Dental Implants: Are They Your Best Option?
If you have one or more missing teeth, or if you have teeth that are damaged or decayed and a source of discomfort, dental implants might be a good treatment option for you. However, they aren’t necessarily a good fit for every patient. Dental implants replace the total structure of a natural tooth, from crown to root. To achieve this, the implant post, a screw-like apparatus made from titanium, must be surgically inserted into the jaw. As with any surgical procedure, successful dental implant placement involves a lengthy healing time (usually 3-4 months) and the need for good general health.
- Patients who have compromised immune systems, cardiovascular issues, or diabetes may not qualify for dental implants.
- Patients with thin, weak, or compromised jaw bones. However, auxiliary procedures like bone grafting can strengthen a patient’s jaw enough to support implants.
- Smokers. Cigarette use profoundly impairs the body’s ability to heal, so smokers will need to kick the habit before undergoing the procedure.
- Patients who have a history of poor oral hygiene. These patients will need to demonstrate a commitment to improving the state of their oral health before being considered for dental implants, since failing to care properly for your new smile can lead to implant failure.
For the right patient, implants provide an outstanding teeth replacement option and at Lathrop Dental Center, we are proud to offer a full range of dental implant services. Dr. Colin Lathrop, with the help of our talented, friendly team, performs all phases of implant placement and restoration, including using a 3D surgical guide for optimal results:
The Anatomy of a Dental Implant
Whether they’re supporting a single porcelain crown or a set of full dentures, nearly all dental implants have a basic three-part structure:
- Implant post. This cylindrical, sometimes screw-shaped piece is constructed of medical-grade titanium, a biocompatible metal that encourages the growth of bone tissue. Dr. Lathrop uses advanced imaging technology to plan the precise placement of the implant, before surgically placing it within the jaw. Once healed, the implant post will have become an integrated part of the jaw.
- Abutment. This component links up the implant post to the restoration. Some abutments are placed during a separate procedure; other might be placed during the implant surgery.
- Restoration. The four most common dental implant restorations are crowns, bridges, partial dentures, and full dentures. Dr. Lathrop partners with a reliable dental lab to create the custom-fitted restorations we use in our procedures.
To learn more about having a confident smile, please read our comprehensive e-book on implants.