If you have lost teeth and have gaps in your smile, or just don’t seem to be able to chew very well due to missing teeth, you might want to consider replacing those teeth with implants. It is one of the best and most reliable methods to restore your mouth and provide you with a great smile and a good bite for chewing food.

Implants have been around for a long time and the technology has gotten better. You can actually have a tooth pulled and place an implant in the vacant tooth socket all at the same visit. If you are missing a tooth or teeth, the process is only different in that the dentist will have to drill a very specific sized conical-shaped hole in the bone. The implant is then fitted to this space and screwed into the bone. It might sound bad, but it is really less painful and traumatic than having a tooth pulled. There is no pushing and shoving or “pulling”, only slight pressure from the drill and then the placement of the implant .

After the implant is placed it has to heal which involves the implant actually fusing or joining to the bone. In the top of your mouth (maxilla) this can take anywhere from 4 to 6 months whereas in the bottom of  your mouth it only takes 2 or 3 months to heal. Once it has healed, the implant is uncovered and an abutment is screwed into the implant. In most cases you don’t even have to be numb to have this done. The abutment is checked for how it fits in your mouth and if necessary is adjusted (outside of your mouth) and prepared for an impression. This part is actually just like you had a regular tooth and were having it fixed for a crown. Once everything is correct with the abutment, an impression is made of it. Then a temporary crown is made for the abutment. When the permanent crown comes back from the dental laboratory, it is fitted, checked and permanently cemented into place. You are now ready to get down to some serious chewing.

This implant procedure can be done for bridges, multiple crowns or in most places where you are missing teeth. The implants can even be fixed to have a small bar made that is screwed into the implant. Then a denture (top or bottom or both) can be fitted to the bar. This makes the dentures fit tightly and it will not come loose when you are chewing or talking.

There are even mini implants which can be used to help keep dentures in place. The small implants are placed in the upper or lower jaw then the dentures is fitted with female attachments which fit into the mini implants. This technique holds the dentures in place very well and is not as expensive as the full size implants.

So implants can be used in most places of your mouth to repair or replace teeth which you are missing. They can be made as a single tooth or several teeth or fitted with different parts to help hold your dentures in place. The variations and possible combinations numerous. This make the implants one of the most flexible methods of replacing your teeth.