Dental implants are the most state of the art way of replacing a missing tooth. Over 50 years of innovation and trial by error has resulted in implants that are durable, reliable, and safe. A misconception is that dental implants involve major jaw surgery and are painful. Although some cases involving placement of implants are less than routine, the vast majority are placed to replace a single missing tooth. Dr. Hendricks uses a surgical guide, custom made for each patient, which allows exact placement of the implant. This is a safer, more precise way of performing surgical implant dentistry. Once the implant has integrated with the jaw, usually 3-4 months after the implant has been placed, a dentist will make an abutment and crown to fit the implant. This will complete the case.

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The Way Dental Implants Can Be Used

  • to replace a missing tooth.
  • as abutments for fixed bridgework.
  • as anchors to hold dentures in place.
  • to preserve jaw bone height and width.

Types of Dental Implants

Endosteal Implants

Endosteal implants are typically shaped like small screws or cylinders and are made of biocompatible materials like titanium. Endosteal implants are surgically placed directly into the jawbone, providing a strong foundation for dental restorations such as crowns, bridges, or dentures. These implants can support single or multiple teeth replacements.

Subperiosteal Implants

Subperiosteal implants are an alternative to endosteal implants, particularly when there is insufficient jawbone structure or height for traditional implant placement. Instead of being placed into the jawbone, subperiosteal implants are positioned on or above the jawbone beneath the gum tissue. They consist of a metal framework with posts that protrude through the gums, allowing for the attachment of dental prosthetics.

The Dental Implant Procedure

The implant placement surgery is typically performed under local anesthesia, although sedation or general anesthesia may be used for more complex cases or patients with dental anxiety. During the surgery, an incision is made in the gum tissue to expose the underlying jawbone. A hole is then carefully drilled into the bone, and the dental implant, usually a titanium screw, is inserted. The implant is placed at a precise depth and angle to ensure stability and proper alignment.

After the implant is placed, osseointegration occurs, which typically takes several months. During this healing period, the bone fuses with the implant, providing a stable and secure foundation for dental restoration. You may receive a temporary tooth replacement option to maintain aesthetics and function during healing. Once osseointegration is complete, a minor surgical procedure may place an abutment. The abutment is a connector piece that protrudes through the gum line and is the attachment point for the final dental restoration.

After the gums have healed and the abutment is in place, the dentist will take impressions of your mouth to create the final dental restoration, such as a crown, bridge, or denture. The restoration is custom-made to match your natural teeth’ color, shape, and size. It is then attached to the abutment, completing the implant restoration.

The Benefits of Implants

Improved Appearance

Once in place, implants function and look just like natural teeth. They won’t fall out while eating or speaking and don’t require any special cleaning products. The only time you should even know that they are there is when you look in the mirror! And that’s not just vanity talking; improving your smile can boost your confidence and help you look younger. It’s a win-win for everyone!

Stable and Comfortable Fit

Dental implants provide an ideal, stable fit that looks and feels natural. They are designed to fuse with the jawbone and tissue permanently, so patients do not have to worry about them slipping out of place. Unlike dentures, which need to be kept in place with denture adhesive or paste, dental implants are permanent and do not require any adhesives to stay secure in the mouth. This makes it more convenient for daily oral hygiene routines and means no need to worry about implants becoming loose over time.

Prevents Jawbone Deterioration

Dental implants can prevent the deterioration of the jawbone. The bone will deteriorate and change shape when it is no longer used. This can affect the look and structure of your face. The jaw can also be weakened by tooth loss since it will be under more pressure when chewing. This can cause pain and make eating more difficult. Dental implants can help maintain the shape of your jaw and prevent these issues from arising.

Please reach out to our dental practice at 70 Pennington Dr, Ste 7, Bluffton, SC 29910, to have a consultation with our Dentist in Bluffton, SC. Call us at (843) 706-3377 or schedule an online consultation, and we’ll guide you further.