Dental implants are strong, medical-grade, metal posts that are implanted into the jaw bone, acting as an artificial tooth root to secure a single prosthetic tooth (or crown) or a denture with several teeth. Because they’re implanted into the bone, implants are very secure and feel more comfortable and more natural than dentures or bridges. Plus, the post helps stimulate bone tissue production to prevent bone atrophy that can occur after tooth loss, helping to prevent additional tooth loss in the future.
Implants typically take three visits. During the first visit, the post is implanted into the jaw bone. If the bone is too thin or too weak to support the implant, a bone graft procedure may be performed first to supplement the natural bone tissue with additional tissue taken from the patient or from a tissue bank. Once the post is in place, it’s left alone for several weeks to allow it to fuse with the natural bone tissue. At the second appointment, a second piece called an abutment is attached to the post, then an impression is made and sent to the lab where the artificial tooth or crown will be made. At the third visit, the crown is attached to the abutment and then gently buffed so it’s completely comfortable and natural-feeling.
Mini implants use posts that have a smaller diameter compared to traditional implant posts, enabling them to be used in areas where a traditional implant may not be appropriate or possible. They can be used to secure a single crown, but more commonly, they’re used to secure an upper or lower denture so the denture fits more securely.
How long do dental implants last? As long as they’re cared for properly, a dental implant can last as long as a natural tooth.
No, you can care for an implant with regular brushing and flossing and routine dental visits to ensure the gums around the implant remain strong and healthy. As with natural teeth, it’s important to avoid chewing on ice or hard candy to prevent chips or fractures in the crown itself and to keep the post from loosening.
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