Dental Implants

What are dental implants?

Dental implants are titanium tooth root substitutes.   They replace the root portion of a natural tooth, the part of the tooth under the gum that anchors the tooth to the jawbone.   Titanium is the metal used by orthopedic surgeons for artificial joints. When you lose a tooth, you lose both the root and the visible portion used for chewing.   The dental implant replaces the root, and the visible portion is replaced by a dental crown that fits onto the implant.  

After an implant is surgically placed into the jawbone, but usually before a dental crown is attached, time is allowed for newly-formed bone to grow directly against the titanium surface of the implant. This process is called “osseointegration.”

Dental crowns can be either cemented, or screwed, onto an implant.   Which method is best depends upon the angle at which the implant is placed into the bone, how many teeth are being replaced, and other factors.   A major advantage of screw-retained dental crowns is that they can be removed by the dentist if ever necessary.  This is quite unlike a dental crown cemented to a natural tooth or implant.

As a prosthodontic practice, we are very familiar with these two methods, and have the experience to select the best method for a given situation.

A smiling elderly man

“Don’t be afraid to Smile.”

For years I’d felt like a part of my body was missing — because my teeth were. My dentist told me that dental implants would make me feel and look a lot better. OK, I said. Now, I’m thrilled. I can smile, eat anything, and enjoy a good laugh with my friends.

Surgical Variations

Implant surgery can take place in one or two steps, depending upon conditions in the mouth. Sometimes the surgeon leaves the implant under the gum when it is first placed, and then uncovers it in a second procedure.  At other times, the implant remains exposed after placement.  An implant can be placed into the jawbone at the same appointment that the tooth extraction is done.  Or, the tooth may be removed first, and the implant placed after new bone fills the tooth socket.   The best approach depends upon your oral condition.