Dental Implants

Submitted by: Dr. J.D. Murray

When people lose teeth, they don t have to have permanent gaps in their smile. People who have had accidents, diseases, or tooth decay can now erase the effects of these problems from their smile. They can have their dentist do some cosmetic reconstruction in the form of dental implants. Dental implants are a long lasting way to correct any smile.

Dental implants are an artificial way of recreating a lost tooth or teeth. Implants start with a titanium screw that is inserted into the jaw bone. During the procedure the gums are cut open to expose the bone. To insert the titanium screw or post, the dentist then drills a hole into the bone. Titanium is the metal of choice because it allows the surrounding bone to grow into and around it. The screw is left slightly rough and porous on the edges to encourage the jaw bone to attach to it. This is a vital part of the implant. Once the screw has been inserted, the gums are stitched together. The patient will be under anesthesia at the time to relieve discomfort and pain.

There is a healing process that takes some time. Bones don t regenerate over night, and in this case they are growing around a titanium screw. It can take several weeks or several months for implants to be fully anchored and ready to go. The crown will not be placed on the screw until the bone has grown around the screw to anchor it.


Once the screw has been securely imbedded into the patient s jaw bone, a crown or artificial tooth is attached to the top of the screw. Usually the dentist will put a temporary crown on initially. This is to allow the surrounding gum line sufficient time to adjust and grow in a natural manner around the new tooth. After the gums have healed and grown properly, the dentist will go back and replace the temporary tooth with a permanent one.

Sometimes the jaw bone doesn t have enough bone material to take an implant. In these circumstances the dentist can do a bone graft to try to help regenerate enough bone material to anchor an artificial tooth. In other cases, the bone rejects the screw. But, the implant can usually be tried again with better results.

Dental implants are used in any circumstance where a tooth has been lost. They are a great way to obtain a permanent fix. And they don t have the discomfort or difficulty associated with other artificial teeth such as dentures. Implants give greater comfort while chewing and greater confidence. They can also improve a person s ability to speak clearly.

Because dental implants are long lasting and a close representation to a natural tooth and root system, the patient will need to continue habits of good dental hygiene. A dental implant needs to be cared for like a natural tooth. This means brushing and flossing daily in addition to regular visits to the dentist. Artificial teeth still need constant plaque removal to maintain healthy gums and a healthy mouth.

Although the screw can last for the duration of a person s life, the artificial tooth on top is usually worn down by chewing and general usage. This part of the dental implant will likely have to be replaced at some point. But, with the screw already in place it is an easy fix.

Overall, dental implants are a great way for people to regain their perfect smile after the loss of a tooth or several teeth. Dental implants are long lasting and comfortable. But the best part of dental implants is that they look perfectly natural.

About the Author: Dr. J.D. Murray, DDS, is a leading dentist in Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. Murray specializes in Atlanta Smile Makeovers, Dental Implants and Sedation Dentistry. Visit us for more information

or call (404) 349-7889.


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