According to the American College of Prosthodontists, approximately 178 million American adults have one or more missing teeth. The most common causes of tooth loss in adults include advanced gum disease and severe tooth decay resulting from poor oral hygiene and a diet abundant in sugary, starchy foods and drinks. Of course, many adults lose teeth as a result of accidental injury incurred during a collision or while playing rough contact sports. Regardless of what caused the loss of an adult tooth, you should seek tooth replacement as soon as possible since missing teeth can lead to a host of significant oral health problems. Dr. David Zelby, an experienced Atlanta dentist and prosthodontist, discusses what dental experts consider to be the gold standard of tooth replacements: dental implants.
What are Dental Implants?
Dental implants refer to small screw-like devices that secure a dental prosthetic such as a crown, bridge, or denture into place along the dental arch. Dental implants were designed to replace tooth roots whose primary function includes exerting force within the jaw to maintain healthy bone density. Most implants are constructed from titanium, a metal noted for its strength and biocompatibility.
What Happens During the Dental Implant Procedure?
Dental implant placement usually requires three separate procedures:
- Planning and placing the implant. An oral surgeon uses high-tech imaging tools to plan where to place the implant. After planning, the surgeon inserts the implant in the jawbone. The implant will be allowed to heal and become an integrated part of the surrounding tissue, a process that usually takes 3-6 months.
- Inserting the abutment. An essential part of the total procedure, the abutment connects the implant to the crown, bridge, or dentures.
- Placing the restoration. Dental implant restorations refer to the dental prosthetic your prosthodontist places on top of the implant to replace your missing teeth. Restorations are custom fitted and handcrafted to guarantee an optimal fit.
The total dental implant placement process could take anywhere from 6-12 months to complete, depending on a variety of factors. However, Dr. Zelby notes that with proper care you can enjoy the improved looks, health, and function of dental implants for lifetime.
Are Dental Implants Better than Traditional Bridges and Dentures?
As a replacement for missing teeth, dental implants offer several significant advantages over traditional dental prosthetics. For instance, bridgework and dentures only replace the crown portion of a missing tooth, that part that shows above the gum line. Dental implants replace the total root-and-crown structure of a real tooth and therefore provide the pressure needed within the bone tissue to support optimal jaw health. Furthermore, removable dentures constantly slip, slide, and come loose while wearers are speaking, chewing, laughing, and yawning. Dental implants, which can be used to secure both partial dentures and full dentures, offer unparalleled security and stability. They do not slip or slide and, unlike removable dentures, implant-secured dentures do not have to be replaced every 3-5 years.
Dental Implants with Your Atlanta Dentist
To learn more about whether dental implants might work for you, call Dr. David Zelby at (770) 955-0550. Dr. Zelby and the expert team at Aesthetic & Implant Dentistry of Atlanta provide a wide range of restorative and cosmetic dentistry services to help you achieve the best smile of your life. Our Atlanta dentist office proudly serves patients in Marietta, Smyrna, East Cobb, Buckhead, Vinings, and Metro Atlanta.