Losing a tooth due to trauma or tooth decay leads to both functional and cosmetic concerns.
You have two options when it comes to dealing with this missing tooth: a permanent, fixed bridge or a dental implant.
While both of these treatment options restore functionality and aesthetics, they are not the same, and most patients find the ease, strength, and reliability of dental implants to be far superior.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are titanium posts that become artificial tooth roots. These implants are fixed to a crown and replace both the natural tooth and its root. Implants are beneficial for patients who have lost one or more teeth to decay, disease, infection, or injury.
If you think dental implants are for you, contact Dr. Salamati by calling (310) 275-1090.
Why Should I Choose Dental Implants?
Dental implants function just like your natural teeth would, and with proper care, they can last a lifetime.
Dental implants are aesthetically pleasing and strong, and they protect the jawbone from deterioration. They allow you to eat without fear of damaging a bridge or partial denture. This option also replaces your tooth without sacrificing the health of your surrounding teeth.
Is a Dental Implant Better Than a Bridge?
A bridge is a tooth-replacement option that attaches an artificial tooth to the adjacent teeth.
While dental bridges restore your chewing ability and are aesthetically pleasing, they require you to sacrifice the health and aesthetics of your surrounding teeth because the bridge requires a strong foundation to attach to.
The replacement tooth of a bridge sits on top of the gum; it does not extend into the bone the way the titanium post of an implant does. Because nothing is filling the tooth root and providing structure, the jawbone can deteriorate over time. The gum also recedes around the bridge, which may leave a visible defect at the base of the bridge.
How Are Dental Implants Placed?
Dental implants require a three-step process that can take a few months to complete.
To place a dental implant:
- The titanium post is inserted into your jawbone.
- Once the implant has bonded to the bone, an abutment/extension is added to the implant.
- A permanent, fixed-crown (tooth) is attached to the abutment and/or implant.
Step One: Inserting the Implant
Once your natural tooth root has been removed and the bone prepared (if bone grafting is necessary), a metal screw (titanium or zirconium)—called a dental implant—is surgically placed and secured in your jawbone.
This implant will bond to the bone over the following two to six months.
A temporary tooth replacement may be worn over the implant site to ensure aesthetics.
Step Two: Adding the Abutment / Extension
Often, an abutment/extension is needed once the implant has bonded to the bone. This extension attaches to the implant and gives the crown a strong foundation to connect to.
Some implant crowns (teeth) are known as screw retained, meaning that they do not require this second step. The abutment and crown (tooth) are combined and this is attached to the implant with a screw, which allows the crown (tooth) to be retrievable.
Step Three: Placing the Crown (Tooth)
Once the implant has bonded with the bone and the abutment is installed, a fixed-crown is placed. A crown is a replacement tooth that will match the aesthetics of your natural teeth and provide you with a durable chewing surface.
How Can I Maintain My Dental Implants?
Dental implants function like a natural tooth, and you will need to maintain them just as you would a natural tooth. Even though dental implants cannot decay, the gum and tissues surrounding them can develop gum disease. If this occurs, your implant may be at risk.
Maintaining your dental implants can be accomplished with good at-home oral hygiene and visiting your dentist for regular teeth cleanings and check-ups.
How Can I Find Out if a Dental Implant Is Right for Me?
If you are interested in learning more about dental implants, contact Dr. Salamati to set up a consultation.
Dr. Salamati performs single tooth, multiple tooth, and full-mouth dental implants for patients in Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, and Los Angeles, California.