It’s estimated that roughly 178 million Americans are missing at least one tooth. It can be tempting to not replace one or two missing teeth, but this can wreak havoc on your overall bite and oral health. It makes better sense to have Dr. Moskowitz replace your missing tooth with a dental implant. Implants look and function exactly like your natural teeth, and they can last the remainder of the patient’s life.
What is a dental implant?
A dental implant is a prosthesis that replaces a missing tooth. Implants are anchored into the jawbone by an “implant” made from titanium. This implant is shaped like a screw and is placed into the socket left from the natural tooth root. The jawbone then grows around the implant and integrates it into the jaw. Next, a post (called an abutment) is attached to the implant and a porcelain crown (artificial tooth) is attached to the post.
Dental implants look exactly like your natural teeth. Plus, because they are anchored into the jawbone, you don’t need to worry about what you eat or provide any special dental care.
Advantages of Dental Implants
Dental implants offer numerous benefits and advantages over other tooth replacement procedures such as dentures and bridges. These advantages include the following:
- No clicking sounds: Many denture wearers are embarrassed by the clicking sounds dentures can make and have to deal with a compromised ability to eat and speak properly.
- They are permanent: Dental implants are a permanent solution for replacing missing teeth and do not have to be replaced or removed for cleaning.
- Dental implants work to prolong your oral health: Bridges require grinding down healthy teeth for optimal placement, which can affect your oral health in the long run.
- Low maintenance: Dental implants are a permanent solution for replacing missing teeth and do not have to be replaced or removed for cleaning. They function just like your natural teeth, so you will need to care for them by brushing and flossing as you normally do.
- Increased Comfort: Dental implants provide a secure fit and permanent results while restoring your ability to eat all of your favorite foods and speak clearly.
Patients with dental implants enjoy a better quality of life because they do not need to worry about glues, adhesives, and pastes associated with dentures. Dental implants can reduce the risk of gum irritation and also improve bone health. They are designed to restore your oral health and enhance your smile.
Interesting Facts about tooth loss
Some interesting facts:
- 25 percent of adults in the United States 60 or older have lost all of their teeth.
- Smokers are at a higher risk of losing their teeth.
- Many adults end up losing at least one tooth by the time they reach middle age.
- 40 percent of adults in the United States are partially edentulous.
The Dental Implants Procedure
Placing an implant takes a series of steps over a period of up to six or eight months. This is the procedure:
- Consultation: The implant process begins with a consultation with Dr. Moskowitz, who performs a full oral exam and takes x-rays and a CT scan to determine your jawbone mass.
- Placement: Next the titanium implant is placed into hole formerly occupied by the tooth root. Dr. Moskowitz may have to drill a small hole into the jawbone to prepare it. The implant is shaped like a screw and is inserted in that fashion.
- Osseointegration: Now the patient simply waits three to six months as the jawbone naturally grows around and accepts the titanium implant.
- Abutment: When the jawbone has fully grown around the implant, a small metal post, called an abutment, is attached to the implant and the gum tissue is allowed to heal for around six weeks.
- Placing the crown: The final step is to place a custom-made porcelain crown onto the abutment. The crown is made to match the color and shape of the surrounding teeth so, once placed, it fits in naturally.
How long does it take to get a dental implant?
There are two waiting periods involved in receiving an implant. After the titanium implant is placed into your jawbone, a period is required for the jawbone to grow around the implant and incorporate it into the jaw. This takes from three to six months, depending on how fast the patient grows new bone tissue. The second waiting period is after the post is placed and the gums need to grow around the post and heal. This takes up to six weeks. Overall, the shortest timeframe to place an implant start to finish will be around five months in the lower jaw and six months in the upper jaw.
How painful is a dental implant?
The process of receiving a dental implant from Dr. Moskowitz is not any more painful than having a cavity filled or any other basic procedure. There will be some residual soreness after your implant is placed into the jawbone, as the gum tissue is cut slightly to gain access to the jawbone. Recovery from the small incision is not difficult. Once the abutment is attached, there is again some minor gum disturbance and the gums must heal before placing the artificial tooth. But, again, this is not anything that isn’t manageable with ibuprofen.
Replacing Dentures With Dental Implants
Implant supported dentures are held in place by using a set of dental implants as a foundation for the dentures. We can perform this procedure under local anesthesia or with sedation dentistry services to ensure a stress free visit. Dr. Moskowitz offers two methods of implant supported dentures: bar retained dentures and ball retained dentures.
Ball Retained Implant Supported Dentures
These are designed with a ball and socket mechanism and provide an extremely secure tooth replacement option. Dentures fitted with sockets will firmly attach to balls atop of the implants integrated within the jaw bone.
Bar Retained Implant Supported Dentures
To ensure maximum comfort and stability, a metal bar is connected to dental implant posts. A set of dentures can then be placed on top of the metal bars and secured in place with clasps for a tight fit.
How Long Will My Dental Implants Last?
With correct placement, dental implants can last a lifetime. Dr. Ari Moskowitz can replace missing teeth with the right procedure, and may recommend other procedures such as bone grafting or a sinus lift to ensure optimal results. We also offer sedation dentistry services to make your visits that much more manageable.
Schedule A Consultation
If you have missing teeth, dental implants may be the right treatment for you. To learn more about this procedure, contact our office at 410.744.6088 to schedule a consultation at Baltimore Periodontics.