Table of Content:
- What is a dental implant?
- Why are dental implants so popular?
- What are dental implants made from?
- How long does implant therapy typically take?
- Can you place a dental implant at the same time as removing an infected tooth?
- Can you place a crown on top of dental implant right away?
- How do I maintain and clean my dental implant?
- Dental implants in Orange County.
A dental implant is a metal fixture which is inserted into your jaw bone to replicate a missing tooth. Placing a dental implant allows you to replace an entire missing tooth with a permanent dental prosthesis. Each dental implant consists of three major parts, which are the implant fixture, abutment and crown. Here is a bit more about each implant part:
Implant fixture or post
The implant fixture, or post, is the screw which sits inside your jaw bone. When referring to implants, this is the part that most people think about. Implant fixtures are typically made from grade 4 Titanium alloy, although zirconia and machined metal implants are also an option.
The implant crown is the portion that replaces your missing tooth structure. This part is no different than any other crown you’ve had. There are two types of implant crowns, known as cement retained crowns and screw retained crowns. Each one has it’s own implications in implant dentistry.
The abutment is the intermediate which connects your fixture to your crown. Abutments are typically made from metal, although gold and zirconia metals are used to replaced aesthetic front teeth occasionally. There are also temporary abutments used to support your crown during the healing process. Temporary abutments are used during the healing process until the permanent abutment and crown goes in place.
In addition to implants which replace your whole tooth, there are dental implants that are used to support dentures. These dental implants have two parts, an implant fixture and a locator. The implant fixture is the same as above, while the locator is designed to lock your dentures in place.
Dental implants are the best way to replace your missing teeth. They are a much better option as compared to alternatives such as a bridge or denture. Here are some reasons dental implants are so popular and a wise investment in your oral health:
Dental implants do no harm
Placing dental implants does not harm your other teeth. On the contrary, placing a bridge requires that you shave down two adjacent teeth which can lead to problems in the near future. Most dental bridges fail within the first 5 years and now you need a few more implants! Similarly, wearing dentures will damage your remaining teeth, especially the anchor teeth. Dentures case your teeth to become loose and accelerate cavity formation.
Dental implants are superior in quality and longevity to both bridges and dentures. Well placed dental implants easily last a life-time. On the other hand, bridges and dentures typically require re-make within a few years.
Dental implants offer you the same chewing efficiency as natural teeth do. On the other hand, dentures offer you about 25 to 40% chewing efficiency as compared to natural teeth. While dental bridges offer you decent chewing efficiency, every time you chew on a bridge, you’re compromising the supporting teeth.
Dental implants help preserve your jawbone over the years. Once you lost a tooth, your jaw bone starts to shrink at an accelerated rate. Placing a dental implant fixture will act similarly to a tooth root and induces bone remodeling. Bridges and dentures do not do help with bone preservation whatsoever. This causes your jaw bone to shrink and also causes to the collapse of your facial muscles, causing to look older than you are.
With advancements in modern dentistry, almost anyone is a candidate for dental implants. Placing and restoring dental implants has become much easier and more affordable than ever. If you’re in need of dental implants, be sure to talk to us first before convincing yourself that you’re not a candidate or can’t afford implants. Chances are, there is an affordable solution involving dental implants to replace your missing teeth.
There are three parts to each dental implant, an implant fixture, abutment and crown. These implant parts are typically made from various metals, porcelain and ceramics, as follows:
Implant fixture material
Implant fixtures are typically made from medical-grade titanium alloy. Titanium is an excellent choice of material for dental implants as it is durable, light-weight and non-allergic causing. Titanium is the metal of choice for use inside of our body due to its strength, light-weight and biocompatibility. In fact, similar titanium alloys are used to design hip and knee joint implants. Alternatives to Titanium include ceramic implants (zirconia) and machined-metal implants. Ceramic implant fixtures are a good substitute for those opposed to having traditional metals in their mouth due to safety concerns.
Implant crown material
Implant crowns are made from similar material as any other crown in your mouth. This means that implant crowns can be made from porcelain fused to metal or ceramics (zirconia). Both types of crowns offer great aesthetics and durability. However, ceramic crowns are stronger than porcelain and are recommended in cases where there is a heavy bite force or high aesthetic demands.
The abutment is the implant part which connects your implant crown to the implant fixture. Abutment material is similar to crown material, and abutments come in metal alloys as well as ceramic. Ceramic abutments look more natural and are recommended for aesthetic cases replacing the front teeth. However, the abutment is not as visible as the crown itself and metal abutments are typically as good looking as metal ones in the end.
Dental implants therapy times can vary widely depending on the complexity of your case. Treatment times can be as little as 3 to 4 months for simpler cases to well over a year for more complex ones. The reason implant therapy takes longer than other dental treatments is due to the time required for implants to integrate with your jaw bone. Your dental implants need to integrate with your jaw bone for long term stability. This process is known as osseointegration which refers to bone growing into the tiny crevices located on implant fixture. Typically, osseointegration takes takes 3 to 6 months, which explains why most implant procedures take this long. Implant healing times depend on many different factors, such as:
- Bone quality and quantity
- Medical background and existing medication
- Area of jaw bone treated
- History of smoking
Note that age is not a major indicator of implant healing times. While older people generally heal slower, aging makes your jaw bone stiffer which helps lock in implants better. So whether you’re in your 70s, 80s or even 90s, dental implants might be a suitable treatment option for you. Talk to your dentist to see if you’re a good candidate for dental implant therapy.
Absolutely! This process is known as immediate implant placement. During immediate placement, your dentist will extract your bad tooth, clean out the infection and place the implant fixture at the same time. This is all performed during the same appointment, saving you time and additional surgeries. Immediate placement cuts down 3 to 4 months on your treatment time. Plus, it eliminates the need for an additional surgery.
Yes, occasionally you can place a crown on top of the implant right away. This process is known as immediate implant load. Your dentist inserts the implant fixture, adds the abutment and a temporary or permanent crown on the same visit. This is a great option for front teeth where you don’t want to have a missing tooth for too long. However, not every case qualifies for immediate implant load. For instance, if you have multiple missing teeth, a heavy bite or severe grinding habit then immediate implant load is considered too risky.
Caring for your dental implants is the same as caring for your natural teeth. Simply brush and floss your implants as you would any other tooth and keep your regular dental cleanings. The good news is that dental implants don’t develop cavities like natural teeth do because they are metal-based. Of course, you still need to clean your implants because you can lose bone around them if you fail to upkeep proper hygiene.
If you’re looking for quality, affordable dental implants in Orange County, be sure to give us a call first. We are conveniently located in beautiful downtown San Clemente, CA. You can schedule your complimentary dental implant consultation by calling (949) 481-2540 or book online today. Our dentist, Dr. Jazayeri, will examine your X-rays and CT scan to see if you’re a good candidate for implant therapy. We will review different treatment options to help you reach your goals. Additionally, we will discuss all treatment costs and review your timeline. This way you know exactly what to expect during the course of your treatment. So don’t wait any longer, give us a call today to see how implants can change the way you eat, talk and look. To learn more about related topics, click on the following links: