Dental Implants FAQ
Dentist in Lakewood, CO
With tooth loss affecting a large portion of the population in the United States, you or someone you know has likely experienced tooth loss. It can make eating more difficult, speaking rather uncomfortable, and hurt your confidence in your smile. If you have experienced tooth loss, several options are available to you to correct your tooth loss and restore your confidence in performing everyday activities, one of which is a dental implant. If you want to find out more about dental implants, what the surgery entails, and what to expect after we perform the procedure, we at Northstar Dental are here to assist you and answer any questions you may have about the procedure.
What are Dental Implants?
A dental implant is a surgical procedure performed by dentists to replace missing teeth with artificial teeth and roots, simulating the look and feel of real teeth. The surgery is performed by placing titanium screws directly into the jawbone upon removing the original, natural roots, allowing them to fuse with the jawbone. This process creates a rigid foundation that acts just like your natural roots, allowing us to fit an artificial tooth in place of the missing tooth. This procedure is quite popular when compared to alternative procedures, such as building dentures or dental bridges. It is often the primary solution for patients that do not have enough remaining natural teeth and roots to use that the alternative procedures require.
How Will the Implants Be Placed and How Long Will It Take?
The initial surgery of placing titanium screws into your jawbone can take up to about two hours, with it taking longer if more than one tooth needs to undergo an implant. Following this initial surgery, over the next two to six months, the implant and bone fuse together to form a foundation that will allow us to place an artificial tooth in place of your missing natural tooth. During the transitionary and healing process, a temporary tooth can be placed over the implant site until your jawbone is fully healed and is ready to receive a permanent tooth in its place.
Additionally, a second step might sometimes be required to complete the procedure. In these cases, we uncover the implant and attach an extension that will complete the foundation upon which your artificial tooth will be placed once the gums have healed. This step is not always required, and some implants do not need this second step, as they come with the extension attached to the initial implant. If you have questions about how long the procedure can take or whether your implant already has an extension attached or will need it later, a member of our team can assist you.
What are the Different Kinds of Dental Implants?
There are two basic types of dental implant procedures that we may perform for you. The first type of implant is called an endosteal implant. This type is surgically placed directly onto the jawbone, allowing the surrounding gum tissue to heal before a second surgery is performed to attach an extension to the original implant. Once this process is complete, as a final measure, an artificial tooth is placed over the implant.
The second type of dental implant is called a subperiosteal implant. Unlike an endosteal implant, this procedure is done when there is not enough healthy bone left in the region of the missing tooth. Once the region has been identified, a metal frame is fitted onto the jawbone, just below the gums, and then allowed to heal and fuse with the jawbone. After this, posts are attached to the frame that protrudes through the gums, upon which an artificial tooth is placed just like an endosteal implant.
When Should You Have a Dental Implant?
We will perform dental implant surgery to replace damaged or missing teeth by replacing your natural roots with artificial ones (titanium screws) that will support artificial teeth. You can be considered for dental implant surgery if: you have more than one tooth that needs to be replaced; you have a healthy jawbone with enough bone to support the implants or receive a bone grafting if necessary; have healthy gum tissue and do not have any conditions that may hinder your jawbone or gum tissue from healing and fusing with the implants.
Additionally, some patients may find wearing dentures too uncomfortable or do not have enough remaining bone or teeth to build a functional set of dentures, in which case, an implant may serve better. If you smoke or struggle with diabetes or other chronic conditions, we suggest speaking with a member of our team to find the best solution for your specific circumstances.
Why You Might Choose a Dental Implant
There are many advantages to choosing a dental implant as your choice of procedure over alternative measures, one of which is improved appearance. Dental implants are a permanent solution made to look and feel just like your natural teeth. Because of this, having them over dentures or dental bridges can mean improved speech, better comfort, and an easier time eating, all of which contribute to greater self-esteem and confidence.
Additionally, dental implants are very durable, and with good oral care, they can be made to last for many years or potentially a lifetime. They are also a permanent solution, meaning once they are in, you do not have to take them out as you would otherwise have to do with dentures. Other reasons they might be considered over alternatives such as dental bridges would be that the procedure only targets the region of the missing teeth, leaving all other neighboring teeth intact and untouched. For these reasons, dental implants are the most popular method of restorative dentistry for correcting missing teeth in the United States.
If you are missing one or more teeth and struggling with self-confidence because of it, a dental implant may be in your best interest. At Northstar Dental we can assist you and answer any questions you have about the procedure or restorative dentistry in general. If you would like to schedule an appointment or speak with a member of our team, please call us today at (303) 481-3901.