Dental Implants: What Are They?

 In Dental Care

If you find yourself in need of a tooth or multiple tooth replacements, dental implants may be the answer. They can be an ideal alternative to dentures or bridgework.

What Is a Dental Implant?

A dental implant refers to a titanium surgical fixture positioned within the jawbone, which gradually integrates with the bone structure over time. This surgical procedure replaces the missing tooth roots with an implant, enabling the placement of an artificial tooth that mimics the appearance and functionality of a natural tooth.

Why Opt for Dental Implants?

Dental implants are favored for various reasons. They represent a conservative approach to tooth replacement with an impressive success rate of 98%. They closely resemble natural teeth in both appearance and feel, as they rely on the support of the jawbone without impacting adjacent teeth. Additionally, they offer exceptional stability as the implant becomes integrated into the bone structure.

What Does the Surgical Procedure Involve?

The implant surgery is typically conducted as an outpatient procedure and comprises several phases, each requiring healing time.

  1. Removal of Damaged Tooth: If a damaged tooth is present, it is extracted before implant placement, provided there is sufficient bone present.
  2. Bone Grafting: In cases where bone support is insufficient, bone grafting procedures may be necessary to establish a solid foundation for the implant. Healing from these procedures typically ranges from two to six months.
  3. Implant Placement: The implant is surgically positioned into the bone, followed by the placement of a healing cap and suturing of the gum tissue.
  4. Bone Integration and Healing: Healing time varies based on bone quality, typically ranging from two to six months, during which the implant integrates with the surrounding bone tissue.
  5. Abutment Placement: Once integration is complete, an abutment, a prosthetic component, is attached to the implant to support the replacement tooth.
  6. Artificial Tooth Placement: A custom-made replacement crown is fabricated to fit over the abutment, either cemented or secured with a screw.

Common side effects post-surgery may include swelling, bruising, pain, and minor bleeding, which can be managed with prescribed pain medication or antibiotics.

How to Maintain Your Implant

Maintaining good oral hygiene is crucial for implant longevity. Regular dental check-ups are recommended, especially if teeth grinding is a concern. Avoiding tobacco and staining substances like caffeine helps preserve the appearance of the implant.

At Wytheville Dental Group, we specialize in implant dentistry among our comprehensive services. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please contact us.