What Are Dental Implants?

What Are Dental Implants?

Team Dental Implants

Dental implants are surgically implanted devices that replace the crown and root of a natural tooth. Dental professionals consider them the premier replacements for missing or damaged teeth.

Types of Dental Implants

  • Single-tooth: These implants replace one tooth at a time. They consist of a titanium screw replacing the natural root, a stainless steel abutment, and a dental crown.
  • Implant-Supported Bridge: An implant-supported bridge can replace up to three to four teeth. Standard bridges connect to crowns on healthy teeth, while implant-supported bridges have more stable anchor points.
  • Implant-Supported Dentures: You can receive complete dentures with just a handful of implants needed per arch. Implant-supported dentures are far more stable than traditional dentures and preserve jawbone mass.

The Dental Implant Process

It generally takes several months to complete the entire dental implant process.

Step 1: Extraction

The first step is extracting the problem teeth. The oral surgeon usually waits for the extraction sites to heal before moving forward.

Step 2: Bone Grafting (If Necessary)

During your extraction appointment, you can undergo a dental bone graft procedure if you have lost jaw bone mass due to missing or damaged teeth. Grafting helps boost the jaw bone's volume by providing a scaffold for healthy growth. It generally takes several months for the bone graft to heal to the point where the oral surgeon can place the implants.

Step 3: Implant Surgery

The oral surgeon places the post by making a small opening in the jaw bone and screwing in the implant. The oral surgeon closes the gums over the surgery site, allowing it to heal.

Step 4: Abutment Placement

At the next appointment, the oral surgeon places the abutment that will eventually hold the crown, denture, or implant.

Step 5: Final Restoration

During the final appointment, the oral surgeon places the permanent restoration. After this appointment, your teeth will need to heal. You will have a bright, complete, fully functional smile.

Advantages of Dental Implants

  • Promotes healthy chewing ability
  • Helps with clear speech
  • Few, if any, dietary restrictions
  • Natural appearance
  • Prevent existing teeth from shifting positions, lowering your chance of developing tooth decay and gum disease

Who Is A Good Candidate for Dental Implants?

Patients who are good candidates for implants share these characteristics:

  • Missing or damaged teeth that need replacement
  • Sufficient jawbone mass or ability to receive a bone graft
  • Non-smoker or able to quit
  • Healthy enough for surgery
  • Absence of chronic diseases like diabetes and cancer that can interfere with healing

Call Upper West Side Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery

If you have always wanted to replace your missing teeth but don't know where to start, please call Upper West Side Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery at 212-466-6984. We can schedule a consultation appointment with our expert oral surgeon to explain your options and answer any questions you may have.