If you have tooth loss and feel like it’s just you, we want you to know that millions of Americans deal with the problem. We are fortunate to be living longer, but the toll this takes on our oral health often shows up in the form of worn, broken, and missing teeth.
As more and more people experience tooth loss, dentistry has turned to new technology and methods to address it. While treatments like bridges and partials have been the go-to for decades, today, our Vermont Hills patients want a modern, stable tooth replacement, and dental implants are the answer.
What Does a Dental Implant Do?
Unlike bridges and dentures, a dental implant is a complete tooth replacement. From the artificial titanium root placed in your jaw to the porcelain dental crown that’s visible when you smile, implants are the most natural solution for missing teeth. Tooth implants boast an impressive 95 percent success rate and can last a lifetime when cared for properly.
The secret is the titanium root implanted in your jaw. When we replace the lost root with a dental implant, it continues to stimulate the regeneration of bone in your jaw just as the natural root did. This is unlike other tooth replacements that simply sit on top of your gums and don't do anything to prevent bone loss.
By keeping your jawbone healthy and intact with an implant, we can help you avoid further tooth loss and the sunken, aged appearance that commonly results from jawbone loss.
What’s Involved with Getting a Dental Implant?
The first step is to determine if you’re a good candidate for implant placement by performing an evaluation at our Portland dental office. There must be sufficient dense bone in the jaw into which the implant can be placed. If you don’t have enough bone right now, you may benefit from bone grafting, a procedure that will enable you to get an implant in the future.
Placing Your Dental Implant
Dr. Brown works with a network of top local specialists and will refer you to have the implant expertly placed in your jaw. This is done under local anesthetic during an in-office procedure and takes about an hour to complete. Contrary to what you might imagine, this is actually a straightforward procedure, and patients report little to no discomfort afterward.
Waiting for the Implant to Heal
Next, we wait. We wait for the titanium implant in your jaw to fuse with bone and tissue around it, because this is what gives the implant the stability of a natural tooth. This process is called osseointegration and takes anywhere from 4-8 months. The reward is a replacement tooth that looks, feels, and functions just as your natural tooth did—maybe better!
Adding a Tooth Restoration
Now that the implant is firmly secured in your jaw, we add an attachment piece called an abutment that connects your tooth restoration to the implant. By now, we will have discussed whether a crown, bridge, or denture is the right choice to top off your implant and restore function and appearance.
Is a Dental Implant the Best Solution for You?
While dental implants are the preferred tooth replacement, there may be reasons why they aren’t the optimal solution for you. If this is the case, trust Dr. Christine Brown to guide you in choosing the one that best fits all your needs.
If you would like to learn more about dental implants and live in the Portland neighborhoods of Vermont Hills, Hillsdale, and beyond, call us today to schedule an appointment.