What is a Dental Implant?
Dental implants consist of three pieces:
- A titanium root – this is a screw that is placed into the jaw bone and mimics the original tooth root.
- Abutment – this titanium or zirconia piece is screwed onto the root and mimics the prepared tooth that will retain the final crown.
- Crown attachment – a porcelain prosthesis that mimics the natural crown or top part of the tooth.
Why would I need a dental implant?
Losing one or more teeth can cause all sorts of dental problems. Misalignment or excessive wear of the remaining teeth, chewing difficulties, problems with oral hygiene and even nutritional deficiencies can result from missing teeth. While dentures were once the only solution, today you also have the option of dental implants, which can look just like (or even better than) the original teeth.
Whatever the reason for missing teeth, dental implants are used to solve the problem. An implant can be used to replace a single tooth, or several implants can provide the base to attach several missing teeth. Even when it’s obvious that a tooth cannot be salvaged, some people try, when it would actually be better to remove the tooth and replace it with a dental implant.
Is it hard to replace a single tooth?
Replacing a single missing tooth is a relatively simple office-based procedure. The dentist numbs the area, makes an incision (cut) in the gum and taps or screws in the implant, which is basically a small metal post. After healing – which takes several months to ensure a strong bond between the implant and the jaw bone – you’ll return for at least one more visit to have a prosthetic tooth fastened to the post.
Can I have multiple teeth replaced?
Replacing multiple teeth or all of the teeth often requires the use of a general anesthetic in an outpatient surgery center. A procedure called an All-on-4 allows as few as four implants to support all of the prosthetic teeth in either the upper or lower jaw. Although technically more complex, an All-on-4 procedure is much more cost-effective and efficient, compared to the possibility or replacing 28 or more individual teeth with individual implants and the patient will go home with permanent stable dentures in one day.