What are Dental Implants?

If you’re missing any of your natural teeth, you may be somewhat familiar with your options for replacing these teeth. Many people are aware that dental appliances like removable dentures and bridges can slide and shift in the mouth, interfering with the ability to eat and speak and causing discomfort and pain in the gums and pressure on the jaw. Dental implants Belvidere illinois are intended to be a permanent solution for one or more missing natural teeth, which means they won’t slip or slide and are meant to look and act just like robust natural teeth. The most widely used type of dental implant is known as an endosteal implant and is a tiny post made of titanium or zirconia that is placed into the jawbone, under the gums. After the implant and bone have healed together, the implant post is used to support a dental restoration, like a dental crown or implant-supported bridge. Another type of implant, the subperiosteal implant, sits atop the jaw, under the gums; historically, these implants have been used in patients with very little available healthy bone, but they are less commonly used as endosteal implant treatment design and component manufacture continues to develop and improve.

Endosteal dental implants are placed into the jawbone where missing teeth once were. As the bone heals around the implant, a process called osseointegration occurs. During osseointegration, the bone fuses with the implant and a permanent foundation for a dental prosthetic is built. The osseointegration process is key to the long-term success of dental implants and cannot be rushed. Once the implant heals completely, which can take anywhere from two to six months, the oral surgeon will expose the top of the implant by pulling back the gum tissue, affixing an abutment to the implant. This abutment is an attachment fixture that holds the dental restoration in place. Many dental implants are used to support a single artificial tooth; these dental crowns can be custom designed to match the adjacent teeth in luster, color, and shape. Some endosteal implants can also be used to support several teeth in a row, with certain treatments that rely on as few as two or four dental implants to bolster an entire row of teeth.

Subperiosteal dental implants, which rest on the bone, fasten to the jaw over time because of osseointegration. When patients have very little healthy bone or if the shape of their jaw is not conducive to endosteal implant placement, dentists may opt for subperiosteal implants. Innovations in bone grafting and increased selection for dental implant materials and design have made endosteal implants more appropriate for many patients, but if a patient is averse to bone grafting and lacks sufficient bone to support endosteal implants, or if they’re seeking a faster implant option with a shorter healing time, subperiosteal implants may still be used.

Dental implants are cared for just like natural teeth, with twice-daily brushing and daily flossing. Your implants may require a special non-abrasive toothpaste, and you and your dentist will discuss aftercare while planning your treatment. Make sure to thoroughly yet gently clean the abutment of the implant and the soft tissue in the mouth, which can help remove bacterial buildup and keep gum disease at bay. Your dentist and dental hygienist will play a vital role in the maintenance of your dental implants; dental hygienists use specialized instruments to manage gum disease to clean the implants while maintaining their luster, and dental examinations are essential to the prevention of gum disease. If left untreated, gum disease can cause the dental implants to fail and fall out, wreaking havoc on the jawbone and the health of the oral cavity, but you can prevent this with daily care and regular dental visits.

How Long Do Dental Implants Take?