Dental Implants San Diego

Dental Implants

What is an implant?
A dental implant is a titanium fixture (a post) generally placed in the jawbone and attached to a crown. The titanium fixture (the implant) is surgically screwed into the bone to form a permanent, or near-permanent, post for a crown to be mounted to. Though any location in the mouth is possible, the most common placement for a dental implant is the front portion of the lower jawbone.

Dental implants frequently replace a missing tooth when there is no healthy tooth structure remaining. However, implants are not limited to patients missing a single tooth. Implants are also used to anchor complete or partial bridges.

The crown at the top of the implant is usually made of porcelain, to match the color, shape, and size natural teeth. Most likely, an implant will last your lifetime.

Are all implants alike?
There are three types of dental implants: the traditional root form implant, the plate form implant, and the subperiosteal implant. The root implant is the most commonly used. (Roughly 90 percent of all implants are the root form implant.) This implant consists of a screw type root that is surgically placed into the patient¹s jawbone. The dentist will administer general anesthesia and expose the area of jawbone to receive the implant. The implant will be screwed into the jawbone and the incisions in the gum line closed. After a healing time of three to six months, the dentist will permanently install the crown on to the implant.

For those patients who have a narrow jawbone that won¹t allow implants, there are two implant options. The first is the plate form implant. A long, flat plate is placed against the jawbone beneath the gumline. This plate provides the structure necessary to support the implant. Healing time for a plate form implant is generally three to six months. With some plate form attachments, a wait during the healing time is not necessary and the crowns can be attached during the procedure.

In cases where the bone structure will not support either the root form or plate form implants, a subperiosteal implant may be the best option. The subperiosteal implant is created from a model of the jawbone, created using a mold or CAT scan image. The model is sent to a professional dental laboratory that makes a custom fit implant for the mouth. The procedure for installing the subperiosteal implant is the same as for the plate form and root form implants, and as with the plate form implant the replacement teeth may be installed before the healing process is complete.

What can I expect?
Dental implants require a procedure performed by a specially-trained dentist or an oral surgeon. (Implants are placed under general anesthesia.) Patients should expect a healing period of three to six months. There is a possibility that the implants will be rejected and need to be replaced. (Rejection occurs in one to two percent of patients who receive this procedure. Though it is statistically unlikely, some patients do experience rejection.) After the surgery is complete, patients may experience some discomfort or pain, and in some cases, bruising and minor swelling. Such should subside within a few days. Once the healing is complete, the crown or crowns will be attached.

Dental implants have opened doors to better dental health. Teeth look better, and bridges and partials can be placed more securely. More people can eat more of the foods they want to eat in complete comfort. Dental implants look and feel completely natural. With the advanced technology of dental implants, patients can be assured in they have full-function, and a perfect, comfortable smile.

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