Posted on 6/14/2013 by Dr. Franco
|The dental implant itself is a small apparatus, most often made from titanium, that is surgically embedded in gum tissue in the area where tooth loss has occurred. As the implant area heals, this small device is designed to fuse to existing bone tissue. This will allow the implant to act much like the root of a biological tooth providing strength and support to the restoration that protects it at the completion of treatment.
Four to six months following the implant procedure, the implant dentist will determine if the healing aspect of treatment is completed. If so, the implant is fitted with the attachment that will allow a final restoration to be permanently cemented in place.
The crown or implant supported bridge is fabricated to precisely match the remaining teeth that will surround the implant. Shape, contour, shading … the covering of the implant has been designed to be so close to natural that it is virtually impossible to detect which tooth is the implant.
The aesthetic aspect of implants is perfect, but how much functionality can you expect? The short answer is total function. There are no diet restrictions or concerns about slippage beyond what is appropriate for your natural teeth. The ability to eat the foods you love, speak without worry, and smile broadly are restored.
Caring for dental implants is identical to the care given to natural teeth. When the implant is first placed, the need to keep the area free from infection is paramount to prevent implant failure. This means daily flossing and brushing without exception. Smoking and tobacco use are highly discouraged as these habits increase the likelihood of implant failure.
After the restoration is placed, the continued daily regimen of brushing and flossing is important for all teeth. Rinsing daily with an antibacterial mouthwash may be advised. Keeping those semi-annual appointments with the dentist for a thorough cleaning and dental exam will confirm that you are on the right track with your care or you may be asked to improve daily care for long term positive results.
It has been demonstrated that dental implants will hold up to a lifetime of meals, words spoken, and limitless smiles. Given the proper care, dental implants not only mimic natural teeth, but provide the next best thing to replace biological teeth, if needed.
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PEDRO F. FRANCO, DDS
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