If you have lost a tooth or even multiple teeth due to gum disease or traumatic injury to your mouth, you may have explored some of the options for replacement. Traditional replacements such as dentures or dental bridges are certainly one way to restore your smile and allow you to chew comfortably and eat the foods you enjoy. Another option that is increasingly popular is a dental implant. If you’ve heard about dental implants, you probably have many questions about how they compare with dentures or dental bridges and about what a dental implant may cost. Hamilton’s Eastgate Dental Centre has the answers that will help you make your best decision.
A dental implant is intended to look and function as a real tooth in every way. It is embedded into the jaw bone just as a natural tooth would be, and fuses into the bone. Like a natural tooth, it then stimulates the bone and tissue around it, thus preventing the shrinkage that often happens when a tooth is lost. (If you’ve wondered why carefully fitted dentures begin to feel uncomfortable over time, this is the reason: the gum and bone shrink and change shape when there is no tooth rooted there.) The implant will then become a permanent part of your jaw: it will be secure and the prosthetic tooth or teeth attached to the implant will be strong enough to chew naturally. There will be none of the slippage or discomfort often associated with dentures.
A dental implant is placed in two parts. The first part is performed by a dentist who has been trained to do this surgery, a periodontist, or an oral surgeon who will insert the titanium screw into the jaw bone. The second part is done by a dentist trained to place the crown or required prosthesis for your case. A crown would match the colour and shape of the surrounding teeth. The implant may also be designed to attach to your denture for increased stability and comfort of fit. This type may not be visible in your mouth.
It usually takes about 12 weeks for the titanium screw to naturally integrate into the jaw bone. Then you come in for a second appointment for placement of the prosthesis required, such as a crown. If you need to replace multiple teeth, two or more screws can be strategically placed in the bone and a dental bridge (multiple crowns) can be attached to those screws.
After your implant has been successfully integrated into your jaw, you will need to finish off your tooth replacement with the implant prosthesis, such as a crown. Some dentists are trained to do both the implant and the prosthesis. There are additional costs associated with adding the prosthetic tooth, including:
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