Dental implants are an increasingly popular choice when Dr. Spilman needs to replace a lost tooth or teeth. The reasons for choosing an implant are clear: implants look just like our natural teeth, are firmly anchored in the jaw just like our natural teeth, and are easy to clean and care for just like our natural teeth.
What are implants?
Dental implants are titanium posts that are inserted into the jawbone to take the place of natural teeth. These posts are attached to restorations such as crowns, bridges, and implant-supported dentures. Implants can be used to replace one tooth or an entire mouth of teeth.
Why choose implants?
Implants allow people to chew properly.
- Implants function just like your natural teeth, so you are free to choose all the crunchy or chewy foods that you like.
Implants can replace missing teeth to improve your smile and your confidence.
- With dentures, there is always the possibility—or worrying about the possibility—of the prosthesis slipping, making noises, or disrupting speech and pronunciation. With implants, biting, chewing, speaking, and appearance are unaffected, because implants function just like natural teeth.
Implants can be used to preserve the adjacent teeth so not as much pressure is placed on your remaining natural teeth.
- A fixed bridge can affect neighboring teeth. To provide a base to anchor either side of a fixed bridge, we may need to remove healthy tooth tissue to shape the tooth to fit the bridge attachment. Implants do not affect neighboring teeth, and, unlike bridgework, are easier to clean and floss, thus reducing the risk of decay in the adjacent teeth.
Implants maintain the health of the jawbone.
- The bone tissue that supports the teeth needs the stimulation of biting and chewing to stay healthy. Without that stimulation, the bone under the missing tooth gradually shrinks, a process called “resorption.” Implants provide the same kind of pressure and stimulation to the jawbone that natural teeth do.
The Dental Implant Process
First, it is important to note that Dr. Spilman’s emphasis is always on preserving the natural teeth for as long as possible. Only when the natural teeth cannot be saved do we recommend dental implants.
The dental implant procedure starts with removing the decayed tooth and inserting the post in its place. After a healing period of about three months, you will return to our St. Petersburg dental office for your restoration. The new restoration, most typically a crown, will be based on this model so it will blend in perfectly with the rest of your teeth. The crown is then attached to the connector point (abutment) on your implant.
Gum disease can attack implants just like it would your natural teeth and gums! Whether you have just one tooth replaced by an implant or several, you will still need to visit Spilman Dentistry for checkups and cleanings at regular intervals.