When you are missing teeth, it is all too easy to put off replacing them, especially if the missing tooth is in an area that is not readily noticeable. Many patients do not replace missing teeth because they do not like the idea of having a bridge placed. There is another option for replacing these teeth that presents a more permanent and aesthetically pleasing alternative to a bridge: a dental implant.
Dental implants offer many advantages over bridges. First, they are considered a permanent option for replacing a tooth. Although the crown may need to be replaced over a number of years, the implant itself should last a lifetime. In addition, implants look and feel like natural teeth, and they do not require special care. Finally, placing a dental implant does not involve damaging the adjacent teeth.
Dental implants are artificial tooth roots that are placed either directly into the jaw bone or right under the gums on top of the jaw bone. Implants can also be shaped like a rod, known as a root form implant, or shaped like a plate, known as a plate form implant. The option your Northridge dental implants specialist selects depends on the width and strength of your jaw at the site of the implant. No matter what shape they take or where they are placed, the implants are typically made from titanium or titanium alloy because these metals are the most biologically compatible with your body, your body is less likely to reject them.
The process for having a dental implant placed is lengthy, but many patients and dental professionals feel that the results are worth the time. First, the dentist will take images of your jaw to determine if you are a good candidate for dental implants, and whether you will require a bone graft to strengthen the jaw before the transplant can be placed. After your dentist has examined your jaw, he or she will plan the type of implant you will receive. Your Northridge dentist will then numb the jaw with a local anesthetic and insert the implant. You will need three to six months for healing. During the healing period, your jaw bone will fuse around the implant, providing a sturdy foundation. After the healing has completed, the implant will be capped with a crown to complete the process.