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What are dental implants?
A natural tooth consists of a crown (the part you see above the gum), and the root (the part hidden under the gum). It is the root in the jawbone that actually holds the natural tooth in place. A dental implant is a small man-made titanium fixture that serves as a replacement for the root portion of a missing natural tooth. Titanium is used because it is the most compatible with our human body. The dental implant is placed in the bone of the upper or lower jaw and functions as an anchor for the replacement tooth. After the bone has grown around the implant, implants can hold a crown, bridge or overdenture just like roots hold natural teeth in place.
Dr. Cecchi is one of very few practitioners in the area to be able to place and restore dental implants. That means that the entire procedure can be accomplished in our office, eliminating the need for multiple visits at different dental offices.
What are the benefits of dental implants?
When teeth are lost, ongoing shrinkage of the jawbone occurs making the face look older. Dental implants can slow or stop this process. Dental implants look and feel like your own natural teeth.
Dental implants eliminate the pain and discomfort of removable full or partial dentures. Since dentures sit on top of the jawbone and gums, continuous shrinkage of the jaw bone alters the fit of the denture resulting in slipping or rocking of the dentures. Exposed nerves and irritation of the gum tissue may add to the discomfort.
Implant supported replacement teeth are like natural teeth because they are anchored securely to your jawbone.
Gum irritation and the pain of exposed nerves associated with conventional full or partial dentures are eliminated.
With ill fitting dentures, the teeth slip and slide around the mouth. The facial muscles become tense in an attempt to hold the teeth in place. This often results in mumbling, slurred speech or clicking noises.
Replacement teeth allow you to speak with confidence in a relaxed and natural tone.
Improved Self Esteem
Considering all other benefits, dental implants can improve your self-esteem. You may feel better about yourself. You can regain nearly all the capabilities that most people have with natural teeth, giving you renewed confidence, and allowing you to enjoy life, do what everyone else is doing and not think twice about it.
The average denture patient with an excellent fitting denture eats at 15-20% efficiency when compared to a person with natural teeth. As the jawbone shrinks, your chewing efficiency is reduced even more, making it difficult to eat certain foods. Dental implants can restore chewing efficiency comparable to that of natural teeth.
This allows you to eat your favorite foods with confidence and without pain, enjoy what everyone is eating and not think twice about it. A full upper denture covers the palate of the mouth and reduces the ability to taste foods. With dental implants, you can have the palate removed from your upper denture so you can taste and enjoy your food.
Dental implants can eliminate the numerous embarrassing inconveniences of removable partial and full dentures. You will eliminate the use of gooey denture adhesives that must be re-applied throughout the day. You will no longer need to cover your mouth when you laugh or smile, for fear that your teeth will pop out or fall down.
Protect Your Remaining Natural Teeth
Dental implants are often more appropriate than a bridge for the replacement of one or more adjacent teeth. With conventional bridgework, the teeth surrounding missing teeth must be ground down. Dental implants often eliminate the need to modify these teeth, resulting in a conservative, yet esthetic restoration.
What is the dental implant procedure?
The placement of a dental implant involves a series of visits. It starts with an initial consultation. At this point, a special 3D X-ray is taken and often impressions of the teeth and gums are made. Dr. Cecchi will then evaluate each case carefully. First it is necessary to ensure that a patient is a viable candidate for the procedure. This means examining the mouth and x-rays to evaluate the condition of the bone and other teeth. The actual surgical procedure begins with the preparation of the bone site for placement of the implant
Once in place this implant needs two to four months to fully heal. This gives the surrounding bone enough time to form a strong bond with the implant material. Patients are generally fitted with a temporary crown over the implant during the waiting time. This will facilitate eating and smiling during the healing process. Impressions of the teeth and gums are used to create a permanent crown (artificial tooth) which is fitted to the dental implant once it has healed. The entire procedure takes from six months to one year to complete as each case has individual requirements. It is possible to do a single tooth or many depending on the need. The success rate for implants is now very high and many patients are finding it the best option for tooth replacement.
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