Dental Implants and What They Are
An artificial tooth root made from titanium, a dental implant is inserted into the jaw, right into the bone, of a patient to act as an anchor for an artificial tooth. Once the patient has healed from the initial surgery, a dentist can then use this anchor point to attach a denture, a bridge, or a custom crown to provide a natural-looking smile. A dental implant can easily last decades or even longer, as the titanium root will eventually integrate into the jawbone fully.
The Procedure Itself
The majority of dental implant procedures are completed in two different steps, the first of which is always the placement of a titanium anchor. While this implantation is considered a minor surgery, it does require the patient to be in good health overall. Once the patient has healed sufficiently – a time frame is different for each patient, but most dentists will give a patient around 90 days or so – the second phase of the procedure can be undertaken.
During this waiting period, many dentists will provide a temporary crown or artificial tooth in order to ensure the patient’s ability to speak and eat isn’t impaired by a missing tooth. Once your dentist is convinced that the dental implant has healed sufficiently, they will then attach your permanent bridge, crown or denture.
Who Can Receive a Dental Implant?
Before deciding if implant dentistry is a viable solution for you and your needs, your dentist will have to examine your teeth and jaw thoroughly. Since the titanium anchor points for a dental implant need to be placed within bone that has a certain density, this examination is necessary. If it turns out you don’t have the requisite bone density in your jaw, you may still be able to receive a dental implant if you first undergo a bone graft. Additionally, your dentist will have to discuss your previous medical history with you prior to any procedure – and you will also need to discuss any lifestyle habits, such as smoking, that may complicate the surgery or interfere with your healing process.
If you want more information about implant dentistry or if you would like to make an appointment for a consultation in our Kailua-Kona offices, call Dr. Yokoyama’s office today at (808) 322-0101.