What Are Dental Implants?

Modern dental implants are one of the best and most popular ways of replacing missing teeth. In fact, they are the closest you can get to natural-looking, pearly white teeth.With dental implants, you can put your best smile forward and continue eating, talking, and enjoying all that life has to offer.

Learn more about how dental implants work and why you may want to get your own to create your perfect smile.

How do dental implants work?

Implant_CutawayThe best analogy for dental implants is that of a screw or post that is placed into the jawbone. A dental implant functions very similarly to a tooth root in that it is meant to support one or more artificial teeth. Once the implant is placed and is allowed to heal into the bone, it can then be restored using one of a few different treatment options.The result is a realistic, healthy-looking tooth that is sturdy and is fit to withstand everyday activities such as talking and eating.

What are the advantages of dental implants?

Dental implants offer many advantages over more traditional methods for replacing teeth.

The advantages of dental implants include:

  • Increased chewing ability
  • Realistic, healthy appearance
  • Improved speech
  • Durable, long-lasting solution
  • Improved comfort
  • Ease of cleaning
  • Improved confidence

If you have been affected by damaged or missing teeth, dental implants may relieve your anxieties and bring a range of benefits.
Restore your confidence and love your smile again with dental implants. Contact us to schedule an appointment and discuss your options.

How Do You Replace a Missing Tooth?

What are the disadvantages of dental implants?

ASC_Abutment_AnteriorThere are really only two main disadvantages to dental implants over other tooth replacement options.

First, the process can often take a bit longer overall since it is important to wait for the implant and the surrounding bone to fully heal before moving on to the final restoration. Healing time is traditionally 3-4 months, but can differ depending on individual circumstances.

Second, the up-front cost of treatment for dental implants is often higher than alternative treatments such as traditional dentures or partials. However, this valuable investment can actually decrease long-term expenses versus traditional treatment options because of the high rate of success.

Because we believe so strongly in the value that dental implants provide, we are happy to discuss ways to make dental implants convenient and affordable for every one of our patients.

How are dental implants used to replace missing teeth?

There are multiple ways that dental implants can be used to replace missing teeth. These include as a single crown, with a bridge, or with partial dentures

Missing_Tooth_EffectsThe most common way implants are used is with a single crown – just like a crown on a natural tooth.
In this configuration, there are three parts to the total restoration: the dental implant, the porcelain crown, and an abutment which serves as a link between the implant and crown. When restored with a single crown, you would use one dental implant to replace each missing tooth.
This is the most natural way to restore a dental implant because it is the most similar to a real tooth. Once healed and restored, the implant is brushed, flossed, and used just like a tooth is.

For longer spans of missing teeth, multiple implants can be used to support a bridge. A bridge on implants follows the same principles as a bridge supported by teeth: two (or more) implants are able to support three (or more) artificial teeth. In this case, the implants are placed in the areas with the best quality of bone and the teeth are placed to fit and function well with the bite and other remaining teeth. For more information about natural teeth bridges, see our bridge page.

Partial Denture
A third way dental implants can be used to replace teeth is in combination with a partial denture (a.k.a. “partial”). Partials are a good option for replacing multiple teeth with one appliance when there are still healthy teeth remaining in that arch. However, partials rely on those remaining teeth to support the artificial teeth.

If those teeth weaken with time or if there are only a few teeth remaining, the partial may be loose or move around when chewing. That is where one or two implants can be used to attach to the partial and help to hold it firmly in place. The partial is still removable, but it now has more strength and resiliency to chewing.

What if all the teeth in an arch are missing?
Traditional removable dentures are notorious for coming loose and are often uncomfortable to chew with or speak. Dental implants offer a predictable and convenient way to overcome these shortcomings. There are three ways of using dental implants to reinforce and support a full-arch set of teeth.

Locator Attachments

Dental ImplantThis is the most common way to reinforce dentures, especially lower dentures which are often more difficult to adapt to then upper dentures. Two implants are generally placed near to the front of the mouth. Connected to the dental implant is a special Locator abutment, which serves as a link between the implants and the denture. On the underside of the denture are corresponding attachments which fit over the Locator abutments and snaps together.

The denture is still removable for proper cleaning, but it now has improved retention so that it stays in place while eating and speaking.

Bar Overdenture

Another step up from Locator attachments is a bar overdenture, which uses a hidden yet rigid Titanium bar that connects 4 or more implants. This denture is also removable for cleaning but has the additional advantage of being much more stable and rigid, offering more tooth-like chewing function.

Fixed All-On-4TM Denture

An All-On-4TM denture (also known as a “fixed hybrid denture”) also uses 4 or more implants. However, in this case, instead of the denture being removable, it is fixed to the implants. This offers the most tooth-like solution of all.

Another significant advantage of the All-On-4TM technique is that it is often possible to place the prosthesis immediately after the implants are placed, allowing you to leave that day with fully functional dentures right away!If you already have a denture that you wish would fit better but are otherwise happy with, it may even be possible to add the proper implant connections to your existing denture. We are happy to discuss if this option may be right for you.

How long do dental implants last?

When performed under ideal circumstances, dental implants have a very high success rate. In fact, the reported success rates of 97-98% are among the highest of all available dental procedures.

How do I know if a dental implant is the best option for me?

Our dental professionals are trained to consider each individual’s unique situation and are happy to discuss if a dental implant is the right treatment option for you.
If you have any questions about this treatment, need to make an initial appointment, or want to discuss your options, give us a call at 616-530-2200.

Find Dental Implant Services in Grandville

It’s time to feel confident and comfortable with your smile. Schedule an appointment with 44 West Dental Professionals to discuss whether dental implants are the best solution for you. Give us a call at 616-530-2200 to set up a consultation.

Dr. Jason Doublestein, Dr. Michael Wierenga, and Dr. Katelyn Trierweiler along with our dedicated staff here at 44 West Dental Professionals in Granville, Michigan will be happy to speak with you.
Email: info@44westdental.com

See our business hours and other office information on our Contact page.

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