What are dental implants?
Dental implants are a prosthetic replacement for a missing tooth or a tooth that needs extraction. An implant consists of three parts: the implant, the post, and a crown or artificial tooth. Dental implants are far and away the best solution for the replacement of a missing tooth. Implants are strong, function exactly like a natural tooth, and often last the remainder of the patient’s life. In addition to replacing a missing tooth, Dr. DeStefano uses dental implants as anchors for dentures and bridges.
dental implant Candidates
In order for an implant to anchor down into the jawbone, dental implants require the patient to have sufficient jawbone mass. If you’ve been missing a tooth or a few teeth for some time, you may have lost some of that jawbone mass and it may not be adequate to hold an implant. In these cases, some bone grafting will be necessary to rebuild the jawbone before placing the implant. However, as long as there isn’t an issue such as gum disease, pretty much anyone of any age is a good candidate for a dental implant.
Benefits of dental implants
Dr. DeStefano believes dental implants are the best option for replacing a missing tooth. There are a number of benefits to choosing to replace your missing tooth with a dental implant. For example:
- Dental implants function exactly like a natural tooth allowing patients to eat and chew normally
- Dental implants put pressure on your adjacent teeth that make them stay in place
- Implants are load-bearing teeth and transfer energy into the jawbone which keeps the jawbone healthy
- Implants are stand-alone procedures so adjacent teeth don’t need any adjusting
- There is a 90 to 95% success rate with implants and they can last for decades
I switched to Dr. DeStefano after having a bad experience somewhere else. He has a very honest and trustworthy practice. The staff there is great.
dental implants procedure
The implant process begins with a consultation with Dr. DeStefano, who performs a full oral exam including x-rays and a CT scan to determine your jawbone mass. Next, the titanium implant is placed into the socket of the natural tooth root. Since the implant is shaped like a screw it will be “screwed” into the jawbone. Dr. DeStefano may have to drill a small hole into the jawbone to prepare it. Then, the jawbone begins the process of growing around the implant, making it a part of the jaw. This process takes from three to six months.
When the jawbone has fully grown around the implant, a small metal post, called an abutment, is attached to the implant. After attachment, the gum tissue is left to heal for around six weeks. The final step is to place a custom-made porcelain crown onto the abutment. The crown is made to match the color and shape of the surrounding teeth so, once placed, it looks just like your other teeth. Your implant is immediately ready for chewing, biting, and eating.
Why replace a missing tooth?
It can be tempting to not replace a missing tooth, but this can create problems with your overall dental health:
- Movement — Your teeth remain in place thanks to the pressure exerted by the adjacent teeth. When a tooth is missing, the teeth on both sides of the gap tend to slide over to fill the gap. This creates problems with your bite alignment and the spacing of your teeth.
- Bite force — You don’t realize the amount of force generated by biting and chewing. The energy created is transferred downward through the tooth and into the jawbone beneath. This energy stimulates the jawbone to continually build new cells, a process of regeneration. When that energy no longer is delivered because of the missing tooth, the jawbone begins to deteriorate.
- Cosmetics — Missing a tooth or teeth can be embarrassing, particularly if the tooth is in the front. Plus, the gap can create whistling sounds when speaking. Missing molars may not be visible, but they can make you avoid eating certain foods, which can lead to nutritional deficiencies.
dental implant Results
Implants are the longest lasting dental prostheses and often last the remainder of the patient’s life. Since dental implants function exactly like natural teeth, they only need the same basic hygiene. A good home hygiene regiment, brushing and flossing twice a day, is key to long-term oral health.
Schedule a consultation
Dr. Thomas DeStefano is a dental implant specialist. If you’re missing a tooth and think that a dental implant is the solution for you contact our office at (585) 248-2383. We look forward to providing the personal care you deserve.