Dental implants get a lot of press these days. Dentists and patients alike tout them as the best tooth replacement options available. You may think these state of the art prosthetic teeth could complete your smile. Still, you have questions.
Peter Elton, DMD, PLLC offers dental implants in his Gig Harbor, WA practice. As a skilled and experienced general family dentist and fellow of the International Congress of Oral Implantologists, Dr. Elton knows dental implants. He is happy to answer these frequently asked questions about dental implants when a patient comes in for a tooth replacement consultation.
- What are dental implants made of? A dental implant is a true prosthetic tooth. Surgically inserted into the patient's empty tooth socket, the titanium metal device melds with the jaw bone through osseointegration. This natural process secures the implant so that after healing, a titanium post or abutment can be attached. A customized porcelain crown finishes the new tooth.
- How long does the implant process take? Dr. Elton carefully evaluates each patient's oral health through visual examination, x-rays or other imaging. When gums are healthy and the jaw bone is dense and sizable, a successful implant placement is assured. The titanium screw placement takes one dental visit. After a period of healing, the abutment and crown are bonded in place. In total, implant process may take several weeks to months.
- Can implants fail? Implants will fail if patients don't brush, floss and get regular hygienic cleanings at Elton Dental Group. The devices can succumb to an infection called peri-implantitis, a condition similar to advanced gum disease. However, with good care, failure is extremely unlikely as implant materials are biocompatible and durable.
- How long do implants last? They last for decades, unlike partial dentures and bridgework which may have a "shelf life" of around 10 years.
- When multiple teeth are missing, does a patient require multiple implants? A titanium screw can support a two or three unit bridge or even a full fixed or removable denture. Dr. Elton designs implant solutions according to individual patient need.
- What if a patient has an insufficient bone to support an implant? People who have worn dentures for a long time or have neglected to replace a missing tooth experience jawbone deterioration. However, this does not mean they cannot get dental implants. Skilled implant dentists such as Dr. Elton have ways to augment the jaw bone with donor tissue and other materials so the alveolar ridge is dense enough and big enough to accept one or more dental implants.
Dr. Peter Elton and his team are ready to answer any and all questions regarding this wonderful tooth replacement option and other issues related to restorative dental services. Call his Gig Harbor office today to schedule your personal consultation regarding dental implants: (360) 362-1572.