A dental implant is a titanium fixture that acts like a root or an anchor for your teeth. It can hold a single tooth, a bridge, or a denture. It is placed into the bone and integrates or fuses with it.
Implants can be used to replace a single missing tooth, multiple missing teeth, or even whole arches of missing teeth. Complete arches can be restored so that they are either permanently fixed in place or removable, where the denture snaps onto the implants but can still be taken in and out.
Placing implants in areas with missing teeth would not require shaving down the teeth next to the missing space. Those teeth remain untouched. If a conventional bridge fails, multiple teeth are compromised. Also, success rates of implants have been found to be much higher than that of bridges. Dentures that are retained by implants do not move with chewing, speaking, eating, etc… They are more stable and more comfortable than conventional dentures. At the same time, they retain the bone levels around the implants. Implants are especially advantageous for patients who wear a lower denture because the lower arch has very little retentive properties, so the denture is likely to move during function. The implants keep the denture in place.
First, your dentist will give you anesthesia to make sure the area is completely numb so that you are comfortable throughout the procedure. You may opt to be sedated for your procedure, but it is not necessarily required.
Once teeth are extracted, your dentist will examine if there is adequate bone to support the implant. If there is, the implant can then be placed. If there is not, your dentist will need to place bone graft in the area to create more bone thickness. The implant can then be placed.
Implant integration can take 4-6 months. During that time your dentist will place a temporary restoration in place of the area where you are missing teeth. Once the healing time is complete, the area can then be restored with a permanent crown, bridge, or denture that matches the natural shade of your teeth and gums.
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