What Are Dental Implants?

Dental Implants Presentation

To provide you with a better understanding of dental implants, we have provided the following multimedia presentation. Many common questions pertaining to dental implants are discussed.

Dental Implants Presentation

A natural tooth consists of a root and a crown. If you compare natural teeth to implant-supported replacement teeth, you’ll see they have the same basic parts. Both have a crown (the visible part used to chew food). Both have a root that holds the tooth securely under the gum and anchored into the jaw. The difference is that the implant is made of titanium – the same time-tested material used by surgeons for artificial joints. When you lose a tooth, you lose both the root and the crown. To replace the tooth, the surgeon first replaces the root with a dental implant.

Time is allowed for bone to heal and grow around the dental implant. The bone bonds with the titanium, creating a strong foundation for artificial teeth.  A support post (abutment) is then placed on the implant and a new replacement tooth (crown, bridge or denture) is placed on top of the abutment. In many cases a temporary replacement tooth can be attached to the implant immediately after it is placed. If all of your teeth are missing, a variety of treatment options are available to support the replacement teeth.

Older man smiling

“Don’t be afraid to Smile.”

For years I’d felt like a part of my body was missing — because my teeth were. My dentist told me that dental implants would make me feel and look a lot better. OK, I said. Now, I’m thrilled. I can smile, eat anything, and enjoy a good laugh with my friends.

Surgical Advances

Using the most recent advances in dental implant technology, a periodontist is often able to place implants in less than an hour and in a single surgical step. In some situations when a natural tooth also needs to be removed, an implant can be placed at the same time as the tooth extraction reducing the number of surgical steps and total treatment time. In addition, functional teeth can often be attached to an implant immediately following implant placement allowing for immediate use of the implant and avoiding the need to wear removable temporary teeth.

Dental implant placement is a team effort between your periodontist and dentist. A periodontist is a residency trained specialist in implant surgery and performs the implant placement procedure including any tooth extractions, and bone or gum grafting if necessary.  Your dentist fits and makes the permanent prosthesis (teeth). Your dentist can also make a temporary prosthesis if needed during the implant surgery process.

Dental Implant Considerations.

Implants are generally smaller than the roots they replace.  Thus, the angle of the crown exiting the gums will be different than the original profile of the tooth.  this pertains primarily to molar teeth since in the front the size difference is minimal. Because of the reduction in size at the base of the tooth you will need to floss as often or more than your do now. 

Dental implants are extremely durable; however, they should not be considered “Bionic” teeth. Although they will not decay like a tooth, they are susceptible to trauma from grinding and clenching.  Your implant teeth should not feel like they are “taller or higher” than the surrounding teeth.  In fact, because they are attached directly to the bone they should sit slightly lower than the surrounding teeth. If they feel “high” they should be adjusted by your dentist immediately.

Dental Implant Process