San Antonio, TX
Patients with missing teeth have options to both replace and restore their teeth. This option that we can provide can protect your oral health from future problems while increasing your function and enhancing your look. Standard methods include dental appliances stabilized by nearby teeth, but with dental implants, we can do more than stabilize, we can rebuild the structure from the bottom up, fully restoring your tooth. Dental implants allow us to provide a tooth that will look, feel and function as close to your natural teeth as possible. Here at Joshua Austin, DDS FAGD FACD, we invite you to find out more information on dental implants and how they can improve your smile.
A dental implant is not a tooth, but rather a replacement tooth root. We surgically insert a metal post into the jawbone to recreate a solid base. The placement of dental implants is far from new; there is a long historical record of people attempting some variation of implanting a device into the jaw to serve as a replacement tooth that is centuries old. Anthropologists have observed ancient people with shell, wood, metal, bamboo and more in jaws. What impressed these scientists wasn't that people tried to replace teeth, but that the body showed signs of healing around these foreign objects. This began the studies of bone healing. After decades of trial and error, we now know that we can insert titanium or zirconium implants into the jawbone and that the bone will heal around the device bonding the two together.
Dental implants do not look like teeth, rather they look more like a screw, with a threaded end on one side and a rounded top on the other. The threaded side is surgically inserted into the bone, as the bone heals it will grab hold of the threaded end and build bone on and around it, bonding the two pieces together. Bone healing is slower than soft tissue healing, soft tissue will heal within days, but bone can take months. Once the bone feels solid and strong, we can then attach a dental crown, or another device including a bridge, partial denture or full denture to it stabilizing the device to this newly restored root.
How we can use implants, and the type of implants used, come with a wide range of options. We can use them to replace a single tooth, or as a post for one side of a denture, or more. Additionally, we can use them to replace multiple teeth, or even as stabilized posts to secure an entire denture to for a permanent hold. Implants come in titanium, or zirconium which is ceramic and considered a non-mental for treatment. Implants come in a variety of widths and lengths depending on the procedure being done and the amount of bone available.
Depending on the patient and the work being done, most patients will require preparation before implants can be placed. This preparation often includes a bone graft. We want the bone to be healthy and robust before insertion. Additionally, we will want the patient to have healthy gums, gum disease or periodontitis can be problematic for proper healing.