Tooth loss compromises your appearance, confidence, remaining teeth and overall well-being. Today’s best tooth replacement option is the dental implant. Collierville dentist, Joshua Holcomb DDS, places these miracle prosthetics and wants his patients fully informed on all the details. Here are answers to frequently asked questions about dental implants.
- What are dental implants? Dental implants are artificial teeth which reside in the jaw bone. Composed of a titanium metal screw (the root), an extension post and a custom-made porcelain crown, an implant looks and functions just like a natural tooth.
- How are they placed? Holcomb places a dental implant with a simple oral surgery right at his Collierville office. He incises the gums, inserts the titanium screw in the bone and closes the site. After some healing time, the dentists attaches an extension post and custom-fabricated crown.
- Who can get an implant? Older teens and adults who have good overall health and good oral health may qualify. It’s important that the patient’s jaw bone be dense and strong. Plus, the individual should not have extensive decay or gum disease. Pregnant women and lactating women should postpone dental implants and any elective dental procedure.
- Why is a dental implant so stable? A dental implant is very stable because titanium and human bone have a natural affinity for each other. When the implant is inserted, the jaw begins integrating with it. Scientists call the process osseointegration. Over time, the jaw bone actually gets denser and stronger. This is opposite to what happens after tooth loss and placement of a bridge or denture.
- How successful are dental implants? Most statistics show success rates of 95 to 98 percent. And, implants last indefinitely with good care.
- Are they expensive? Dental implants do cost more than fixed bridgework or partial dentures. However, they are usually the last replacement the patient needs. Traditional prosthetics have a shelf life of no more than 10 years.
- How do patients care for implants? Dental implant patients brush twice a day and floss daily, just as they do their natural teeth. While dental implants cannot decay, they can develop an infection similar to gum disease. It’s called peri-implantitis. People who smoke or who neglect brushing, flossing and getting routine oral exams and cleanings can get peri-implantitis. It destroys the gum tissue and bone and often requires implant removal.
- If someone is missing several teeth, can they get dental implants? If his or her oral health is good and the bone is dense, yes, an implant is a great option. In fact, Dr. Holcomb uses multiple implant devices to support fixed bridges or full dentures. Patients love the natural look and secure fit.
Do You Have More Questions?
Dr. Holcomb and his friendly team will be happy to answer them. As a very experienced dentist in Collierville, Dr. Holcomb has placed scores of implants and enjoys the great smiles they give patients. Contact his office today for your personal appointment.