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Are Dental Implants Right For You?

Dental implants are artificial structures used to replace missing teeth. They are surgically implanted into the jawbone and serve as a sturdy foundation for fixed or removable replacement teeth. A dental implant typically consists of a small titanium post that acts as a substitute for the root of the tooth.

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This post is connected to a replacement tooth, known as a crown, via a connector called an abutment. Dental implants can significantly improve a person’s ability to chew and their overall appearance, and they offer several advantages such as a more natural feel, improved chewing function, and a lower risk of cavities developing in nearby teeth.

Dental implant surgery is a safe and effective procedure when performed by a qualified and experienced surgeon or dentist.

Reasons you would need Dental Implants:

  1. Missing Teeth: Dental implants are used to replace missing teeth or a single missing tooth.
  2. Loose Dentures or Partials: For individuals with loose dentures or partials, dental implants can provide a more secure and stable solution.
  3. Preventing Facial Change: Dental implants can prevent facial sagging, excessive wrinkles around the mouth, and thinning of the lips that may occur due to missing teeth.
  4. Improved Chewing Function: They can improve the ability to eat and chew, as they restore the natural bite force and function of lost teeth.
  5. Preventing Gum Disease: Dental implants can help prevent gum disease by filling in the gaps left by missing teeth, which can otherwise trap food and bacteria.
  6. Preserving Jawbone: They help preserve the jawbone and reduce bone resorption, which can occur after tooth loss.
  7. Enhanced Aesthetic: Dental implants provide a natural-looking and natural-acting replacement for missing teeth, improving the overall appearance of the smile.

These are some of the common reasons why someone might need a dental implant, but the specific need can vary based on individual circumstances.

Girl smiling at Northeast Kingdom Dentist at St. Johnsbury Dental and NEK Dental

The Dental Implants Process - The 5 Steps:

  1. Assessment: The dentist evaluates the patient’s mouth to determine if they are a suitable candidate for a dental implant. Sufficient healthy bone material is necessary for the implant’s placement. If there is not enough bone material, the dentist may recommend a bone graft or a smaller dental implant.
  2. Bone Grafts (if needed): In cases where the patient has insufficient healthy bone at the implant site, a bone graft may be recommended to improve the jawbone. This can be done at the time of tooth extraction or after a tooth has been missing for an extended period, causing some bone loss.
  3. Implant Placement: During surgery, the dentist makes a cut to open the gum and expose the bone. Holes are then drilled into the bone, and the dental implant, typically a titanium post, is placed. In some cases, a temporary crown may also be placed during this step.
  4. Waiting and Healing: After the implant is placed, a period of healing is necessary. This can take several months and involves waiting for the growth of new bone in the jaw.
  5. Abutment and Crown Placement: Once the implant has fused with the jawbone and the area has healed, the dentist will attach an abutment to the dental implant and place a permanent crown, completing the procedure.

The entire process can take several months from start to finish, with much of the time devoted to healing and waiting for the growth of new bone in the jaw. The specific steps and timeframe may vary based on individual needs and the condition of the patient’s jawbone.

How successful are Dental Implants?

The success rate of dental implants is influenced by various factors. According to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry, the most common type of dental implant, the endosteal implant, has a success rate of around 95%.

In summary, dental implants have a high success rate, with the most common type of implant, the endosteal implant, having a success rate of around 95%. The success rate is influenced by various factors such as the patient’s health, age, and maintenance of oral hygiene. Studies have reported success rates of over 95% for the implant restoration process over 10 years.