into the jaw where the implants will later be fitted. Once the implant is placed and the area is healed, artificial teeth are installed in the empty socket to match the neighboring teeth.
These are a primary alternative to endosteal implants. Subperiosteal implants go under the gum but stay on top of the jawbone. Unlike endosteal implants, they are not fused with the bone. A metal frame with an attached post is fixed under the gum. The gum is left to heal around the frame to keep it in place. The artificial teeth are secured to the posts emerging from the gum. This method is preferred when you lack enough jawbone for an implant to be fixed, or if you do not wish to go through an intensive surgery to add bone to the area. As they are not attached to the jawbone, these implants offer less stability than endosteal implants.
Zygomatic implants are the least common form of dental implants. It is a complex procedure that should only be chosen if you do not have enough jawbone to get an endosteal implant. A zygomatic implant involves placing an implant in the cheekbone (zygoma) rather than the jawbone. They are especially designed for people suffering from bone loss. Zygomatic implants are typically tilted and are longer than conventional implants.
Dental Implant Procedure
Your dentist is likely to conduct an oral examination and ask you to get an x-ray done. They would evaluate the quality and quantity of your jawbone to determine if more bone needs to be added to the site. Once the area is ready for an implant, you would be given a local anesthetic to numb the area, along with other sedatives that may be required to reduce anxiety. Often, the surgical site still has a damaged tooth present there. This is extracted in order to prepare for the placement of an implant. A titanium post is installed into the bone socket of the missing tooth using specialized dental equipment. The jawbone is then allowed to heal and grow around the metal post to hold the implant in place. This process generally takes 6-12 weeks. Once the implant is fused to the jawbone, an artificial tooth is fixed in the socket. Once the surgery site heals, make sure you practice good oral hygiene, and treat your artificial teeth just like natural ones.
If you have a tooth missing, schedule an appointment with us at Cooley Smiles by calling us at (425) 249-3509 today.