Question: What can you tell me about dental implants?
Answer: I’ve been involved with the restorative end of the process for the past ten years or so and I’ve been a member of the Modesto Study Club which is a group of local dentists and specialists who meet monthly to diagnose and treatment plan different cases.
Dental implants are made out of titanium and placed into the top or bottom jaw bone and then used to replace one tooth, many teeth or to anchor a denture. Most dental implants are created with three parts: the implant itself is placed into the bone, the abutment is screwed into the implant and sticks out of the gums and then the crown is cemented or screwed into the abutment. In this three part system, I refer patients to a surgeon for the implant and I am responsible for restoring the abutment and the crown.
There are several things to consider when thinking about implants. First, do I have enough bone to hold the implanted tooth/teeth in place? If not, you may need to consider a bone graft procedure. Secondly, will I take care of my new implant. Implants need as much, if not more, care than your original teeth. Third, am I prepared for the three month healing process? Implants take three months or more to integrate into a healthy patient’s bone. Although there are dentists placing implants for immediate use, I still recommend that implants heal without any use until they integrate with the bone.
The California Dental Association has a terrific article that explains everything about dental implants. You can link to it here.
If you have any questions, please drop a comment.
Keep smiling! – Dr. Fletcher