If you are self-conscious because you have missing teeth, wear dentures that are uncomfortable or don’t want to damage adjacent teeth in order to make a bridge, talk to Dr. Willis to see if dental implants are a good option for you.
Dental implants are becoming the ideal way to replace missing teeth. They are designed to blend in with your remaining teeth. They are an excellent long-term option for restoring your smile. In fact, the development and use of implants is one of the biggest advances in dentistry in the past 40 years. Dental implants are made of titanium and other materials that are compatible with the human body. They are posts that are surgically placed in the upper or lower jaw, where they function as a sturdy anchor for replacement teeth.
Most patients find that a dental implant is a secure, stable replacement for their own teeth. There are generally three phases to getting an implant:
- First Dr. Willis, your choice for dentist in Salem, will surgically places the implant into the jawbone. He may recommend a diet of soft foods, cold foods and warm soup during the healing process.
- Next, the bone around the implant heals in a process called osseointegration. What makes an implant so strong is that the bone actually grows around it and holds it in place. Osseointegration means “combines with the bone” and takes time. Some patients might need to wait until the implant is completely integrated. Generally this process takes between 4 and 6 months before the implant can be restored. Less often patients may be able to have the implant restored immediately all in one visit.
- Finally, it’s time for the placement of the artificial tooth/teeth. For a single tooth implant, Dr. Willis will customize a new tooth for you, called a dental crown. The crown will be based on size, shape, color and fit, and will be designed to blend in with your other teeth. If you are replacing more than a single tooth, custom-made bridges or dentures will be made to fit your mouth and your implants. (Note: The replacement teeth usually take several weeks to make.)
If you are interested in dental implants, it’s a good idea to discuss it carefully with DR. Willis first. If you are in good general health this treatment may be an option for you. In fact, your health is more of a factor than your age. You may be medically evaluated by a physician before any implant surgery is scheduled.
Chronic illnesses, such as diabetes or leukemia, may interfere with healing after surgery. Patients with these issues may not be good candidates for implants. Using tobacco can also slow healing and often is a reason to avoid implants.