Have you lost a tooth? You might be wondering what your replacement options are. We'd like to tell you about dental implants, a modern tooth replacement solution that is quickly becoming the gold standard.
A dental implant can be used in many different situations, for instance:
- Replacing a single lost tooth
- Repairing an edentulous (toothless) space spanning multiple lost teeth
- Stabilizing dentures that move when you talk or chew
I have a missing tooth and I'm interested in an implant. What should I expect?
The first step is to assess the bone that will be accepting the implant. The bone needs to be of proper quality and quantity for a dental implant to be successfully placed.
After a tooth is lost, the bone that once supported the tooth (and that we use to support the implant) can resorb or shrink. If your bone has shrunk, don't worry; we will place a bone-graft material in the site to replace any bone that has resorbed or shrunk away.
Following any necessary healing of the bone graft, which typically takes around three months, a dental implant is placed in the jaw bone and allowed to osseointegrate, or heal and fuse to the jaw bone. This process typically takes three to four months. When the dental implant is completely healed, the process of restoring the implant, or placing a new tooth over the implant post, is performed.
Many of our patients are suprised that the actual process of getting an implant can take from six months up to a year! We know that this is a long time to wait, but we like to allow for proper healing so that the end result is both comfortable and functional. And when you consider that it takes your molars six years to develop, we think we are doing pretty good to get you a new tooth in only a year!!
The process of restoring or placing a tooth over the implant is an easy one. We take a simple impression of the angle of the dental implant and surrounding teeth and send it to the laboratory where your custom tooth is fabricated. When the tooth comes back from the laboratory (usually about a two-week process), a quick visit is needed to cement or glue the tooth to the implant.
I have a tooth that needs to be taken out and I want to replace the missing space with an implant. What should I expect?
This is a great question! The process is essentially the same as above, with the main difference being that Dr. Bisson or Dr. Fletcher will first start the process with taking the hopeless tooth out and placing a bone graft material in the socket to preserve the bone.
After the extraction site and bone graft have healed completely (usually three months), the process of getting your implant is the same.
I have dentures and I don't want them to move when I speak or chew. What can I do?
The very first step is to assess your denture and determine why it is moving on you. If it is because of a poorly fitting denture, we would first start by fabricating you a new denture (see our "dentures" section to learn more about this procedure). If we decide that the poor denture stability is due to anatomy, we would recommend placing a couple of implants in the jaw bone so that the denture can "click" into the implants, thus greatly improving function and stability.
The process of placing the implants is easy. We typically place between two and five implants per arch (or two to five on the top jaw and two to five on the bottom jaw). We then allow these implants to heal under the gum for four to six months. During this time you will wear your denture as you did before the placement of implants.
At the four to six month mark, we will uncover the implants and place an attachment or a "ball" over the implant and prepare your denture so that it can "click" into the implants.
Both Dr. Bisson and Dr. Fletcher have received advanced training in the placement and restoration of dental implants. The actual process of receiving, placing, and restoring a dental implant involves minimal discomfort following placement. If you are interested in replacing lost teeth or stabilizing a loose denture with dental implants, please call our Cheshire dental office at (203) 272-2729 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Bisson or Dr. Fletcher!