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If you have lost a tooth or if it has been damaged beyond the point of repair, dental implants are a permanent solution. As the most resilient and stable tooth replacement available, they can have a life-changing impact on those who have suffered tooth loss, restoring both their smile and their bite completely.
Read here about the benefits, different types, and procedure of dental implants. We pride ourselves on performing some of the best dental implants in Westchester.
Dental implants can be used to replace a single tooth or even a whole jaw, or arch, of teeth. What’s more, they’re a permanent solution. First, your dentist will insert a titanium post that acts as the root of the tooth, anchoring in the bone of the jaw. This post forms the stable foundation, onto which a connector, called an abutment, is placed on top.
On top of this abutment, we fit a specially created, life-like artificial tooth, known as a dental crown. These crowns are made out of ceramic material, their color carefully managed to help them match the surrounding teeth as best as possible.
The process of fitting a dental implant most often takes place across two separate surgeries. Patients are sedated during the first, when a small hole is drilled into the jawbone and the post and abutment are inserted, before a gum is placed over the implant, allowing it to heal. Many patients are surprised to find that the first surgery is not as uncomfortable or painful as they might expect, due to the sedation. However, some post-surgery symptoms common to dental procedures, such as bruising, some pain, and minor bleeding, are expected.
Between surgeries, osseointegration takes place. This is the process when the jawbone naturally grows and fuses into the implant, helping it firmly rest in place. This process can take a few months, during some of which you may be encouraged to eat soft foods to allow the healing to take place more effectively. You may also be given a temporary replacement to wear.
Some time after, when the implant has healed and the implant is fused in place, the crown is fitted on top of the abutment. The crown is fitted using a small screw and fixed in place with a special dental cement that hardens every quickly once inserted. As well as individual crowns, implant-supported bridges and dentures can be attached to replace multiple teeth at once.
Following the implant, you will be encouraged to return for periodic checkups and cleanings. Implants don’t decay, but they require some care to ensure they’re remaining firmly in place and aren’t being discolored or affected by plaque that can build up around the gumline.
As the most reliable intervention for tooth loss, dental implants are necessary whenever you have missing teeth and you have enough healthy jawbone to serve as the base of the new tooth. Other tooth replacement treatments have the aesthetic benefit of restoring your smile, but dental implants also play an important role in how the mouth functions. They can help restore a healthy bite, keeping each tooth in place, and protect the jaw.
Missing teeth can leave the jawbone vulnerable to deterioration, while dental implants support a healthier jawbone. This happens because the pressure and stimulus of chewing, provided by your teeth and by dental implants when they’re used, is what keeps jawbones healthy.
Dental implants also have a few significant advantages over other kinds of teeth replacement. The types of dental bridges and dentures that fit over the gum need to be replaced every 5 to 10 years, which can make them costlier in the long-run than a permanently fixed dental implant. Dental implants can also be maintained simply by cleaning and flossing, like with your natural teeth.
There are two different kinds of dental implants, single unit dental implants and multiple unit dental implants. Single implants are those which replace individual teeth, using a post, a connector, and a crown for each missing tooth (or a single missing tooth if you only need one) and they have some specific advantages over multiple implants.
Both are mechanically and aesthetically most similar to their natural counterparts. They look, feel, chew, and are structured more like your natural teeth, behaving identically to them. This is in part thanks to the fact that each implant has a dental-grade titanium post, performing the same role as a natural tooth’s roots.
Each post undergoes osseointegration, meaning they’re each fused with the jawbone individually, offering the greatest structural integrity. What’s more, individual implants are easier to maintain through brushing and flossing, just like your natural teeth. This also enables the dental implants the minimal amount of flex and movement than natural teeth have, creating an even more authentic mouthful.
The disadvantage relative to multiple implants is their cost, often ranging between $1000 to $3000 or more. However, with proper osseointegration and fitting, single implants can last an entire lifetime, making them more cost-effective in the long term than multiple implants.
Multiple implants, also known as multi-unit implants, function a little differently. When they are fitted, a titanium post and abutment is still used, but it is used as the support for a bridge prosthetic or dentures onto which several teeth are fitted. One post may be enough to support the whole implant, though sometimes they require multiple, though not as much as you would need to replace every tooth with a single implant.
These implants can look just as natural as single implants, and there are a few benefits to choosing multiple implants. The first benefit is that the initial relative cost is lower since every tooth doesn’t have to be painstakingly created and implanted separately. Furthermore, recovery time is reduced and the process may be more seamless than fitting several single implants at once.
Dentures and bridges fit with dental implants also have significant advantages over other types of dentures and bridges. For example, they don’t have to be removed to be cleaned, they can simply be brushed like the rest of your teeth. Not all types of multiple implants can be flossed, but some can. Furthermore, they won’t slip or fall out like traditional dentures. There is some risk of crowns loosening over time, but they can simply be fixed back onto the implant by the dentist cleaning the abutment and using the special dental cement to fix them in place, once more.
Multiple implants are fused to the bone through the same osseointegration that supports single implants. However, because not all teeth are connected by posts, the jawbone can weaken somewhat in the areas where posts aren’t acting as roots.
If you want to learn more about whether you’re a good candidate for dental implants and start making plans to replace your lost teeth, we are here to help. We provide some of the best dental implants in Westchester and are happy to help you choose the solution that fits best for you.
So long as you have sufficient jawbone support, healthy gums, and are willing to floss and brush your implants to maintain them, dental implants could be a perfect fit for you. If they’re not, we can help with bone augmentation and gum disease treatment to get you ready for them. Simply get in touch and we can begin the right course of treatment as soon as you can schedule an appointment with us.