Dental implants are a permanent and appealing solution to replace missing or extracted teeth. They are better than other alternatives such as bridges, since no additional teeth need to be altered to place the new tooth. We still use many kinds of restorations at the office of Dr. Richard M. Leiman, but it’s undeniable that the ability to replace individual teeth with implants has revolutionized the dental field. There was a time when older patients were commonly fitted with dentures if they experienced periodontal breakdown and were treated for most of their lives as if their teeth would inevitably be extracted, but that’s no longer the case. While dentures may be the best solution for some patients, the advancement of dental implants means that dentists no longer have to remove healthy teeth to make room for a denture, sparing the patient’s jawbone and facial structure along with the teeth.
There’s much more to teeth than the crown, which is the part you see above the gum line. The root of the tooth is anchored in the jawbone, but it also provides the jawbone with stability. Think of how trees hold soil in place, and you’ll have an idea of what teeth do for the skull. When a tooth is lost, the jawbone dissolves, and for a tooth to be replaced there must be enough bone for the root to fuse to. Sometimes, when there isn’t enough bone structure left for an implant, new material can be grafted onto the jawbone in a separate procedure which takes place 3 to 6 months before the implant can be inserted.
The actual implant is a titanium screw or post, which requires an incision into the gum to place. It will take several months for the implant to fuse with the jawbone. During this time, the patient will sometimes wear a temporary crown to fill the gap between the teeth and protect the surgical site. At the return visit, Dr. Leiman will screw an abutment to the implant, and make a mold of the patient’s mouth which will be used to manufacture an artificial crown. The porcelain construction material complements the titanium base to make a very strong and aesthetically pleasing restoration.
Placing the crown is probably the easiest part of the restoration for the patient. Usually, no local anesthetic is required. Implants have a very high success rate and can last for more than ten years with the same care used for natural teeth. Patients are able to regain the full use of their mouths, and best of all, the implants can help restore the bone structure around the mouth, as well.
For more information or to make an appointment call us at 914.271.2011 or visit www.leimandental.com.