Dental implants have quickly become the procedure of choice for patients who need tooth replacement. Whether it’s one tooth or multiple teeth, they offer a way to get replacement teeth that look and feel just like your natural teeth, removing restrictions on the foods you can eat and eliminating the need for regular denture care, cleaning, and messy adhesives. Since they are anchored to the jawbone, they also help reduce bone loss and preserve your natural facial contours so you can smile with confidence.
Dental Implant Basics
A dental implant is a small titanium post that is surgically affixed to the jawbone where you are missing a tooth. Like the roots of your original teeth, this post helps to connect the implant to your jaw, anchoring it in place to provide stability from the top of the artificial tooth through the gums. This anchor also helps reduce bone loss, which is a common problem for patients who have missing teeth.
Prostheses available include:
- Single prosthesis (crown) for a single missing tooth, attached to its own implant
- Partial prosthesis (fixed bridge) to replace two or more teeth and requires only two or three implants
- Complete prosthesis (fixed bridge) to replace all the teeth in your upper or lower jaw and may require several implants
Dental Implant Procedure
Traditional dental implants are done in phases with two separate surgical procedures. During the first procedure the oral surgeon will place the titanium implant in your jawbone. That will take about three to six months to heal, with the implant below the gum line as it gradually fuses with the bone. Most patients can wear temporary dentures and still eat a soft diet during this time.
After the healing is complete you will return to the oral and maxillofacial surgeon. The oral surgeon will attach a small post to the implant and confirm that the implant and bone are integrated. Then the dentist will fabricate the preplanned crown or denture. While the entire procedure usually takes about six to eight months, most patients experience only minimal disruption to their daily lives.
Advances in dental implant technology have led to single-stage implants, which require only a single surgical procedure and a minimum of six weeks of recovery time prior to placing the artificial teeth. Drs. Bryan and Steven Christensen are skilled at both single-stage and dual-stage implants, and may even be able to extract teeth at the same time as they perform the implant procedure so you can have fewer surgeries, and reduce overall treatment time.
Not every patient is a good candidate for dental implants, but if you think they might be an option for you,call the Utah Oral Surgery & Dental Implant Center today at 801-269-1110 to discuss the procedure and schedule a free consultation.