If you have missing teeth, struggle with uncomfortable or ill-fitting dentures, or don't want to get a bridge to fix a space in your mouth, you may be an excellent candidate for an implant restoration.
What are Implants?
Implants are one of the biggest dental advances in the last 40 years. They are a safe and effective way of replacing or restoring missing teeth and are a very effective means of making dentures much more comfortable and stable. An implant is a post-shaped fixture made of titanium and other body-compatible materials that is surgically placed in the lower or upper jawbones. Crowns and bridges may be fixed to implants, or removable prosthetics, such as dentures, can anchor to implants for greatly improved stability and comfort.
If you have a single space between your teeth, where a tooth was extracted or a tooth never grew in, an implant crown may be a good choice for tooth replacement. Spaces between teeth can sometimes also be restored with bridges, but these involve some preparation to neighboring teeth and can be more challenging to keep clean. Implant crowns, in contrast, are very easy to clean and can be done without cutting adjacent teeth. In implant crown involves surgical placement of an implant and subsequent placement of an abutment (post which attaches to an implant) and crown (tooth-shaped cap that fits over the abutment). Implant crowns are long-lasting and look just like natural teeth. Where possible, they are the current standard of care for replacing missing teeth. At Canyon Gate Dental we cooperate with the best surgeons and lab technicians in Utah Valley to restore missing teeth through the use of implant crowns.
Similar to implant crowns are implant bridges. Implant bridges are great restorations for large spaces where teeth are not present. With implant bridges, areas where 3 or 4, or sometimes even more are missing in a row, can be restored with just two implants and a bridge restoration. Just like with single implant crowns, surgical placement of implants is the first step. After a healing period is observed, abutments (posts) are fixed to the implants, and a bridge is placed over the abutments. Implant bridges can help patients avoid having removable restorations in their mouths that would otherwise be necessary for long spans of missing teeth.
If you have very large spaces in your mouth, or no teeth at all, and it is impractical or not financially feasible to place many implants, an implant supported denture is an excellent option. People who already have conventional dentures, especially if they struggle with eating, speaking, or keeping their dentures in place, would also benefit from implants because they can provide a better and more comfortable means to attach the dentures to the mouth. When implants are used in conjunction with dentures, usually two or four implants are placed per arch. After surgical implant placement and healing, an attachment called a locator (tiny "trailer hitch" attachment) is affixed to the implants and corresponding connectors are embedded within the acrylic of the denture prosthesis. The denture then clips onto the little "trailer hitches" and becomes very comfortable and secure. It has been estimated that chewing function is reduced by about 90% with conventional dentures, but with implants, most of your chewing ability can be restored.