Dental implants are a common method to replace teeth lost to an accident, gum disease or tooth decay. There are many advantages to dental implants that many patients prefer as compared to dentures or a bridge. To place an implant, the gum where the missing tooth was located is cut open to expose the jawbone and a small hole is drilled into the bone for the metal cylinder that serves as the implant. The area is left to heal (typically for three to six months) and for the implant to fuse with the jawbone (called osseointegration).
Patients may undergo a second procedure in which a post, called an abutment, is attached to the implant. This can be done either when the implant is installed or after the healing period. Finally, the dentist will attach a tooth that has been meticulously constructed to blend with the other teeth that looks and feels natural.
The advantage to implants is that the implant acts as a substitute for the roots of a natural tooth. If you are only missing one tooth, this allows you to leave the other teeth around it alone. With a bridge, the surrounding teeth are cut down on each side of the empty space so that a false tooth can be held in place by two crowns. We like to employ minimally invasive treatments as much as possible and conserve healthy tooth structure when available. In addition other treatments like complete dentures are susceptible to the accumulation of bacteria and must be taken out and cleaned periodically. A dental implant requires the same care as your natural teeth and is the only treatment for missing teeth that allows you to eat and drink anything that you’d like.
The success rates of dental implants are very high and almost any adult in reasonably good health is a candidate for dental implants. Contact the Cosmetic & Wellness Center of New Jersey for more information on this procedure and to schedule a consultation with Dr. Anthony Vocaturo or Dr. Donald Lapine.