Dental implants are popular alternatives for bridges and dentures, comprising a strong, medical-grade metal post that’s implanted into the jaw bone. The post acts like a tooth root to secure an artificial tooth or crown, or in some cases, a bridge or a lower denture.
The dental implant procedure usually requires three visits. During the first office visit, the post is carefully implanted into the jaw bone during a procedure that’s typically performed under sedation. Once the post is in place, it’s left alone for several weeks to allow it to fuse with the surrounding bone so the post is extremely stable and secure. At the second visit, a second piece called an abutment is attached to the post. The abutment will join the post and crown. An impression is also made and sent to the lab where the crown will be made. Then at the third visit, the crown is attached to the abutment and adjusted for a comfortable and secure fit.
Dental implants offer several advantages over dentures and bridges. First, they’re more secure than dentures or bridges because the artificial tooth is attached to the jaw bone in the same way as a natural tooth is attached via a root. That means patients don’t have to worry about embarrassing slippage or painful sore spots. Designed to feel and “work” like a natural tooth, implants are also very comfortable, and they can be cared for like a natural tooth with regular brushing and flossing and routine dental cleanings and checkups. And finally, because the post is implanted into the jaw bone, it acts like a natural root to stimulate the regeneration of jaw bone tissue, preventing bone atrophy that usually occurs once a tooth is extracted or falls out. Because dentures and bridges rest on top of the gum, they can’t prevent bone atrophy, which means other teeth are at greater risk of eventually falling out.
Mini implants are implants that have a much smaller diameter than traditional implants. These implants are used to secure a lower denture so it fits more securely and more comfortably.
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