While regular brushing, flossing, and checkups allow many of us to maintain our natural smiles for a lifetime, sometimes our teeth just can't keep up. If you've lost a tooth (or a few teeth) due to injury or disease, dental implants from Dr. Tim McNamara at Mid-Columbia Dental can rejuvenate both your smile and your oral health.
What is an implant?
An implant is a synthetic tooth root in the shape of a post that Dr. McNamara surgically places into the jawbone. The synthetic root is usually made of titanium: the same material used in many replacement hips and knees, and a metal that is well suited to pairing with human bone. Dr. McNamara will then attach an implant restoration (crown) to the synthetic root. The restoration can be either permanently attached or removable, though permanent restorations are more stable and feel more like natural teeth.
Implants are versatile. If you are only missing one tooth, one implant plus one implant restoration will do the trick. If you are missing several teeth in a row, Dr. McNamara clan place a few implants to support a permanent bridge (a set of replacement teeth). Similarly, if you have lost all of your teeth, he can permanently affix a full bridge or full denture in your mouth with a strategic number of implants.
Implants, Dentures, or Bridges: Which is right for me?
If you are a non-smoker who has good oral health, including a sufficient amount of bone in the jaw, and healthy gums with no sign of gum disease, an implant may be your best option for tooth replacement.
There are several advantages to dental implants, making them a popular choice at our Kennewick, WA dental office.
- Stability: Conventional bridges and dentures are not fixed to the bone, and can therefore be unstable. This can make it difficult to eat or smile with confidence. Implants not only look more natural, but also feel and act more like normal teeth, with a stronger biting force.
- Better Health: Implants also don't directly rely on neighboring teeth for support, so they don't compromise the health of your natural teeth.
- Longevity: Implants, if taken care of properly, typically last a lifetime, whereas a bridge may only last seven to ten years.
Caring for Your Implant
Consider your dental implants to be the same as natural teeth. They require the same daily brushing and flossing, and the same amount of regular checkups and cleanings at our Kennewick dental office. Just like your natural teeth, the better you take care of your implants, the longer they will last.