Dental Implants

imageDental implants are changing the way people live! They are designed to provide a foundation for replacement teeth which look, feel, and function like natural teeth. The person who has lost teeth regains the ability to eat virtually anything and can smile with confidence, knowing that their teeth appear natural and that facial contours will be preserved.

Dental Implants are a Team Effort

Dental implants combine the best of modern science and technology, including a team approach with all parties involved – the patient, the restorative dentist, who makes the crown or denture, and the oral surgeon, who surgically places the implant. Following an evaluation that includes a comprehensive examination and x-ray, a treatment plan is designed. A successful implant case requires that all members of the team stay in close contact with each other to make sure everyone clearly understands what needs to be done to meet the patient’s expectations. The teamwork continues after surgery with follow-up examinations at both the dentist and oral surgeon’s office where your progress is carefully charted.

What are Dental Implants?

The implants themselves are tiny titanium screws which are inserted into the jaw bone where teeth are missing. These metal anchors act as tooth root substitutes. They are surgically placed into the jaw bone, the bone bonds with the titanium, creating a strong foundation for artificial teeth. Small posts, called abutments, are then attached to the implant, which protrude through the gums. These abutments provided stable anchors for replacement teeth. Implants also help preserve facial structure, preventing the bone deterioration which occurs when teeth are missing.

The Surgical Procedure

For most patients, the placement of dental implants involves two surgical procedures. First, implants are placed in the jaw bone. For the first three to six months following surgery, the implants are beneath the surface of the gums gradually bonding with the jaw bone. You should be able to wear a temporary appliance or dentures during this healing time.

After the implant has bonded to the jaw bone, the second phase begins. Dr. Harper will uncover the implants and attach abutments which protrude through the gums and will act as anchors for the artificial teeth. When the artificial teeth are placed, these posts will not be seen. The entire procedure usually takes approximately six months and most patients experience minimal disruption in their daily life.

Whether you are young, middle-aged or older adult; whether you need to replace one tooth, several teeth, or all of your teeth, there is a dental implant solution for you. With the exception of growing children, dental implants are the solution of choice for people of all ages.