Understanding Dental Implants

Posted on Oct 17, 2016 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

Although dental implants are nothing new to the dental field, there is still a bit of confusion as to their makeup. This is likely because dental implants come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, each to accommodate specific needs.

For example, some implant systems are designed to support non-removable teeth while others may support teeth that are detachable for cleaning. Some implants support one or several teeth while others are designed for placement in minimum bone mass.

While dental implants have one of the highest of all implant-in-bone success rates (including that of knees and hip joints), having a successful outcome can greatly depend on having the proper implant selected for you. This can occur when you rely on an experienced dental specialist who is trained in the diagnosis and placement of all types.

To help clear up confusion about how implants work, it is important to understand the components. Below is an explanation of what dental implants are and how they work.

•  Dental Implants are actually replacements for tooth roots. The implanted portion is placed in your jaw bone where a tooth root was once held.

•  The ‘implant’ is not the tooth. It will help to hold the tooth (referred to as the ‘restoration’) but its primary function is to serve as the anchor for an attached tooth, or a replacement tooth root. By being placed in the jaw bone, just as a natural tooth root, the implant can support the attached tooth with a firm foundation for optimal stability.implant-components

•  The implant becomes anchored in the jaw bone through a process known as ‘osseo-integration.’ The word ‘osseo’ refers to bone, and the integration process is like a rope tied around a tree branch. In time, the branch grows around the rope. Osseo-integration is like this but occurs at a much more rapid pace.

•  Once the implant has become secured by the bone, a post is inserted into the hollow center of the implant. The replacement tooth (or teeth) is attached to this post. You new tooth looks, feels and functions like the natural tooth once positioned there.

• An implant is not always necessary for each missing tooth. In some instances, one implant can hold two or a bridge of teeth. Several strategically-placed implants can also support a full arch of teeth in many cases.

Regardless of the type of implant placed, it is important to remember that implants do occasionally fail. This can be due to clenching or grinding teeth. Smoking complicates and delays the healing process and can also contribute to implant failure. If infection sets in and reaches the implanted portion, the implant may need to be removed so the treatment can resolve the problem.

A major benefit of dental implants is their lifespan. Implants are designed to last your lifetime. Too, dental implants do not decay, will never need a root canal and do not rely on support from neighboring teeth. The best thing, however, is that dental implants restore your ability to eat with stability, chew comfortably, laugh with confidence and speak without worry.

There are many types of implants, each designed to accommodate specific needs. As a Periodontist, I bring extensive and specialized training in the diagnosis and placement of the implant that will work best for you.

Call 828-274-9440 to arrange a consultation. During this time, we’ll discuss the implant types that are best suited for your needs and goals as well as the process and anticipated costs.

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