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A dental implant is a titanium post that is surgically positioned into the jawbone under the gum line, which allows us to mount replacement teeth or a bridge there. Unlike dentures, implants do not come loose and they also don’t have to be anchored to other teeth like bridges do.
If you are considering getting dental implants, you must have healthy gums and adequate bone to support the implant. If your bone is too thin or soft, you may require a bone graft. If there isn’t enough bone height in the upper jaw or the sinuses are too close to the jaw, you may need a sinus lift.
Below are before and after photos of an actual patient who received an implant supported bridge.
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How do Dental Implants Work?
Since implants fuse to your jawbone, they provide stable support for artificial teeth. Dentures and bridges mounted to implants will not shift in your mouth, which is an important benefit when eating and speaking. This secure fit helps the dentures and bridges feel more natural.
For some, ordinary bridges and dentures are uncomfortable or not possible due to sore spots, poor ridges or gagging. Aside from that, ordinary bridges must be attached to teeth on either side of the space left by the missing tooth. The plus about this is that no adjacent teeth need to be prepared to hold your new replacement tooth/teeth in place.
Besides having healthy gums and strong bone support, to receive implants, you must keep these structures healthy. Thorough oral hygiene and regular dental visits are necessary for the longevity of dental implants.
The American Dental Association considers two types of implants to be safe. They are as follows:
Endosteal implants — these are surgically implanted directly into the jawbone. Once the surrounding gum tissue has healed, a second surgery is needed to connect a post to the original implant. Finally, an artificial tooth (or teeth) is attached to the post-individually, or grouped on a bridge or denture.
Subperiosteal implants — these consist of a metal frame that is fitted onto the jawbone just below the gum tissue. As the gums heal, the frame becomes fixed to the jawbone. Posts, which are attached to the frame, protrude through the gums. As with endosteal implants, artificial teeth are then mounted to the posts.
Here are a few steps you can take to help ensure your implant lasts:
- Practice good oral hygiene– Brush twice a day and floss once daily. Using interdental brushes, brushes that slide between teeth, can help clean the hard to reach areas around your implant.
- Quit smoking– Smoking can weaken the bone structure and can contribute to implant failure.
- Visit your dentist– Cleanings and exams every six months can help ensure your implant is in good condition, and that it stays that way.
- Avoid chewing on hard foods– Don’t chew on hard items such as ice and hard candy because they can break the crown and your natural teeth.
Implants are usually more expensive than other methods of tooth replacement, and most insurance carriers typically cover less than 10 percent of the fees, which is important to keep in mind. Call McRae Dental in Athens, GA to schedule an appointment to find out more.