What are dental implants?
When a patient has a missing tooth or has a tooth that's been irreparably damaged, their dentist may offer them the option of a dental implant to replace it.
A dental implant consists of two basic components. The top part is, of course, the artificial tooth or crown that will replace the missing tooth. The bottom part is the implant or anchor itself— a titanium screw—that secures the new tooth or crown to the jawbone and holds it in place.
Why would a patient need a dental implant?
Someone with a missing tooth or gap in their smile may understandably feel a bit self-conscious about their appearance. For them, dental implants are a way to restore their smile and improve their confidence.
But dental implants aren’t just cosmetic procedures—a missing tooth can carry some real health and comfort risks. Implants serve to restore functionality to a person’s mouth. A person with gaps in their teeth may suffer from biting unevenness or irregularities, which could lead to increased jaw pain. They may find it hard to make normal speech. Replacing missing or damaged teeth, implants can help individuals eat and chew better.
The gap left by a missing tooth can also contribute to jaw infections or gum disease—which in turn can lead to more serious health problems in other parts of the body.
What types of dental implants are available?
Implants come in three basic forms: single-tooth implants, implant supported bridges, and implants to support a full denture.
Single tooth implants replace a single tooth in the mouth, which consists of a single implant and a tooth-colored crown or cap that attaches on top of the implant.
Implant supported bridges are an option when a patient has two or more teeth missing in a row. An implant is placed on each side of the missing space, and a bridge is attached to the implants to replace the missing teeth.
Implants can also be used to anchor a denture in place and give the denture much better stability. Usually four implants are placed throughout the jaw. The denture is then able to snap onto the implants, greatly increasing the denture’s retention.
Who can get dental implants?
Any person with a missing tooth or teeth is a candidate for dental implants. The determining factor is the height and width of available jaw bone.
What is the process for receiving a dental implant?
The full process of getting a dental implant installed takes more time than other procedures. This time is necessary to completely prepare the jaw and gums to adapt and support the new tooth.
The basic steps are:
Jaw preparation - The dentist drills a “pilot hole” into an empty part of the jaw where the tooth should be. This hole is made to support the titanium screw, which will, in turn, support the new tooth or crown. The pilot hole is carefully, gradually made wider until it's the proper size for the screw.
Screw placement - The screw implant is then inserted into the gap. Surrounding gum tissue is made secure, so it can properly support and heal around the replacement screw. A protective cover is then applied to allow the jaw and gums to adapt to the new implant until they finally "accept" the new implant as they would a natural tooth.
Waiting period - The patient then waits for a time—usually around three months—to allow for the jaws and gum to heal, and to ensure the upcoming implant can be performed safely.
Permanent crown placement - Once the bone has fully integrated and healed into the implant, the permanent crown can be replaced.
Your best solution for dental implants in Memphis
When it comes to comprehensive and compassionate care for dental implants, the Wohrman Group is your best solution for a dentist in Memphis. Our experience with patients receiving single or bridge implants helps us give patients the beautiful smiles they need for increased confidence, and the teeth they need to preserve their physical health.
Your visit to Wohrman for dental implants in Memphis will introduce you to a staff that will guide you through your options, hear and answer your concerns, and perform the procedure carefully and thoroughly.