Think of dental implants as artificial tooth roots, similar in shape to screws. When dental implants are placed in your jawbone (A), they bond with your natural bone. They become a sturdy base for supporting one or more artificial teeth, called crowns.
A connector – known as an abutment (B) – is placed on top of the dental implant to hold and support your crowns. The crowns are custom-made to match your natural teeth and fit your mouth (C).
Modern dental implants have been used successfully for over 30 years. They are the strongest devices available to support replacement teeth – and even better, they allow these new teeth to feel, look and function naturally.
When performed by a trained and experienced dental implant dentist, dental implant surgery is one of the safest and most predictable procedures in dentistry.
If you, like millions of Americans, have lost one or more teeth, you may be all too familiar with the unpleasant consequences. For many, missing teeth lead to an unattractive smile, embarrassment from loose dentures, and pain or difficulty with eating. Traditional dentistry can provide replacements for missing teeth using bridges, removable partials and dentures; however, each of these has its problems.
Bridgework usually involves altering natural teeth to provide a stable foundation for support of replacement teeth. Partials and dentures can, at times, be very unstable leading to denture sores or speech difficulties. Another little known problem associated with tooth loss is a process known as "atrophy," a shrinking of the jawbone that can progress relentlessly over the years. Bone atrophy not only affects jaw function, but also can cause adverse facial cosmetic changes. Because of the remarkable advances in dentistry in recent years, dental implants offer an effective solution to many of these problems.
Dental implants look and feel like your own teeth. And because they are designed to fuse with bone, they become permanent.
With poor-fitting dentures, the teeth can slip within the mouth causing you to mumble or slur your words. Dental implants allow you to speak without the worry that teeth might slip.
Because they become part of you, implants eliminate the discomfort of removable dentures.
Sliding dentures can make chewing difficult. Dental implants function like your own teeth, allowing you to eat your favorite foods with confidence and without pain.
Dental implants can give you back your smile and help you feel better about yourself.
Dental implants don't require reducing other teeth, as a tooth-supported bridge does. Because nearby teeth are not altered to support the implant, more of your own teeth are left intact, improving long-term oral health. Individual implants also allow easier access between teeth, improving oral hygiene.
Implants are very durable and will last many years. With good care, many implants last a lifetime.
Removable dentures are just that; removable. Dental implants eliminate the embarrassing inconvenience of removing dentures, as well as the need for messy adhesives to keep them in place.
In the case of missing teeth, dental implants are commonly the treatment of choice. A few medical conditions preclude the use of dental implants. Studies show that smoking will increase the likelihood of implant rejection. Uncontrolled diabetes, on-going chemotherapy, radiation and medically compromised patients can reduce the success of implants, or it might not be an option. At Houston Dental Implant Center we will evaluate these factors and risks in your initial consultation.