Almost 70% of Americans aged 35-44 have at least one missing tooth and dentists place nearly 5 million dental implants each year as replacements for missing teeth. Nourhan Mekawy, DDS, offers dental implant services at Island Smile Dental Group in Levittown, New York. She provides comprehensive patient care programs designed to restore your confidence with a beautiful smile.
What is a Dental Implant?
A dental implant is a post screwed into the jawbone to act as an artificial tooth root when replacing one or more missing teeth. It’s the first part of tooth restoration, which is made up of the implant, an abutment, and the artificial tooth or teeth, which can be a crown, denture, or bridge. The implant creates a firm foundation for a replacement tooth. Dr. Mekawy uses them to anchor individual teeth, several teeth, and whole arches (meaning all teeth on the top or the bottom of your mouth). They can support removable dentures, too.
How is an implant placed in my mouth?
Dr. Mekawy has years of experience in placing dental implants. She will take the time to describe each option available to you and recommend the one most appropriate for you. Dental implant surgery takes several stages over several months. First, Dr. Mekawy places the implant or implants into your jawbone. It takes the bone 3-6 months to heal, so during this time, we will place a temporary crown so you can continue to speak, eat, and maintain your appearance. Once your mouth heals, Dr. Mekawy fits an abutment — the base on which your permanent artificial tooth will sit. She then takes a mold so that the restoration fits the abutment perfectly. Once the new tooth is complete, you return for a final fitting.
Implant Supported Bridges
An implant supported bridge is a restorative solution for spaces where three or more adjacent teeth are missing. This restoration typically requires two implants to support the porcelain bridge. The bridge provides a functional and aesthetic replacement for a patient’s natural teeth.
What are the advantages of an implant supported bridge?
Because of the natural look and feel of the porcelain and the functional stability provided by the implants, implant supported bridges are an effective solution to replace multiple missing teeth.
A traditional bridge uses teeth on either side of the gap where teeth are missing for support. An implant supported bridge uses two or more dental implants rather than the adjacent teeth. When a bridge uses natural teeth for attachment, the natural teeth must be prepped for crowns and are then subject to increased stress which may be damaging – particularly if the existing tooth, roots, or surrounding bone structure are already compromised. A dental implant supported bridge replaced your missing teeth and avoids putting any additional stress on your natural teeth.
Implant Supported Dentures
For patients who are missing many or all of their teeth, implant supported dentures may be an alternative to traditional dentures. This solution requires the placement of two or more implants. In order to replace a full arch denture, a minimum of four implants is generally recommended. Eligibility for this solution is dependent upon a number of factors, with jaw bone density being one of the most significant determining factors.
Traditional dentures rely on an acrylic base that sits directly on the gums, held in place by a paste or adhesive. Using implants as supports for dentures allows for a smaller and more comfortable base and less shifting of the prosthesis during use.
Implants can support both full and partial dentures as well as both fixed and removable dentures. If a removable denture is selected, the denture will “snap” on to the implant rather than requiring the use of denture paste or adhesives. Removable dentures can be taken out for cleaning at night.
Why should I consider implant-supported dentures over traditional dentures?
This technique offers many advantages over traditional dentures.
Easy to care for, this solution can simulate the look and feel of natural teeth and stay fixed in place with the implants acting as anchors. Patients will not experience the typical rocking and movement or gum irritation associated with dentures.
Dental implant placement can also help alleviate the sunken look that can occur with bone loss in the jaw by stimulating bone growth in the area around the implant. This process can also help prevent future bone loss.
Full Arch with 4 to 6 Implants
This procedure is a unique implant solution that allows patients with a completely edentulous (toothless) upper or lower arch to replace all of the teeth in that arch using only four implants as anchors.