Dental Implants

Dental implants are long-term replacements for missing teeth. Unlike removable dentures which rest on the gum line, or fixed bridges which use adjacent teeth as anchors, dental implants are surgically placed in the jawbone by your oral and maxillofacial surgeon. For many patients, dental implants are the best treatment option.

In its most basic form, an implant is composed of three parts: the titanium implant; the abutment, which fits over the portion of the implant that is above the gum line, and the crown, which fits onto the abutment and has the natural appearance of a tooth. Through a process called “osseointegration” the titanium implant fuses with the jawbone, so dental implants don’t slip or make the noises that can be an embarrassment with dentures. Unlike the teeth anchoring a bridge, the implant teeth will never decay. Durable and stable, implants are designed to last many years. While some patients may find that their implants eventually need to be re-tightened or replaced due to normal wear, the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS) reports that after the vast majority of implants first placed by oral and maxillofacial surgeons in the United States continue to function well 20 years later.

Besides all of their functional benefits, the implanted teeth appear very natural. Patients can look forward to a restored smile, and the confidence that goes with it.

Reasons to consider dental implants:

  • Replace one or more missing teeth without affecting adjacent teeth.
  • Resolve pain or bite problems caused by teeth shifting to fill open space left by vacant teeth.
  • Restore a patient’s ability to speak clearly and smile with confidence.
  • Restore chewing and digestion.
  • Restore or enhance facial tissues.
  • Support a bridge or denture, making them more secure and comfortable.

What does getting dental implants involve?

Getting implants is step-by-step process extending over several months.

X-rays and impressions (molds) are first taken of the jaw and teeth to determine spacing, bone, and gum tissue available for the implant. Using local or general anesthesia, the implant will be surgically placed into the bone and allowed to heal and fuse to the jawbone. This process of osseointegration may take up to six months. Depending on the type of implant, a “post” to hold the artificial tooth may be placed in a second surgery. With other implants, the post and anchor are a single unit that is placed in a single surgery.

After a period of healing, the artificial teeth are made and fitted to the post. Several fittings may be required to get the optimal fit, so this step may take one or two months to complete. After fitting and a final period of healing, the artificial teeth are securely attached to the implant.

At Brockton Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, patient education and support are always part of our commitment. Please let your surgeon know of questions and concerns you have about any aspect of your treatment. When your treatment is completed, our recommendations for good oral hygiene, eating habits, and regular oral health visits will aid in extending the life of your new implants.

Today’s highly successful dental implants are the result of nearly 50 years of clinical research. Thanks to dental implants, many people are looking, feeling and living better.