February 3, 2010

Dental Implants

Dental implants are used to fasten false teeth or dental bridges to the jaw. They work like a real tooth’s roots. Those who work with implants are called prosthodontists.

Implants are made from ceramic and metallic substances that are very similar to bone. This makes them look and feel very much like real teeth. These materials are also well suited to contact with body tissue, which makes them ideal for use in implants.

Implants cost more than dentures. Yet, the fact that they look and feel more real leads many people to choose them to replace missing or decayed teeth. Many also prefer implants because they do not have to be removed to clean them.

The Prosthodontic Procedure

If you get implants, the work will be done in three phases. In the first phase, the prosthodontist fastens the implant to the jaw and then covers it with the gum. In the three to six months that follow, the implant undergoes “osseointegration.” That means it merges with the bone.

You will need to make some changes in what you eat in the first few days after this phase of work is done. For instance, you will want to choose soft foods. This will help keep the implant from being damaged when you chew. Pain meds can help after this work is done.

In the second phase, the specialist will uncover the implant and secure a post to it. This creates a base for the false tooth or crown. (Some implants consist of a root and post, so that both are done in the first phase).

The final phase consists of joining the false tooth or crown to the post. Then the work is done.

Determining if Dental Implants are the Right Option

People with healthy gums and enough bone for implants to be attached are prime candidates for prosthodontic work. Anyone meeting these criteria who is seeking to replace a missing or decayed tooth should consult with a dentist regarding the possibility of dental implants.