Dental implants are now the most sophisticated way to replace missing teeth. They are the only long term tooth loss solution and the second best choice over natural teeth. Dr. Furgurson and Dr. White are top dental implant dentists in Chapel Hill, NC, and have helped many patients over the years restore their oral health with implant-supported restorations. Below, we discuss exactly what dental implants are.
What are Dental Implants?
Teeth implants are dental instruments that will secure false teeth and replace the root structure of missing teeth. An implant is a titanium post that looks like a screw. Titanium is a metal that is often used inside the human body and is considered safe. A dentist will surgically place the Titanium implants into the jaw bone where they will fuse with the surrounding bone. There are many types of dental implants that are available in a variety of lengths and diameters to accommodate the different locations along the upper and lower arches of bone.
Standard dental implant – A typical dental implant is about 3.4 mm to 4.2 mm in diameter. Dentists typically use them in the front of the mouth because they are skinny and short.
Wide platform dental implant – This type of implant is between 4.5 mm and 6 mm in diameter. Dentists use them in the back of the mouth.
Mini dental implant – A mini implant is narrow and ranges in diameter from 1.8 mm to 3.3 mm. Dentists may recommend a mini implant if there is less room between the roots or when a patient does not have enough bone density. Often, patients can get mini dental implants without a bone graft.
Parts of a Dental Implant
The implant post is the first part of an implant-supported dental restoration. A dentist will surgically insert this fixture into the jaw bone where it will act as the new tooth root and support the new, fake teeth. It will take a few months for it to completely fuse with the surrounding bone. A patient may require 1-8 implants per arch to support their restoration.
After the implant posts fuse with the jaw bone, your dentist will attach a small metal piece, the abutment, to the posts. This involves a minor surgery where the dentist will uncover the implants to connect them. Sometimes they may use a healing abutment which the dentist will immediately place on the implant after placement. In this circumstance, a second minor surgery is not necessary. Instead, the dentist will simply replace the healing abutment with the permanent one.
A dental restoration is the part that will replace the missing teeth. It is the last thing your dentist will place to complete your new smile. The type of restoration you need will depend on how many teeth you are missing.
- For one missing tooth, Dr. Furgurson or Dr. White will use a single tooth implant. They will secure a dental crown to it which will act as the replacement tooth.
- For multiple consecutive missing teeth, they will place at least two dental implant posts in the jaw bone. Then they will design and place a custom-made dental bridge to the implants.
- For an entire row of missing teeth, they will use up to eight dental implants to secure a custom made full denture. Denture implants can replace a full set of teeth.
To learn more about dental implants and if they are the right solution for you, schedule a consultation with Dr. Furgurson or Dr. White in Chapel Hill, NC today!