Implants are restorations that enable a person to regain a tooth that they lost. Implants are great for aesthetic reasons and for functionality.

Placing implants is rather simple depending on thickness, width and length of bone at the implant site. Ideally there should be enough bone at the site to surround the implant for the implant to integrate with the bone. This will provide a good anchor for the final restoration. If there is not enough bone the surgeon may opt to place more bone at the implant site and allow for that to heal before placing the implant.

Once the implant is placed it takes about four months for the implant to integrate with the bone. The surgeon will test the integration and then place an abutment on top of the implant. This abutment is used by the general dentist to fabricate the final restoration (crown).

The process of implant surgery to the final restoration can be completed within 6 months. Tests for bone width and height have to be completed prior to implant placement for implant consideration. Temporary prosthesis such as temporary dentures or crowns also have to be implemented during implant healing so that the patient doesn’t compromise on function or aesthetics. Patients think that they will be toothless throughout the procedure but that is rarely the case. Patients will almost always wear a temporary crown or denture to fill in the gap.

Implants do cost quite a bit more than a conventional bridge or denture because it’s not covered by most insurances. However the cost benefit in the long run is much better than restoring a toothless space with bridges or dentures. The functionality and aesthetics are much better with an implant than bridges or dentures. Bridges are great restorations for replacing a missing tooth but functional wise you’re asking two teeth to chew for three teeth. If the gum and bone surrounding the two anchor teeth are compromised then keeping a bridge in the mouth is problematic as the bridge goes through it’s normal wear and tear. Bridges as with all crowns have margins that are easy to decay if not well maintained through good oral hygiene. Whereas if an implant is placed in the space it functions as it’s own tooth. The adjacent teeth can remain intact without placing crowns on them to hold a bridge so oral hygiene is much better with implants.

If you have any questions talk to your dentist for more information about implants and the pros and cons of having them. You can always drop me a line at drjane@janevaldedds.com.

Happy Smiling!