What is a Dental Implant?
A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that replaces one or several missing teeth. The inner part looks like a screw and is made of a bio-friendly titanium alloy and the outer part is a prosthetic crown made to have the same appearance and texture as your natural teeth. In time, the bone cells develop around the implant, reinforcing it into the jaw and fusing it with the surrounding bone. Finally, a new, strong crown is perfected and placed onto the dental implant to restore your smile!
Dental Implants – the perfect solution!
They look and feel like natural teeth.
As opposed to dentures and partial dentures (which used to be the treatment for missing teeth), dental implants do not move or damage adjacent healthy teeth. According to scientific studies, 85% of people who have had dentures made feel that their dentures are uncomfortable and do not function well on a day-to-day basis.
Dental implants are placed in the jawbone and do not rely on adjacent teeth for support, which allows the patient to exert more chewing pressure than dentures alone. And dental implants are never susceptible to decay!!
Risk / Opportunity
Dental implants are placed in the jawbone by a minor surgical procedure performed by Dr. Griffin (or an oral surgeon colleague in some cases). Long-term studies show that dental implant success rates have reached 95%. However, studies show that dental implants which have not been successful stem from several different reasons such as lack of patient cooperation, drug abuse, poor oral hygiene, chronic alcoholism, problems related to the quality and density of the bone and a patient’s general health condition. During your consultation with Dr. Griffin, he will discuss whether dental implants are right for you, including any health risks you may have.
Dental Implant Procedure and Process
Diagnosis – During the preliminary examination, Dr. Griffin checks the location of the blood vessels, nerves and pockets in the jaw, as well as the length, width and location in the jaw. With the use of a panoramic digital x-ray, Dr. Griffin will analyze the options and consult with the patient on the most suitable implant. Many times he will make models of your teeth and jaws to help him plan for a great result.
Implant placement – While at Dr. Griffin’s office, the implant is inserted into the jawbone in extreme conditions of sterilization and under a local anesthetic and oral sedative. Many times a temporary tooth replacement is then placed to keep your smile brilliant. The procedure usually takes about two to three hours and then you are discharged to your caregiver to drive you home.
Healing– After 3 to 4 months, when the area has healed and the implant has knitted with the jawbone, the implant is exposed. As in all procedures that require the body to heal, it takes these months until the desired implant strength is obtained.
Restoration – At this stage a crown is built over the implant and then case is complete!
When replacing a single tooth, a dental implant is the ideal solution. This is because the implant does not need the support of the other teeth and therefore does not harm adjacent healthy teeth. Two implants side-by-side can even be used to support a bridge replacing three or more teeth. Even more implants can be used together to replace several or all missing teeth.
Dr. Griffin recommends that all his patients always replace a missing tooth as soon as possible. A missing tooth almost always causes the jawbone to recede and causes neighboring teeth to drift. To correct this usually requires bone grafting and multiple crowns and/or orthodontics if too much time has expired.
Replacement of All Teeth
When all the teeth are missing in the upper and lower jaw, the best solution is a denture supported by dental implants. The denture is anchored using special attachments that snap onto the implants for optimum retention. A full denture that is not retained by dental implants effects speech, eating habits, facial features, requires messy dental adhesives and affects the person’s lifestyle as a whole.
For more information, or to schedule an appointment, contact us today!