Dental implants are changing the way people live! They are designed to provide a foundation for replacement teeth which look, feel, and function like natural teeth. The person who has lost teeth regains the ability to eat virtually anything and can smile with confidence, knowing that teeth appear natural and that facial contours will be preserved.
See animated image of an implant (pop-up)
What are Dental Implants?
The implants themselves are tiny titanium posts that are inserted into the jawbone where teeth are missing. These metal anchors act as tooth root substitutes. They are surgically placed into the jaw bone. The bone bonds with the titanium, creating a strong foundation for artificial teeth. Small posts are then attached to the implants that protrude through the gums. These posts provide stable anchors for artificial replacement teeth.
Implants also help preserve facial structure, preventing the bone deterioration that can occur when teeth are missing.
The Surgical Procedure
For most patients, the placement of dental implants involves two surgical procedures. First, implants are placed within your jawbone. For the first three to six months following surgery, the implants are beneath the surface of the gums gradually bonding with the jawbone. You should be able to wear temporary dentures and eat a soft diet during this time. At the same time, your dentist is forming new replacement teeth.
After the implant has bonded to the jawbone, the second phase begins. Dr. Whittaker will uncover the implants and attach small posts that will act as anchors for the artificial teeth. These posts protrude through the gums. When the artificial teeth are placed these posts will not be seen. The entire procedure usually takes six to eight months. Most patients experience minimal disruption in their daily life.