Today’s patient is fortunate to have many time-tested treatment choices and current innovations for dental conditions, as materials, techniques, and technologies continue to evolve. Dental implants are a terrific example. If you are in the Greensboro, NC area and are searching for a professional dental office that offers this service, you have come to the right place – Triad Dentistry.
In medical terms, an implant is natural tissue or an artificial object placed into the body. Most people have heard of artificial lenses to correct cataracts, knees and hips to replace worn out joints, and breast augmentation devices. These are all types of implants. You may not be as familiar, though, with dental implants.
A dental implant is an artificial tooth root. This small screw-shaped device is placed into a precisely-prepared site in the jaw. Since the implant is made of a biocompatible material, it integrates into bone over the course of several months. At that point, the implant performs like a natural tooth root.
Dental implants are frequently used to replace individual missing teeth. Once osseointegration has occurred, a tiny incision is made in gum tissue and an abutment (post) is inserted into the implant. Then, a cemented or screw-retained porcelain crown finishes the tooth restoration.
This is a versatile technique with a number of possible variations. In some cases, extraction, implant placement, and crown restoration can be completed on the same day. Implants are also used to support dental bridges and full dentures.
Dental implants have become very popular, for reasons we will discuss in a moment. However, there are alternatives, and it is Dr. Steven Hatcher’s desire (as well as his ethical responsibility) to help patients make the best dental healthcare decisions for their own unique circumstances.
If you have one missing tooth or several in a row, they can be replaced with a dental bridge. Teeth on either side of the gap are reduced and shaped. The bridge consists of an artificial tooth with crowns at each end that are cemented over the prepared teeth. A bridge differs from a dental implant in that it sits on top of gum tissue, rather than becoming internally fused to bone. Because a bridge is affixed, a bit of special attention is required to keep it clean and flossed. With good oral hygiene, you could get a decade or more of use from a ceramic bridge.
One or multiple teeth in any positions in an arch can be replaced with a partial denture. This removable prosthetic is usually made of acrylic to resemble gum tissue and teeth. It stays in place with metal clips that hug existing teeth. A partial denture lacks the strength and stability of a bridge, but you take it out for easier cleaning.
If you have no teeth in an arch, a conventional denture can be an economical alternative, initially. An upper denture covers the palate, creating suction that anchors it to the bony ridge. The lower arch relies largely on fit and gravity to stay in place.
You can expect to replace a partial or full denture about every five to eight years. Why? When you bite down, the roots of natural teeth tell your body that strong bone is needed in the mouth. Without this stimulation, bone diminishes. That changes the shape of your mouth and face. It also alters the fit of the denture, leading to wear and breakage.
While bridges, partial dentures, and conventional full dentures remain suitable choices for some patients, others love the carefree comfort of dental implants.
Choosing a dental clinic in Greensboro, NC for implants is easy. Just call (336) 383-1482 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Hatcher.