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What are Dental Implants?

Husband and wife smiling after dental implant restoration by Anchorage Dentist at Spalding Dental.

Dental implants are the closest dental restoration to your original teeth.

Your teeth are an integral component of your mouth, allowing you to perform numerous important functions. One of the main functions of your teeth is biting and chewing. They are also important for proper speech, the health of your jawbone, and for a beautiful, confident smile. When you suffer tooth loss, all of the functions of your teeth and more are affected. At Spalding Dental, we can replace your missing teeth, restoring the functions of your teeth, your smile, and your quality of life with implants.

Plastic Model of a jaw with a dental implant replacement tooth used by Anchorage Dentist at Spalding Dental.

What are dental implants?

Dental implants are a treatment designed to replace missing teeth. Whether your tooth was extracted or for some other reason. This treatment is unlike any other tooth replacement option. Dental implants are a titanium post that we can surgically secure to your jaw bone to serve as a firm base to permanently attach a partial or full denture to. This is a surgical reconstruction of the tooth root, creating a middle connection between the bone and tooth. The end result has both obvious and less obvious, though very important, benefits. The obvious results include a denture that stays in place, and allows you to have a very similar feel in chewing and function as your own natural teeth once did. The less obvious result is maintaining the health of your bone. Patients who have lost teeth suffer an immediate and degrading bone atrophy of their jaw bone, resulting in their facial shape changing to a smaller, and older appearance.

The surgical placement of dental implants is a minimally invasive procedure that is approved for many patients, even those who are medically delicate. Surgery does require a patient to be able to heal in a timely matter, and there are conditions that can prevent that such as diabetes or patients who smoke. These conditions and more does not eliminate you as a candidate but may require adjustments, or working with your physician to change medications or make other alterations. We are happy to work with our patients to help them reach this goal.

Versatility for Numerous Needs

Dental implants are an incredibly versatile treatment. They can be used for replacing a single tooth, or they can be used if you are missing several teeth. Types of dental implants include
•  Single tooth. A single tooth implant uses one post to support a single crown. It is possible to have more than one single tooth implants, whether they are in different areas of your mouth or right next to one another.
•  Multiple teeth. A multiple teeth implant, or implant supported bridge, is often used to replace two or more consecutive missing teeth. The number of posts necessary varies from patient to patient depending upon the number of teeth missing and the condition of the bone mass.
•  Full arch replacement or implant supported denture. A full arch replacement, also called an implant supported denture or overdenture, is designed to replace an entire arch of teeth. A full arch replacement generally uses 6 to 8 implant posts to support the dental restorations.

What if I Lack Enough Bone Mass?

For implants to be successful, you need to have sufficient bone mass in your jaw. However, after you lose teeth, your jawbone begins to lose mass and grow weak. If the bone is too weak, it cannot support the posts or provide your restorations with the necessary stability they need. In many cases, a bone graft may be required.

How are Dental Implants Placed?

Dental implants require a surgical procedure to be placed. After administering a local anesthetic, and sedation if necessary, we make small incisions in your gums to expose the bone underneath. We then drill small holes into the jawbone and place the posts directly inside. Finally, the gums are sutured closed, and temporary teeth are set into place.

As you recover, a process that can take several weeks to several months, we closely monitor your progress, ensuring that your bone is fusing properly and that there are no complications. Once you have fully healed, we then create your final restorations and set them in place. After removing your temporary teeth, we take an impression of your mouth. The impression is used to custom design your new teeth and bring them to life. When they are finished, they are checked for fit and bite and screwed into place.

The Benefits of Dental Implants

Dental implants provide many amazing benefits, including
•  A more natural appearance.
•  Feeling and functioning just like your real teeth.
•  Greater comfort. Your teeth are supported by the posts rather than your adjacent teeth or gums.
•  They can be brushed and flossed just like real teeth.
•  The posts stop and prevent bone loss in your jaw, helping to maintain its strength and integrity.

The Drawbacks to Implants

While there are many benefits to dental implants, there are a few factors that need to be considered as well.
•  You will need to undergo surgery.
•  There is a recovery period involved that can take up to several months.
•  If you do not have enough bone mass, you may require a bone graft.
•  Implants can be expensive.

If you are interested in learning more about implants for replacing your missing teeth and if you are a candidate for dental implants, call Spalding Dental at (907) 276-7366 to schedule your consultation today.
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Spalding Dental's accepts Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alaska, United Concordia Dental, Delta Dental, Aetna, Moba Health, Cigna, Tricare and Medicaid insurance providers

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