Dental implant treatment is the preferred method of tooth replacement. Dental implants replace missing tooth roots, helping to preserve the bone in the jaw and the original shape of the face. Because they replace the root, implants act as the anchor for the missing tooth, therefore eliminating the need to cut down the adjacent teeth. Dental implants form a stable foundation for replacement teeth that look, feel and function like your natural teeth.
Once you and your dentist decide dental implants are the proper course of treatment, the planning begins. First x-rays will be taken and models of your mouth will be made to determine the best process for your situation.
Each situation has a slightly different process but generally the implant is placed in the jaw using a gentle surgical procedure. Many patients claim that having a dental implant put in is less traumatic than having a natural tooth extracted. Healthy bone forms a strong bond to the implant after 6 to 12 weeks, providing a solid foundation for attaching a replacement tooth (crown). Because dental implants usually are not covered by the gum during this step, the gum tissue and bone reshape and heal around the implant at the same time. Therefore, dental implants typically do not require a second surgical procedure.
After the bone has bonded with the implant, the next step is to create a crown. In a few appointments, your dentist will attach a post (abutment) to the implant, take impressions of your teeth, and check for proper fit and color of the crown.
The cost of dental implant treatment varies since each patient has different needs and priorities. You should receive a fee estimate when your dentist explains the dental implant treatment that is right for you. Some of the factors that influence the cost are:
Be sure to consider long-term versus short-term cost when making a decision about tooth replacement. Dental implant treatment might require a larger initial investment, but is frequently a more cost effective solution in the long term.
Implant treatment is recognized as a proven alternative to conventional dentistry and patients worldwide can testify to its benefits. Because traditional methods of tooth replacement including bridges, partials and dentures have disadvantages in terms of appearance and function, dental implants are considered by many dentists as the preferred method of tooth replacement.
Replacement teeth supported by dental implants have a more than 90 percent success rate in long-term function.