A dental implant looks and functions just like a natural tooth but can never get a cavity! The most common alternative to a dental implant is a fixed bridge, which is a prosthetic tooth supported by the teeth on either side of it. One major disadvantage of a bridge is that it requires the adjacent teeth be ground down in order to support the cemented bridge. Additionally, with a bridge (or with no treatment at all), some of the bone that previously surrounded a missing tooth begins to deteriorate because the root is no longer stimulating and stabilizing the bone. If your bone does begin to deteriorate, your other teeth can shift, which will affect the aesthetics of your smile and the mechanics of your bite. Dental implants actually integrate with your jawbone, helping to keep your bone healthy and intact.
If properly cared for, a dental implant can last a lifetime.
The implant process takes a few visits over the span of a few months. All of our implants are placed by our board certified periodontist, Dr. Lydia Gardner. First, Dr. Gardner will extract your existing tooth, if you still have one. If there isn’t enough bone to support the implants, she will place a bone graft – a quick and simple procedure that adds bone from another source to provide a strong foundation for the implant. The next step is placing the implant itself. In some cases, we’re able to place the implant the same day as the extraction, but in most cases we need to wait up to three months. Once the implant is placed, it needs to be covered and given time to fuse with your bone until it’s permanently stable. This usually takes somewhere between three and six months. Once the implant is completely fused with your natural bone, you’ll come back for another appointment to uncover it so that we can move onto the restorative component of treatment…
The specifics depend on how many teeth you’re replacing.
An implant placement appointment is usually less than two hours long. You should try to avoid strenuous work and exercise, but most people are able to return to work the next day. For the first 24 hours, it’s a good idea to have only soft foods or liquids and avoid anything extremely hot, extremely cold, spicy or rough. We’ll go over all of the aftercare with you so you know the best way to take care of your new implant!
To be a good candidate for a dental implant you should be in good overall and oral health. There needs to be enough bone in your jaw to support the implant, and the best candidates have healthy gum tissues and no periodontal disease. Chronic illnesses, such as diabetes or leukemia, may interfere with healing after the implant procedure. Using tobacco can also slow healing and increase the chance for complications.
Dr. Lydia Gardner graduated with an AB in Psychology and a language citation in French from Harvard University. She then went on to graduate Summa Cum Laude from Tufts University School of Dental Medicine. She was inducted into the prestigious OKU national dental honor society which has moral as well as academic selection criteria. Dr….
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