Dental Implants in Scripps Ranch
Dental implants are designed to replace an entire tooth, from its root to its crown. Most dentists, including Dr. Jennifer Santoro, agree that placing dental implants is the most reliable way to recreate the look, feel and function of a natural, healthy tooth. Implants reverse the devastating effects of tooth loss and make it possible for you to chew comfortably, enunciate clearly and smile confidently.
Understanding Dental Implants
Dental implants are constructed from three pieces:
- A post or screw that functions as a tooth root and is anchored in the jawbone
- An artificial tooth (usually a crown) that is custom-created to match the surrounding teeth in shape, size and color
- An abutment piece that connects the two
Because the implant post is surgically placed in the jawbone, it acts as a very stable foundation for the artificial tooth. Unlike dentures or other tooth replacements, implants stay in place without shifting around, loosening or clicking. In fact, implants are often used to secure partial or complete dentures or dental bridges, adding an extra layer of stability.
Another advantage of anchoring implants to the jawbone is that chewing and biting on the implant helps to keep the bone stimulated. This prevents your jawbone from gradually wasting away and causing other problems like loosening teeth or the collapse of the facial structures.
Candidates for Dental Implants
Not everyone is a good candidate for dental implants. If you have a weak jawbone that cannot support the implant post, or you are in poor health or have a chronic illness that affects your ability to recover from a surgical procedure, dental implants are probably not a good option for you. Dr. Santoro can discuss other tooth replacement options, such as a dental bridge or partial denture, which may be more suitable for your needs.
The Implant Placement Process
There are a few steps to the dental implant placement process.
First, the implant post will be placed in your jawbone during a surgical procedure. A small opening will be created in your jawbone where the tooth fell out, and the implant post will be secured to the bone. If the implants are meant to support a denture appliance, more than one post will be placed in your jawbone.
After this surgical procedure, osseointegration, which is the process of the implant post fusing with the jawbone, will take place. The osseointegration phase lasts approximately three to six months.
Once the implant and bone have integrated properly, the top of the implant post will be uncovered and the artificial tooth will be attached. The tooth should be virtually indistinguishable from your surrounding natural teeth.
After a slight adjustment period, the dental implant and artificial tooth should feel like one of your own. Dental implants do not require any special care. You can brush and floss them like natural teeth. As long as you keep the implants clean and have them checked by a dentist periodically, it should last a lifetime.
Learn More about Dental Implants
If you are experiencing the effects of tooth loss and wish to discuss your dental implant options with Dr. Santoro, please book an appointment at Village Center Dentistry today. Call or email us today.