Dental Implants

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The Gold Standard in Tooth Replacement

Have you lost one or more of your permanent teeth? If so, you’re not alone. Losing teeth can impact your life in ways that you may not have expected. Not only can gaps in your smile make you feel self-conscious they may also affect the way others perceive you, especially when making a first impression. Having lost teeth can also affect your ability to chew, as well as the ability to enunciate certain sounds clearly. Fortunately for everyone, advances in dental technology have now created many ways to replace missing teeth. For some patients, a permanent replacement tooth that is virtually indistinguishable from your natural teeth in every way is a dream come true.

How Does the Implant Solution Work?

Simply put, it’s the surgical implantation of an artificial titanium tooth “root” followed by the attachment of a porcelain crown, or implant restoration.

The procedure begins with a consultation and evaluation. If Dr. Schofield determines that you are a good candidate for implantation and restoration, and you choose to proceed, you’ll be referred to an oral surgeon to have your new titanium tooth root placed.

  1. After your implant is placed, the process of osseointegration, or fusing with the bone, will begin. Though it is different for each patient, the process usually takes from three to six months.
  2. As soon as your implant has fused to the bone, you can begin the second stage of the procedure. This involves having an abutment (attachment point) placed on your implant..
  3. After the abutment is placed, the dentist will take an impression of your mouth. This impression will be used to create a custom-fitted crown, or restoration. The fabrication of the crown usually takes about two weeks at the dental laboratory.
  4. When your new tooth is ready, the dentist will place it on your abutment and make any adjustments in the way it fits into your mouth, if necessary.
  5. When your new tooth has been placed, it simply requires the same care as any of your natural teeth-brushing, flossing, and maintaining your regular dental checkups and cleanings.

What are the benefits?

For patients who have lost teeth, an implant restoration provides the tooth replacement that is closest to your own natural teeth. In addition to the obvious changes that occur when teeth are lost, you might not know that when a tooth is lost, the loss of the tooth’s root will eventually lead to the resorption of the surrounding jawbone. Obviously, this significantly weakens the bone and can lead to further problems later on. So by getting an implant, you’re not only replacing a tooth, you’re protecting bone mass.

Another thing that often happens when a tooth is lost is that the adjacent teeth may start to shift into the resulting space, which can cause problems with malocclusion and alignment of the teeth. This can result in uneven patterns of wear and sometimes the eventual loss of more teeth. While other teeth replacements like partial dentures and bridges are very effective and prevent the shifting of adjacent teeth, they do nothing to strengthen the bone and prevent resorption.

Some other benefits are the long-lasting nature and the ease of care. Your new dental prosthetic is designed to give you years of use. Many patients report that they even forget that it’s an artificial tooth. Additionally, because it is porcelain, the implant can never get a cavity, and is very resistant to stains.

Implants are versatile, too. Each implant can support multiple teeth, or even a whole arch of dentures, making dentures that feel more natural and won’t slip.

Is the procedure right for me?

No medical or dental procedure is the right choice for every case. A consultation with Dr. Schofield will determine if the treatment is right for you. The following are some of the considerations that could disqualify you as a dental implantation candidate.

  1. Poor Overall Health-you must be healthy enough to undergo a surgical procedure and heal properly afterward.
  2. Low Bone Density-your jawbone must be able to support the implant and any biting forces you will apply. For some patients, bone graft surgery can create bone structure that can be used.
  3. Uncontrolled Diabetes-Patients with uncontrolled diabetes have a much slower healing rate and are more susceptible to infection. For this reason, patients whose diabetes is not being well managed are not encouraged to have this procedure performed.
  4. Cancer Treatment-Cancer patients are also at risk for complications from non-essential surgery

If you are thinking of taking advantage of this amazing tooth replacement technology, schedule a consultation with Dr. Schofield and staff at Canyon Vista Dental Care in American Fork, Utah by calling (801) 756-7129. We look forward to meeting you and helping you meet your dental health goals with our high-quality dentistry delivered with a woman’s gentle touch.