Missing teeth affect the health, comfort, and function of your smile. These gaps in your teeth can make daily tasks more difficult and undermine your self-confidence.
Dr. Brett Hester works with a specialist to place and restore dental implants so that patients can achieve a strong, beautiful, and healthy smile.
Excited to learn more about this amazing tooth replacement option?
Dental Implants Offer Strong Support and Additional Health Benefits
Dental implants are essentially replacements for tooth roots, which sometimes become necessary when a tooth is lost through tooth decay or injury. These biocompatible titanium posts are surgically implanted in the jaw, where they fuse with the bone tissue. The posts can then be used as a solid foundation for dental restorations, including crowns, bridges, and dentures. Implant-supported restorations can improve your appearance and self-esteem while helping you to speak clearly and enjoy all the foods you love without worrying that your restoration will shift out of place.
The Dental Implants Procedure
Dental implant treatment takes place in several steps. First, Dr. Hester will determine if you a candidate for dental implants. Most patients missing one or more teeth who want a sturdy, permanent restoration are candidates for dental implant treatment. However, some patients will need a bone graft or a sinus lift prior to the surgical placement of the implants. Loss of jawbone mass is common, especially if teeth have been missing for awhile, and a bone graft provides patients with enough jawbone density to support the implants. A sinus lift adds bone to the upper jaw when the sinuses lay too close to the implant site.
Implant-supported restorations can improve your appearance and self-esteem while helping you to speak clearly and enjoy all the foods you love.
Before dental implant surgery, you will have detailed x-rays taken to determine the optimal location. The specialist that works with Dr. Hester will perform the surgery by creating small pilot holes in your jaw tissue and inserting the implants. If you are having only one tooth replaced, only one implant is required. Over the next several months, the implants will fuse with your jaw bone in a process called osseointegration. When this is complete, you will have a second surgery to uncover the tops of the implants and have an abutment (connector) attached to them. Last, Dr. Hester will attach your permanent dental restoration to the implant or implants.
Daily and Long-Term Benefits
Because they are anchored firmly in your jawbone, dental implants provide the strongest support possible for all kinds of dental restorations. Implant-supported crowns and bridges, as well as dentures do not require any more maintenance than you would give your natural teeth. Unlike natural teeth, however, they cannot decay. As long as you follow the guidelines for care and maintenance, your dental implants can last a lifetime. Importantly, dental implants also help retain bone mass in the jaw. With the implants in place, the body receives signals to continue sending nutrients to the area. Retention of bone mass helps to deter facial collapse. This means that dental implant treatment will not only complete your smile and return your dental function to normal, but also help support your facial structure. In contrast, traditional dentures cannot prevent bone atrophy, which is why they need readjustment periodically.
Implants are also better for long-term oral health than the alternatives. Unlike traditional bridges, dental implants are self-supporting. If you choose a traditional bridge instead of implants to fill a gap in your smile, the teeth on either side need to be reduced and crowned. They also must bear the burden of the prosthetic tooth or teeth when you bite and chew. An implant-supported crown is also easier to keep clean than a bridge, because you can floss all the way around it.