Dental implants have been a saving grace for smiles ruined by tooth loss caused by tooth decay, trauma, age, and gum disease. These dental crowns and appliances have become a popular avenue by which patients can resurrect their formerly beautiful smiles.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are commonly used to replace a missing adult or permanent tooth. While baby or primary teeth fall out and are replaced with permanent teeth, adult teeth aren’t replaced once they fall out or are extracted.
The resulting gap in one’s smile not only looks bad, but it can weaken the underlying gum and bone tissue and cause neighboring teeth to shift out of proper alignment and placement.
Dental implants, therefore, are used to restore the look of the smile and to preserve the stability of the jaw and maintain proper bite and teeth alignment. Dental implants are commonly used to “replace” single missing teeth, though they are now used to anchor dental bridgework and dentures.
Implants are comprised of three parts: the post, the abutment, and the dental crowns. The post is a titanium screw that is inserted directly into the gums/jaw. The implant post provides the stability of the implant and securely affixes it to the mouth.
The abutment is a small metallic part that is attached to the top of the post. It is on top of the abutment that the crown, or “fake tooth” is attached, affixing it to the post.
The crown is a realistic, tooth-like component made of either porcelain or resin. The dental crowns are made specifically for each patient, matching the color, size, and shape of the patient’s other teeth and mouth.
It typically takes multiple dental office trips for implants to be fully inserted. The post, abutment and a temporary crown are typically applied in the first appointment. X-rays and other images of the mouth and teeth will be done in order to get the proper measurements and coloring for the crown.
The crown is often made by hand in an off-site dental laboratory and can take many weeks to be sent back to the dental office. The patient will return to the dental office after the crown is finished and the dentist will place it on the abutment after removing the temporary crown.
The Makings of Dental Implants
As mentioned earlier, dental implants are made of three components: a post, an abutment, and a crown. The post and abutments are made of titanium and are manufactured off-site. Titanium has become the standard material for dental implants because of the alloy’s unique biocompatibility properties.
What this means is that the body’s immune system won’t attack the implant post nor fight the tissue damage caused by the insertion of the post into the gums/jaw. Instead, the cells of the body will grow around the post and absorb it like it was part of the body. Titanium’s biocompatibility results in fewer allergic reactions and infections and quicker healing.
The crown is made either of composite resin or porcelain. It is the same thing as a crown that fits over a tooth with a large cavity. The shading of the patient’s teeth will be noted as the crown is to look like the rest of the patient’s natural teeth. X-rays and 3-D scanning of the patient’s mouth, bite and teeth will be done to ensure the proper size and shape of the crown.
The shading color and size dimensions along with the desired crown composition material will be sent to an off-site dental laboratory where the unique crown will be made by hand and then returned to the dental office. It takes roughly six weeks for the crown to be made and returned to the dental office.
Porcelain dental crowns tend to be more expensive and more vulnerable to chipping, but they offer a more natural light reflection and shine than composite does. Composite resin crowns are more affordable and more resistant to chipping. Both options give the wearer a realistic-looking tooth.
What LeDowns Dentistry Can Do For You
At LeDowns Dentistry, we offer patients high-quality dental implants that will rejuvenate and restore their smiles. While dental implants are great solutions for most patients, they may not work for others. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our dental specialists to discuss how dental implants can improve your smile.