Dental implants have been credited with helping countless persons smile more confidently, says OKC dentist Dr. Damon R. Johnson, DDS. Dental implants are a secure and permanent way to fix a broken smile and they also have the added benefit of preserving the patient’s existing teeth.
Dental implants, as the name suggests, are lab-created replacement teeth implanted into the jaw to replace missing teeth. According to the OKC dentist, implants are a good option when teeth are lost due to an accident or disease. He says patients may choose dental implants for a number of reasons including:
- Missing teeth
- Inability to wear dentures or when dentures are uncomfortable
- Dissatisfied with removable partial dental appliances
- Surrounding teeth are healthy
Many patients visiting Dr. Johnson’s OKC dentist office choose implants to replace one or more teeth. They may also be used to support full dentures. Implants, explains the OKC dentist, are placed into the jawbone via surgical procedure; they become the root of the missing tooth.
Dr. Johnson claims implants, though relatively expensive, are a good overall value. With proper care, they can last as long as – or longer than – natural teeth. Implants also keep the jawbone from shrinking when other teeth are missing and may help dentures feel more comfortable. Since implants offer a secure fit, the OKC dentist reports that most patients claim they feel much more natural than dentures or bridges.
Types of implant
A single tooth implant replaces one tooth. The OKC dentist notes that a single implant is typically a standalone device and does not affect the surrounding teeth. Multi-unit implants are also available.
The OKC dentist says there are many disadvantages of having missing teeth. These include:
- An unsightly smile
- Interference with eating and speaking
- Shifting teeth
- Bone loss around a missing tooth which can negatively impact the remaining teeth
- An aging face
These issues may be easily (and permanently) corrected with dental implants, suggests the OKC dentist.
Using x-rays, the OKC dentist carefully determines where implants should go. The implants are then surgically implanted into the jawbone. Typically, pain medication is prescribed to ease discomfort and soft foods are recommended during the healing process. Osseointegration (the process by which the titanium screw bonds with bone) may take several months. The OKC dentist explains that a temporary replacement tooth will be offered during this time.
Dental implants are not for everyone, cautions Dr. Johnson. Patients in poor health or who do not have enough jawbone to support an implant and/or those with certain chronic illnesses may need further evaluation to correct oral health issues.