If you are missing a tooth or several teeth, dental implants may be the right replacement choice for you. A dental implant is a prosthesis that replaces both the root and crown of your missing tooth.
Whether you have lost a tooth due to periodontal disease, an injury, or some other reason, dental implants are a common tooth replacement solution chosen by patients.
There are three parts to a dental implant:
- The implant itself is a small titanium post, which is surgically inserted into the jaw bone and acts as the replacement for your missing tooth root.
- Another small post, called the abutment, is attached to the top of the implant. This piece protrudes through the gums and acts as a stable anchor and connector between the implant and the third part — the crown.
- The crown connects to the top of the implant and is custom created to fit in your mouth like a natural tooth crown.
What are the benefits of dental implants?
- Most similar prosthesis to healthy, natural teeth
A dental implant fits into your mouth like any other natural tooth. In fact, many patients forget that one of their teeth isn’t a natural tooth. Unlike other replacement solutions, dental implants are anchored solidly in your mouth, allowing you to function as though your tooth was never missing.
- A long-term solution for tooth replacement
While traditional methods, such as tooth-supported dental bridges, have a five- to seven-year life on average, a dental implant can last a lifetime if properly placed and cared for. Patients with dental implants do not need to worry about implant replacement once the implant has integrated with their jaw bone, although the crown may need periodic adjustments.
- Easier speaking, eating, and maintenance
Since dental implants are the most similar to your natural teeth, you can enjoy chewing and biting into your favorite foods without worrying that dentures may slip or fall out. This also makes it easier to speak clearly and maintain the health of your surrounding teeth. You can brush, floss, and care for dental implants just as you would the rest of your teeth!
- Retain natural facial aesthetics
It is no longer a concern that removable dentures or tooth-supported replacement teeth may fall out or loosen during your day-to-day activities when you have dental implants. Patients can smile confidently, knowing that their new teeth look and function like their natural, healthy teeth. Dental implant patients can also avoid the common shrunken or sagging appearance that the face can take on when it is missing teeth.
- Protects healthy teeth and bone
With dental implants, there is no need to grind down healthy teeth to cement a bridge or rely on the strength of adjacent teeth to carry the burden of a bridge. Dental implants also keep adjacent teeth from shifting, a common occurrence when a tooth is missing for an extended period of time. Additionally, dental implants help to prevent jaw bone deterioration that commonly occurs when teeth are lost. They also help to promote continuous bone growth in younger patients who are still developing.
Are you a candidate for dental implants?
If you are considering dental implants, you may need to take extra precaution if you meet one of the following descriptions:
- You smoke on a regular basis.
- You have a history of or existing medical conditions.
- You have a history of periodontal disease or bone loss.
- You are under the age of 18.
During your initial consultation, the Utah Facial & Oral Surgery team will perform a thorough oral exam and review your medical and dental history to determine if you are a good candidate for dental implants. You may also receive additional X-rays or 3D scanning for your restorative doctor to create models for your custom-fitted crown.
What does the dental implant procedure entail?
Dental implant placement normally involves two procedures. The length of time of the procedures varies based on each patient’s individual needs. First, the implant is placed in the jaw, and the patient waits about three to six months for the implant to integrate into or heal within the bone. In the second procedure, the abutment is screwed into the top of the implant and the custom crown is placed on top of the abutment. In some cases, a bone grafting procedure is necessary before the implant placement to increase the height and width of the jaw.
Dr. Price and the surgical team at Utah Facial & Oral Surgery have extensive experience and training in dental implant placement, and they are happy to share their expertise with you! If you think you may be a candidate for a dental implant and would like to learn more about the procedure, we encourage you to contact our office to schedule a consultation.
Where can I get dental implants in Salt Lake County?
Utah Facial & Oral Surgery in South Jordan & Lehi, Utah, offers various oral surgical procedures and treatments, including the placement of dental implants. Dr. Christopher Price serves the entire Salt Lake Valley.