Replacing missing teeth used to mean only the visible portion of the tooth was restored, but that left the half of each tooth below the gums missing. Without a root system, replacement teeth have to rely on surrounding dental structures for support, placing strain on these structures that can lead to additional damage. Dental implants allow us to replace the lost root structure of teeth for a more natural looking and feeling restoration. If you’d like to find out more about your tooth replacement options at La Plata Dental, please don’t hesitate to contact us to schedule a dental implant consultation.
The first phase of the dental implant process is the surgical placement of the implant posts. The dentists at La Plata Dental have years of experience and education that allows them to provide this service at our office. The first step for a dental implant involves making a small incision in the soft tissue and preparing a space in the jaw for the dental implant post. Then, the titanium post is inserted into that space. Once in place, a protective cap is attached to the implant. This allows the gums to heal and the implant post to fuse with the surrounding bone, but keeps the gums shaped to fit around a tooth naturally.
Following the dental implant placement procedure, patients will need to wait three to four months to allow the implant post to fuse with the supportive alveolar bone and gum tissue. This process is known as osseointegration, and it is a big part of what makes dental implant tooth replacement unique compared with other solutions. When the osseointegration process is complete, patients return to our office to receive a custom crafted replacement tooth or teeth. For patients missing one or just a few consecutive teeth, we will likely recommend a dental crown or fixed bridges. A single crown can be crafted to attach to one dental implant post. In some cases, two consecutive teeth can be replaced by fusing two dental crowns together and anchoring them to the same implant. For three or more consecutive missing teeth, a row of replacement teeth will be fused together to create a bridge that is then attached to a two implant posts, one at both end.
Patients with more advanced tooth loss will likely want to consider an implant supported denture. Whether you’re being fitted for your very first dental prosthetic or you want to improve the stability of an existing denture, an implant-retained denture may be a good solution. Like traditional removable partial and full dentures, implant-retained prosthetics use a gum-colored material to create a base for numerous replacement teeth. If you still have healthy teeth, we’ll shape a partial to fit between these preserving your remaining tooth structure. If you are completely edentulous (without teeth), the base is shaped to fit securely against the gum line. For most patients, a partial or full denture can be retained or supported with about two to six strategically positioned dental implant posts. Once in place, your implant-retained dental prosthetic is secured to your jaw, significantly increasing the stability of dentures and restoring as much as 70% of chewing function. This is compared to traditional dentures that only allow for about 25% to 30% restoration.