NuSmile Dental Center is a leading provider of state-of-the-art dental implants in Costa Mesa, CA, using innovative techniques and materials for optimal results. Anchored in the jaw for a natural feel and secure fit, dental implants have become a popular alternative to dentures and bridges for patients missing one or more teeth.
Dental Implants Q & A
What is a dental implant?
Dental implants are posts made of medical-grade metal that are implanted into the jaw bone and used to support a prosthetic (“artificial”) tooth or crown. Implants may also be used to support a denture with multiple teeth. Dental implants have become a very popular alternative to more traditional dentures and bridges, and they can also be used in areas of the mouth where a bridge is not feasible.
What happens during the implant procedure?
A dental implant procedure usually requires three office visits. At the first appointment, the metal implant is placed in the jaw bone. If the jaw bone is thin, a bone graft can be used to supplement the bone so it’s strong enough to support the implant. The post (and graft if one is used) will be allowed to fuse with the bone during the next two to three months before the second visit. Once the post has fused (a process called osseointegration), a second piece called an abutment will be attached and an impression will be made and sent to the lab where the crown will be made. Finally, at the third visit the crown will be attached to the implant and adjusted for a comfortable fit.
How do dental implants compare to dentures and bridges?
Because they’re attached to the jaw bone, implants are far more secure and natural-feeling compared to dentures and bridges, and they can also be easier to care for. There’s also no risk of slippage or sore spots that can occur with dentures. And finally, because the implant is located in the bone, it stimulates bone replenishment just like a tooth root, preventing bone atrophy that can lead to additional tooth loss.
How should I care for my implant?
Implants should be cared for like natural teeth, with regular brushing and flossing and visits to the dentist every six months for a checkup. Although the crown cannot decay, the gums surrounding the implant can become diseased just as with a natural tooth. Routine office visits are essential for preventing gum disease and for keeping the implant in optimal shape.
How long will an implant last?
With proper care, implants can last as long as a natural tooth.