Dental implants are now the most sophisticated way to replace missing 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?
Dental implants are advanced instruments used to secure false teeth and replace the root structure of missing teeth. An implant is a screw-like rod that is typically made of titanium. Titanium is a metal that is often used inside the human body and is considered safe. The implants are surgically placed into the jaw bone where they will fuse with the surrounding bone. They come in a variety of lengths and diameters to accommodate the different locations along the upper and lower arches of bone.
Typical dental implant – A typical dental implant is about 3.4 mm to 4.2 mm in diameter. They are placed 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. They are used 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. They are used when there is less room between the roots or when a patient does not have enough bone density.
Parts of a Dental Implant
Implant Post – The implant post itself is the first part of an implant-supported dental restoration. This piece must be surgically implanted into the jaw bone where it will prevent bone loss 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.
Abutment – After the implant posts have fused with the jaw bone, a small piece called an abutment is attached to the posts. This involves a minor surgery where the implants will be uncovered to connect them. Sometimes a healing abutment is placed immediately on the implant after it has been placed. In this circumstance, a second minor surgery is not necessary. Instead, the healing abutment is replaced with the permanent one.
Dental Restoration – A dental restoration is the part that will replace the missing teeth. It is the last thing to be attached to complete your new smile. The type of restoration you need will depend on how many teeth you are missing.
- For a single missing tooth, Dr. Furgurson or Dr. White will have one dental implant placed in the jaw bone. A dental crown will be attached to it and act as a new tooth.
- For multiple consecutive missing teeth, at least two dental implant posts will be placed in the jaw bone. A custom-made dental bridge will be attached to the implants.
- For an entire row of missing teeth, up to eight dental implants will be used to secure a custom-made full denture.
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!