Are Dental Implants Permanent?
Dental implants are not permanent, but they are the most permanent form of prosthetic dental replacement available for patients who suffer from severe tooth decay, infection, have lost a tooth or teeth in an accident, face extraction of permanent teeth, or who are tired of the pain, irritation and discomfort associated with dentures.
When compared with dentures or partial dentures, which must be replaced every five to eight years or so, dental implants are a much healthier and long-term solution to tooth loss. They are stronger, do not shift or move in the mouth, and dental implants also allow you to speak, eat and smile naturally.
Dental Implants Mimic Your Natural Teeth
Unlike dentures or bridges (partial dentures) that sit on top of your gums, dental implants are actually inserted into your jawbone where they become integrated with the bone matrix itself (a process called osseiointegration). When osseiointegration is complete, the bone and titanium implant post are fused together – very similar to the way your original, adult teeth are anchored into the gums and jaws via their roots.
This is what makes dental implants so much better than dentures. The integration of the implant’s post into the gum and jawbone helps support these tissue structures so they are stronger and keep their original anatomical shape.
In the case of dentures, which sit on top of the gums, the holes where teeth roots once lived do not fill in all the way. Permanent tooth loss and/or removal causes the jawbone to deteriorate over time, and this has a dramatic effect on the shape of your face as you age, as well as your ability to speak and eat. The gums also lose their shape, which means more routine visits to the dentist in order to have denture refitted and reshaped.
Many people find that replacing their dentures with dental implants transforms the way they feel and smile, restoring a confidence they haven’t felt in years. Do keep in mind that dental implants are best when fixed into the jaw sooner – rather than later – after a tooth is removed in order to give the implant’s post the strongest bone foundation possible. Bone grafting is also an option if bone deterioration has already begun, but this will require a few extra visits with the oral surgeon before the dental implants are completely finished and healed.
How Are Dental Implants Installed?
Dental implants are placed by an oral surgeon; this process requires a gentle surgical procedure. Patients have a full consultation and examination by the oral surgeon before determining whether or not they’re a candidate for dental implants, and to determine which types of implants and procedure are best for you. Your health, rather than your age, is the most important consideration.
Depending on the health of jawbone, the dental implant procedure can take place in just a single, gentle surgical procedure, or it may require two or more separate visits, depending on your body’s ability to heal after the procedure. Your well-being is always our top priority.
There are several different options when it comes to dental implants:
- Single tooth implants, where each implant post has a single, prosthetic tooth attached on top.
- A fixed, full or partial denture implant, where posts are fixed at certain locations along the jaw and then a bridge of prosthetics is cemented to the posts.
- Removable dental implants, where the anchor posts are implanted into the jaw but the prosthetic bridge is designed to snap off and on for easier cleaning and repair.
Your oral surgeon will be able to discuss which of these options makes the most sense for you based on the number of teeth that need to be replaced, the location of the replacements, your health and your budget.
Once the tooth is extracted (if necessary), we can implant the titanium post in the same visit, after which it will be capped with a temporary crown. Over the next 12-weeks, you’ll take it easy, relying on soft, nutritious foods as your newly embedded post has time to heal and integrate with the jawbone. Patients are able to go back to work within one to two days after the initial implant procedure.
After the 12-week healing process, we’ll use an innovative, digital white light camera to take a picture of your mouth (no need for that gunky, yucky mold stuff) in order to create permanent implant crowns that are artistically designed, shaped and colored to match your existing teeth. If you’re replacing all your teeth, we’ll design crowns that look attractive and are proportioned to your mouth, jaw and face shape so your smile is both natural and radiant.
Once the temporary crowns are removed and the “new teeth” are cemented or snapped in place, your diligent care of the teeth, oral hygiene habits, and bi-annual dental visits will insure the dental implants last for 25-years or more.
While dental implants are more expensive than dentures, you have the option of financing them through the oral surgeon’s office, using Care Credit or via other, similar financing options. Los Gatos Oral & Facial Surgery works closely with medical and health insurance providers in order to make the dental implant option as simple and affordable as possible.
Are You Interested in Getting Dental Implants?
Why deal with the discomforts and hassles of dentures when you don’t have to?
Contact Los Gatos Oral & Facial Surgery to learn more about dental implants during a consultation. We look forward to giving you a completely natural look and feel with your new teeth. We look forward to giving you a smile you can be proud of – and a mouth that is strong and fit enough to eat all of your favorite foods. Give us a call to schedule your consultation or contact us directly online. 408-412-8400.
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