Dental implants are changing the way people live. They are designed to provide a foundation for replacement teeth that look, feel and function like natural teeth. The person who has lost teeth regains the ability to eat virtually anything, knowing that teeth appear natural and that facial contours will be preserved. Patients with dental implants can smile with confidence.
What Are Dental Implants?
The implants themselves are ceramic or titanium posts that are surgically placed into the jawbone where teeth are missing. These anchors serve as a substitute tooth root. By bonding with surround jawbone through a process called osseointegration the implant creates an ideal anchor to attach an artificial tooth.
Implants also help preserve facial structure, preventing bone loss and gum deterioration that occurs when teeth are missing. When a tooth is missing, the surrounding teeth have a tendency to shift and become unstable. Implants provide an anchor to preserve jaw structure.
There are several treatment approaches to implant placement. Since each individual is as much the same as we are different, implants placement must be tailored to your specific condition including location, number and type of implants, as well as medical history and desired outcome.
Most implants can be placed under general anesthesia in our office and there are two main approaches – Dr. Nkungula will explain the suitability of either approach and provide recommendations during the implant consult:
Immediate Load Implant
The implant is placed and the crown (artificial tooth) is immediately attached. This works well when healthy jawbone is present
Implant Integration before Load
The implant is placed in the jaw and then allowed to heal for 4-6 months before placing the crown (artificial tooth)
The Surgical Procedure
The dental implant lies completely beneath the gum. You cannot see it or feel it, however it plays an important role in maintaining the structure of the jaw and with proper care, can last a lifetime. In fact, the first dental implant was placed more than 40 years ago and is still in good order.
Dr. Nkungula places the implants and coordinates care with your current dentist for placement of the crown. If you currently do not have a general dentist you see on a regular basis, we are happy to refer you to some of the great dentist in the area that we work with regularly – just let us know.