What Are Dental Implants and How Do They Work

Introduction

Are you self-conscious enough to hide your smile because of a missing or damaged tooth? Do you wonder if you will have a natural-looking smile again? Do you dread the thought of having dentures for the rest of your life and have no interest in a solution that will shift, slide, or fall out?

If you are looking for a permanent solution that will replace your missing or damaged teeth with the look, feel, and function of your natural teeth, then dental implants may be the answer.

Key Points

  • Dental implants use superior technology to replace one or more missing teeth.
  • The implant procedure includes the insertion of a titanium post that serves as a new root to hold the crown that sits on top of the implant securely in place.
  • The new tooth has a look, feel, and function of your natural teeth.
  • Dental implants are a permanent solution to tooth lost and can last a lifetime with proper care and maintenance.
What Are Dental Implants and How Do They Work

What Are Dental Implants?

Dental implants require a surgical procedure to replace one or more missing or damaged teeth with a natural looking prosthetic tooth. The result is a tooth that will look and feel like your natural teeth. A titanium post anchored is screwed into the jaw in place of the root of the missing tooth and serves as the anchoring foundation on which the replacement crown or visible tooth will be secured.

Dental implant technology has been popular since the 1980s, but new methods and materials used in dental implants have made it an even more effective, safe, and reliable technique for tooth replacement.

Dr. Hogan prefers dental implants when appropriate because of the superior quality of the tooth replacement. In terms of enhancing your oral health and restoring your smile to its former glory, dental implants are often the best choice for most patients.

The surgical procedure to place dental implants involves a multi-step process that creates both an artificial root and a replacement tooth with the look and function of your natural teeth. Most solutions, like dentures and bridges, do not support the jawbone, gums, and surrounding tissue. Instead of only dealing with the tooth’s appearance, dental implants also address the missing root, making it a unique and superior solution for many tooth loss applications.

The first step in the procedure is to insert a post that serve as the root for the new tooth and will fuse with the jawbone during the healing process. The presence of the new root and the fusion process provides a new tooth that could last the remainder of your life. The root replacement serves as the foundation for the implant, allowing Dr. Hogan to attach the crown or new tooth to the root creating a new permanent tooth.

Dental implants will restore your smile and produce many health benefits that will last a lifetime. The new root is anchored into the jawbone providing stable support for the new tooth allowing you to speak, eat, and laugh naturally. Implants also support the jawbone and can prevent gum disease and bone degeneration.

Types of Dental Implants

There are two basic types of implants: Endosteal and Subperiosteal.

The right type depends on the size of your jawbone, the shape of your mouth, and your overall oral health. After a consultation and evaluation, Dr. Hogan will determine which procedure is best for you.

Endosteal Implants are the most conventional type of dental implant used today. The procedure inserts a titanium cylinder or blade directly into the jawbone at the site of the missing tooth or teeth. When a cylinder is used, the rod resembles a miniature screw where the blade is a flat piece of metal.

With the post in place, healing typically takes 4 to 6 weeks. During the healing process, the jawbone and post fuse together through a process known as osseointegration. The result is a secure, artificial root that will hold the new tooth in place, much like your natural teeth.

Subperiosteal Implants are used in only a small percentage of procedures. With improvements in imaging and bone grafting, subperiosteal implants are becoming less common.

However, there are some circumstances when it might be the most appropriate route. When you experience bone loss, your jawbone may not be able to support an implant placed directly into the jaw. Bone grafting or the use of the sub-periosteal procedure can often overcome this challenge.

Any of the following situations could make it challenging to place the titanium screw directly in the jawbone.

  • When your jawbone is not robust enough to support an endosteal implant.
  • Bone grafting is not an option, or it is a procedure you want to avoid.
  • You are seeking faster healing times.
  • You need a shorter process. The use of bone grafting adds to the overall time it takes to complete a dental implant.

During a sub-periosteal procedure, Dr. Hogan will place the post under the gum tissue and rest it on top of the jawbone instead of inserting it directly into the jaw. The osseointegration or fusion process still occurs, giving you a secure surface to attach the crown.

Both types of implants are available in different shapes and sizes allowing you to receive new teeth without damaging the remaining or adjacent teeth.

Dr. Hogan is in the best position to determine which procedure is best for you based on your overall oral health, the condition of your jawbone, and other factors.

How Dental Implants Work

Regardless of which method Dr. Hogan recommends, the new titanium post will serve as the root for your new tooth and secure the artificial tooth or crown in place. No other procedure offers a replacement that both looks and functions like your natural teeth.

In addition to a tooth secured in place with a prosthetic root, Dr. Hogan can match the color and shape of the crown with your remaining teeth allowing it to fit seamlessly. An implant can be used for a single tooth, multiple teeth, or a full arch. You can keep all your healthy teeth while replacing any missing or damaged teeth.

The procedure creates the most natural tooth replacement due to the post inserted in the jawbone and the natural looking crown that is artistically manufactured to resemble the shape and color of your surrounding teeth.

The replacement teeth have a natural look. You never need to remove the tooth, and it will not shift or move, offering a permanent solution to tooth loss. It also has a similar care routine involving daily brushing and flossing and regular visits to the dentist. Upon completion, you will regain your natural smile and can speak and eat normally. In most cases, the replacements will be indistinguishable from your remaining teeth.

FAQs

  • Are dental implants worth it?

    Dental implants have both aesthetic and oral health benefits. It can restore your smile and help you retain a healthy mouth. Implants maintain your bite, keep remaining teeth in their proper positions, and support the jawbone, reducing gum disease and bone deterioration.

     

  • Are dental implants painful?

    The procedure involves the use of a local anesthetic, and you should not feel any pain during the surgery. Sedation is available if you have anxiety during dental procedures. The healing process can involve soreness at the site, but over-the-counter medication such as ibuprofen is generally adequate.

  • How long does the dental implant procedure take?

    The process will take from six months to a year. The central reason it takes so long is that your jaw and gums must heal after each step. The process begins with an evaluation and consultation. The dentist will determine if you are a good candidate for the procedure and establish a timeline. The need for pre-surgical work such as extractions or bone grafting can extend the time it takes to complete the implant.

Call for an Appointment

If you are ready to explore ways to rejuvenate your smile, or you just need a cleaning and x-rays, call today for a free consultation or to schedule an appointment. Dr. Kevin Hogan graduated from the Indiana University School of Dentistry and has over 40 years of experience. He completed continuing education at the prestigious Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies, a world-renowned comprehensive and aesthetic dentistry center. He has also finished extensive coursework with the Dental Organization for Conscious Sedation and lectured at both North Carolina and Emory University.

He is known for his artistic skill, professionalism, and ability to find the right solution for an array of dental challenges. Dr. Kevin Hogan is a cosmetic and restorative dentist serving patients in Mt. Pleasant South Carolina and the greater Charleston, SC areas.

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Smiles by Hogan

Cosmetic Dentist – Dr. Kevin Hogan
3405 Salterbeck St.
STE 100
Mount Pleasant, SC 29466

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