Sometimes, the fear of losing a tooth and living with an incomplete smile and decreased function can prevent patients from taking care of a dental problem quickly. Some patients will suffer from seemingly unbearable tooth pain because they do not know what the best solution is for providing immediate relief. Whether a tooth must be removed or it is already missing, dental implant placement is the best restorative solution to ensure the long-term health of the mouth. In our state-of-the-art office in San Francisco, CA, oral and maxillofacial surgeon Dr. Reed Rayher provides patients with a variety of restorative solutions utilizing dental implants, which not only eliminate tooth pain but also restore a beautiful smile that patients will be proud to show off.
What are they?
There are three parts to dental implants:
- The implant itself, which is a small, medical-grade titanium post that fuses with the jaw bone to create a stable base for the new tooth
- The abutment, which is inserted into the implant screw and holds together the implant and the crown
- The crown, which is the porcelain restoration that is placed on top of the abutment and looks and functions like the natural tooth
Dental implants are changing the way people live. They are designed to provide a foundation for replacement teeth that look, feel, and function like natural teeth. The person who has lost teeth regains the ability to eat virtually anything and can smile with confidence knowing that their new teeth appear natural.
What are the benefits?
Patients find that the restoration offers a variety of benefits not offered by other forms of dental restoration, such as fixed bridges, removable partial dentures, and/or full-arch dentures.
Implants provide the following benefits:
A Long-Term Solution. Once the implants are in place, they will serve you well for many years if you take care of them and keep your mouth healthy. This means taking the time for good oral hygiene (brushing and flossing) and keeping regular appointments with your dental specialists.
Enhanced Aesthetics. The crowns are replicated to fit into every patient’s mouth uniquely so that the restoration looks just like the original, healthy tooth, thus allowing patients to smile with ease.
Increased Stability. The posts are made of medical-grade titanium, which fuses with the jaw bone during the healing period. This process creates the most stable restoration available and helps to ensure that your new tooth acts just like a natural tooth. Patients will have no trouble biting into apples, eating chewy foods like caramel, or speaking and enunciating properly.
Maintain the Health of the Adjacent Teeth. When they are placed, there is no need to grind down or damage adjacent teeth to cement a bridge or utilize the strength of adjacent teeth to carry their burden. Additionally, they can be brushed and flossed like natural teeth, making it easier to maintain the health of the mouth and avoid tooth decay or periodontal disease.
Decreased Bone Loss. When a tooth is missing from the mouth for an extended length of time, the jaw bone beneath the gums can begin to deteriorate. When implants are placed, the jaw bone fuses with the implant screw and maintains its natural, healthy growth and development.
Are dental implants the right solution for me?
If you are missing a tooth or need to have a tooth removed, implants are the best option for replacement. During your initial consultation, Dr. Rayher will review your medical history and X-rays and perform a thorough oral examination to determine if you are a candidate for a dental implant. If the bone in your jaw is thin, you may need an additional procedure, called a bone graft, to build up the bone so that proper bone height and width are present for the dental implant screw.
During your first procedure, the implant will be placed, and you will need to wait a few weeks for the surgical site to heal and the implant to fuse with the jaw bone. After healing, when the implant is anchored securely in the bone, an abutment is attached to the implant. The abutment functions as the core of the replacement tooth and can be adjusted and shaped to allow the replacement tooth, or crown, to blend in with the adjacent teeth.
The final step is to affix a crown to the abutment. The crown is shaped and colored to match your surrounding teeth. The finished result matches your natural teeth.
What types of prostheses are available in San Francisco, CA?
A single prosthesis (crown) is used to replace one missing tooth — each prosthetic tooth attaches to its own implant. A partial prosthesis (fixed bridge) can replace two or more teeth and may require only two or three implants. A complete dental prosthesis (fixed bridge) replaces all of the teeth in your upper or lower jaw. The number of implants varies depending upon which type of complete prosthesis (removable or fixed) is recommended. A removable prosthesis (overdenture) attaches to a bar or ball and socket attachment, whereas a fixed prosthesis is permanent and removable only by the dentist.
If you are interested in learning more, contact Union Square Oral Surgery & Dental Implant Center in San Francisco, CA, to schedule a consultation with our skilled surgeon, Dr. Reed Rayher. Our office and surgical staff members are happy to answer any questions you may have to ensure you receive the highest quality implants that your mouth deserves.