How Does a Dental Implant Work?
A dental implant is an artificial tooth root made of titanium and placed surgically in the jawbone. It is designed to support one or more prosthetic teeth, such as a crown, bridge, or full denture. Once a dental implant is established in the jawbone, it looks and functions like a natural tooth, so you can once again eat, speak, and smile without pain or embarrassment.
Dental implants replace one or more missing teeth and support a full denture to replace an entire arch of missing teeth.
Why It’s a Good Idea to Replace Missing Teeth
Replacing a missing tooth is crucial for comfortable function and continued oral health. When you suffer tooth loss, the jawbone in that area starts to shrink. At the same time, adjacent teeth become mobile and start to shift and tilt into the gap. Tooth loss can even prematurely age your face as your lips and cheeks lose the support that a full set of teeth and a healthy jawbone provide.
Even if the gap isn’t visible when you smile, the result is still the same. Teeth shift and create a domino effect that can impact all your other teeth and your oral health.
Benefits of Dental Implants in Scottsdale
Dental implants may seem like a recent innovation, but they are a time-tested solution and a dentist’s number one choice for tooth replacement. Implants have been used in clinical settings for over 40 years, with an impressive 97 percent success rate.
Another benefit of dental implants is that they don’t require the support of adjacent or surrounding teeth as dental bridges or partial dentures do. A dental implant tooth is a long-term standalone replacement supported by the artificial root in the jawbone. The implant post in the jaw also prevents bone loss and the movement of neighboring teeth.
Procedure for Placing a Dental Implant
Placing a dental implant is a process that takes several months. Once you and your dentist agree that you are a good candidate, the next step is to place the implant in the jawbone.
Dr. Justin Waters performs implant placement at our comfortable Scottsdale, AZ dental office. The procedure is not complicated or painful because we numb the area thoroughly before we begin. We also offer sedation dentistry for your comfort and pamper you with pillows and blankets for a stress-free experience.
After placement, the top of the implant sits slightly above the bone, and Dr. Justin Waters places a small healing cap on top of it. The cap protects the implant as it heals, which takes 3–6 months to complete.
As the implant heals, it fuses and integrates with the jawbone, and when this process is complete, Dr. Justin Waters uncovers the implant and attaches an abutment piece to it. The prosthetic tooth or teeth are then cemented onto the abutment to complete the implant. We carefully custom design your crown, bridge, or denture so that it blends seamlessly with the shape, shade, and size of surrounding teeth.
Sometimes a patient who wants a dental implant doesn’t have enough stable bone in their jaw for successful placement. If this is the case, Dr. Justin Waters also performs a bone grafting procedure to augment and build up the bone over time. It takes several months for the grafting to heal, but after it does, you will be able to get an implant to complete your smile.