Dental implants command attention among patients and oral health care providers. Gaining popularity over the past few decades, these innovative tooth replacements not only look and function as real teeth do, but they exercise and improve the quality and quantity of the jaw bone. In Kalamazoo, Dr. Mark Richardson uses dental implants to restore smiles damaged by tooth loss. Are implants right for you?
What is a dental implant?
A dental implant is a prosthetic device which helps people who have lost one or more teeth normalize their appearance and oral function. Whether you need one replacement tooth or an entire arch, dental implants are the best option because they feature titanium roots inserted right into the jaw bone. That's right--into the jaw bone. So, when you bite and chew on your new tooth, it keeps the bone strong and dense just as a natural tooth does.
Are dental implants right for you?
Millions of Americans have dental implants. Even if you are missing several or even all your teeth, implant-supported prosthetics, such as bridges or dentures, may restore your smile to full function and excellent aesthetics.
At his Kalamazoo office, Dr. Richardson will evaluate your oral health and your jaw bone density via three-dimensional scanning, X-rays and a visual examination. You need enough bone mass to secure your implant. If you are a good candidate, you will be referred to an oral surgeon to have the dental implant placed.
A dental implant has three parts: a titanium metal screw, a metal abutment and a custom-crafted porcelain crown. The titanium screw resides in the jaw bone, providing the rest of the artificial tooth the stability and durability it needs for day to day function.
Because the implant device is made of titanium, it bonds well with the surrounding bone. The bonding process is called osseointegration, and it practically guarantees the long-term retention of this amazing tooth replacement. The Institute for Dental Implant Awareness reports a 95 percent success rate for implant procedures.
Patience is key to implant success, too. Osseointegration cannot be rushed; so once the implant is inserted, you must wait several weeks to months for the site implant to bond with the jawbone. Once it has bonded, Dr. Richardson will complete your dental implant with a dental crown.
In addition, you increase the chances of implant success if:
- You are a non-smoker
- Brush twice a day and floss once a day at home according to American Dental Association guidelines
- Get semi-annual check-ups and professional cleanings with Dr. Richardson and his team
- Avoid clenching and grinding your teeth by wearing a mouth guard at night and practicing relaxation techniques
Say "So long" to those worrisome and unsightly smile gaps. Say "Hello" to state-of-the-art dental implants and a great smile. For a personal consultation with Dr. Richardson, call his office staff today at (269) 343-6907.