As one of Orange County’s award-winning “Super Dentists,” Dr. Fotinos is a top provider of dental implants, helping men and women throughout Orange County, CA, feel more comfortable and more confident following tooth loss. Dr. Fotinos uses the most advanced approaches to dental implant procedures, ensuring each patient achieves a superior outcome.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are metal posts that are inserted into the jaw bone where they act as a tooth root to secure an artificial tooth or crown. Implants can be used to replace teeth lost to decay, disease or trauma, and they can also be used to secure dentures or bridges. Originally the first dental implants (the 1980’s) had two parts: the fixture (which goes screwed into the bone) and the abutment (where the prosthetic crown is cemented). The improvements in new ceramic materials made it possible in 2000 to have the abutment part made of ceramic.
How Is an Implant Placed?
Implants usually require three visits for placement. During the first visit, an incision is made in the gum, and the post is inserted into the jaw bone. When the bone is not strong enough to support the implant, a bone graft procedure may be performed to augment the existing bone with a small amount of bone taken from elsewhere in the mouth or from a donor. Several weeks will pass to allow the implant and graft to fuse with the surrounding bone. At the second appointment, a special piece called an abutment will be attached to the post. The abutment will attach the crown to the post, so they fit securely. An impression will also be made during this appointment and sent to the lab where the implant will be created. At the third visit, the crown will be attached to the post and adjusted for a comfortable, natural fit. The steps are similar for attaching a denture or bridge.
Are Implants Hard to Care For?
No, one of the advantages of implants is that they can be treated just like natural teeth, with regular brushing and flossing to keep the gums surrounding them clean and free of disease. While the tooth itself cannot decay, the gums can still become diseased, and routine brushing and flossing combined with regular dental checkups every six months is the best way to keep the gums healthy and to prevent the implant from becoming loose. As is the case with natural teeth, you and your dentist must work as a team to ensure the longevity of your dental implant. While replacement teeth can’t get cavities, they are subject to the same wear-and-tear as natural teeth. Well-placed and cared for dental implants have the potential to last a lifetime.