Dental implants are an artificial replacement for natural teeth/roots that are a surgical alternative to partial and full dentures or bridges. The implant, working like a tooth, offers more comfort and stability than dentures.
Dental implants are manufactured "anchors" that resemble cylinders or screws. Used in upper and lower jaws, they are surgically inserted into the jawbone to become a stable base for artificial replacement teeth.
Dr. Turner performs traditional dental implant surgery in our dental office, in a three-step process:
Dr. Turner surgically places an implant directly into the jawbone, like a natural tooth root. Following this initial surgery, the implant will usually remain covered for one to four months, to allow the bone to develop around the implant to help hold it in place.
Once this waiting period is over, Dr. Turner uncovers the implant and attaches an extension, called a healing cap, to the implant. Several more weeks are needed for the gum tissue to heal around the healing cap. There is a possibility that the procedure can be completed in one step, depending on the individual circumstances of each patient.
In the third and final step, once healing is completed, the implant can serve as a foundation for the new tooth. Dr. Turner then makes a crown (or other artificial tooth replacement) and attaches it to the implant post.
The entire dental implant process could take several months to complete, depending on the patient.
The best candidates for implants are patients who are in good general health and have healthy gums and bone structure. Success of the implant depends on regular dentist visits along with a personal commitment to good oral hygiene. Implants may be less successful for people who smoke, those who grind or clench teeth and patients with systemic diseases such as diabetes.
Most dental insurance plans consider dental implants as cosmetic, and don’t cover costs like they do for dentures and bridges. But before you write them off, remember that dental implants are a permanent solution for missing teeth, and if you take proper care, you will never have to replace them.
Talk with Dr. Turner to see if dental implants are right for you.