A natural tooth is composed of two sections: the top or surface, and the root, which attaches the tooth to the jaw. The dental implant replaces the top surface with a prosthetic tooth and the root with a piece of titanium metal. The prosthesis is shaped and colored to look like a real tooth and can be color-matched to the patient’s teeth.
Appearance is certainly one reason to replace missing teeth, but there are functional reasons as well. Missing teeth can make it harder to chew food. In addition to limiting the diet, the patient’s overall nutrition may be affected. The space left by the missing tooth or teeth can trap food particles and may increase the risk of gum disease or decay of surrounding teeth. Other teeth often shift into the space(s) which may cause alignment problems and affect the patient’s bite.
The jawbone anchors a dental implant, just as it anchors a natural tooth; healthy strong bone is a necessity. In some patients, the bone is weak or insufficient, so a bone graft (this is a separate procedure) may be necessary prior to the implant. The dentist creates a socket for the dental implant and places it into the bone. After about three months — which is how long it takes for the implant and bone to fuse and heal completely ― the dentist will place the prosthetic top on the implant.
A dental implant is a routine procedure that nearly all patients tolerate well. Good general health is ideal for dental implants, but even patients who have chronic diseases like diabetes or heart conditions can still have a dental implant with a little advance preparation. Any other dental work, like fillings or the treatment of gum problems, should be handled prior to the implant procedure.
At Nay Dental, we accept most major insurance plans. Please contact our office if you do not see your insurance provider listed.
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