All About Dental Implants in Muncie, IN
Dental implants are today's gold standard for tooth replacement. Comprised of a titanium screw, metal abutment, or post, and lifelike porcelain crown, the single tooth implant spans smile gaps beautifully. It also supports surrounding teeth, prevents tooth drift and strengthens the jaw bone. Dental implants are becoming increasingly popular with patients. They are now the solution of choice when there is a missing tooth. You may have even met a few people who have dental implants, but you wouldn’t know because they look so natural. Eric S. Browning, DMD, MS wants to ensure you have a more thorough understanding of what implants are and what they can do for your smile so that you can discuss them with your dentist.
Why Patients Choose Dental Implants
In the case of a missing tooth, patients have the option of getting a partial denture or a bridge. The partial is removable, which means that it could cause embarrassing moments in social settings. The bridge is semi-permanent and non-removable (except by your dentist) but it requires the removal of enamel on two healthy teeth. For these reasons and more, many patients choose dental implants instead. Effectively replacing a missing tooth from root to crown, the dental implant can last for decades with proper oral hygiene, dental exams and professional cleanings. Plus, multiple implants can support bridgework or dentures. They are permanent fixtures in the mouth, cannot slip out, and don’t need other teeth for support. When the implantation and crowning process is complete, they feel so natural that most patients forget that they’re there.
Who Can Get a Dental Implant
Your implant dentist, such as Dr. Eric Browning, determines if a person is a good candidate for a dental implant. He takes x-rays and other imaging to see if the individual has healthy gums and sufficient jaw bone size and density to receive the implant device. Corrective procedures such as periodontal therapy or bone augmentation may be necessary before treatment with an implant proceeds. With the decision made, the dentist takes impressions to craft the implant device.
The Implantation Appointments
Usually, a patient requires nothing more than local anesthesia during this in-office surgery. The dentist drills what is called a pilot hole into the jaw bone and inserts the titanium implant device. The titanium exhibits an amazing affinity for the jaw bone and melds to it through a natural process called osseointegration. Osseointegration actually increases the strength and density of the bone, a process unique to the implant procedure.
After several weeks of healing, the doctor bonds a metal post to the implant and then attaches the custom-fabricated crown. After minor adjustments for fit and bite, the implant procedure is complete.
Keeping Dental Implants Strong
Your dental implants will stay healthy and strong as long as you are taking care of your teeth and gums. The main threat to an implant is gum disease, so you should work closely with your dentist to ensure that gingivitis or periodontitis doesn’t become an issue.
Dental implant patients should brush twice a day and floss daily, treating their artificial teeth just as though they were natural ones. Semi-annual exams and cleanings to check condition of teeth, gums and implants.
While dental implants cannot decay, they are susceptible to a condition similar to gum disease. Peri-implantitis is an infection that develops when plaque and tartar accumulate at the implant site. Smokers are more prone to this condition. However, as long as you work with a dentist and periodontist to take care of your dental implants, you should have nothing to worry about.