Philadelphia, Main Line, and Ardmore, Pennsylvania Cosmetic Dentistry
Cosmetic Dentistry Expertise
Dental Implants Overview
Are you unhappy with your smile because you’re missing one or more teeth? If you live in or around Philadelphia and you’re looking for a way to restore your smile, dental implants are the only permanent cosmetic dentistry option for replacing missing teeth.
What are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are designed to work like your natural teeth. Whether they are supporting a single tooth crown or another type of restoration, dental implants provide a stable, secure foundation. By serving as tooth roots, dental implants make it possible to replace the entire missing tooth.
Benefits of Dental Implant Treatments
Dental implants replace your entire tooth, from the missing root to the upper visible portion. This restoration is composed of three major parts:
- The dental implant, which acts as a tooth root beneath the gums.
- An abutment, which acts as a small metal extension to rise above the gums.
- A tooth crown, which attaches to the abutment to replace a missing tooth.
There are several variations of a traditional dental implant procedure. Depending on how many teeth you are missing and where they are located in relation to one another, dental implants may be attached to dentures or dental bridges instead of a dental crown.
When used with a tooth crown, a dental implant replaces a single tooth. If you are missing multiple teeth, it may make sense to use a dental-implant-supported bridge or implant-supported denture.
How Do Dental Implants Work?
Dental implants restore appearance and function to the mouth through a combination of three components:
- A titanium alloy post placed beneath the gums to simulate the tooth root; this is the actual implant
- An abutment on the top of the implant above the gum line
- A porcelain crown, dental bridge, or dentures that connect to the abutment and replace your missing tooth
After being positioned in the space where your tooth root used to be, the dental implant will fuse with the jaw bone over time. Once the implant is fully integrated, Dr. Marshall will customize the crown or other restoration so that it fits your bite comfortably and closely matches the shape and color of the surrounding natural teeth.
Advantages of Dental Implants
Dental implants provide a permanent, stable foundation for restoring both the aesthetic and function of your mouth after losing one or more teeth. In addition to a revitalized smile, dental implants can also improve the health of your teeth, gums, and jaw.
Some of the benefits of dental implants include:
- Durability; dental implants can last a lifetime with proper dental hygiene
- No shifting or loosening with age, meaning you can speak, eat, and smile with confidence
- Preventing the bone loss and gum recession that can follow the loss of a tooth
Dental Implant Candidate
Dental implants are a highly successful type of dental restoration, with success rates of about 98%, according to many studies. However, this high success rate depends partly on an implant dentist selecting the best candidates for the procedure. Before beginning the dental implant procedure, Dr. Marshall will review your medical history and thoroughly examine your mouth to determine whether or not this restoration is a suitable tooth replacement option for you.
The ideal candidates for dental implants are patients who:
- Has one or more missing teeth
- Have a healthy mouth, as well as good overall health
- Have sufficient bone density, width, and height to hold the implant securely
- Has a good bite
- Are free from gum disease
- Is not taking medications that may impact bone healing
- Don’t smoke, or are willing to quit prior to the placement of dental implants
Dr. Marshall has found that most people are healthy enough and have the necessary bone density to make dental implants a viable option for replacing one or more missing teeth. Even if you do not meet all these characteristics, you may still be a good candidate for dental implants, but you may need additional procedures before getting dental implants.
If you do not have enough bone to support an implant, you may need a bone graft to increase bone in that area. Gum disease will have to be treated before your dental implants are placed.
If you are a smoker, you will have to quit smoking at least for a short period before receiving dental implants. It’s best if you quit completely, however, because studies have shown that smoking can significantly impact the odds of success with dental implants. One study showed that the dental implant failure rate was as high as 30% in heavy smokers.
What Can Happen If I Don’t Replace My Missing Teeth?
If you are missing teeth, it affects your entire mouth, so it’s better to get them sooner rather than later. Missing teeth can cause your other teeth to shift, leading to bite issues that can damage implants. Your body also begins removing bone from the area where it is no longer needed to support a tooth, and having a missing tooth are at increased risk for periodontal disease.
What is the Procedure for Dental Implants?
Dental implants work by being surgically placed in the ridge beneath your gums. The implant is inserted in the space of the missing tooth, or multiple implants may be placed in strategic locations to support dentures or a dental bridge.
While you are anesthetized, the dental implants are placed beneath your gums. Over the next several months, the implant and the bone in which it was placed fuse together, forming a durable and stable foundation for the replacement tooth.
Dental implants provide a secure base for your tooth restorations. Because they are surgically implanted in bone, your replacement teeth will not move around. They provide optimal function, remaining secure and acting like a natural tooth.
The way dental implants work – by replacing the entire tooth – make them a highly effective, durable tooth replacement option. However, they may or may not be right for you. Because they require surgery, Dr. Lindsey Marshall will review your medical history and your oral health to make sure you are a good candidate. We are committed to finding the right option for you.
Health and Function
Dental implants not only replace missing teeth but also fill the space in the jawbone formerly occupied by the tooth roots. As the site of the implant heals, the prosthetic is absorbed into the jaw, anchoring the replacement tooth (usually a dental crown) to fit the rest of your teeth.
Because the procedure replaces both the tooth and the root, dental implants can improve the health and function of multiple systems within the mouth, including:
- Everyday activities: Chewing, speaking, smiling, laughing, etc.
- Oral health: Proper dental hygiene and regular teeth cleanings can prevent further tooth loss, keep your natural teeth healthy and retain the function and durability of your dental implant
- Gum health: Missing teeth cause your mouth to change over time, with gum tissue receding around the gap; using a dental implant combats receding gums
- Bone health: Dental implants prevent the bone loss associated with missing teeth, maintaining the strength and function of your jawbone
- Better bite: Filling in the gap left by a missing tooth can help align the upper and lower teeth, making everyday activities
Improve Appearance With Dental Implants
Implant dentistry can also enhance your smile, restoring the self-confidence imparted by a full, healthy smile. Beauty benefits of dental implants include:
- Natural look: Dental implants combat the sagging of facial features caused by tooth loss, allowing your face to retain its shape and proportion
- Secure placement: Tooth replacement options like full or partial dentures can move around within the mouth, making you feel self-conscious when speaking, smiling, etc.; dental implants stay in place, saving you the embarrassment of shifting or loose false teeth
- Comfort: Because dental implants replicate the feel as well as the look of natural teeth, you can be confident in your outward appearance while enjoying the sensation of a revitalized mouth