Dental Implants Irvine, CA
Dr. Ursula Levine, DDS | Levine Dentistry, Inc.
When a natural tooth is lost, there are a few consequences that result. Normal functions, such as chewing and speaking, are usually affected. The surrounding teeth often begin to drift into the unoccupied space, affecting the alignment of the entire smile. In addition, without the normal forces provided by a tooth root, the bone tissue of the tooth’s socket is gradually lost, as the body naturally reabsorbs it.
Nearly all dentists consider the ideal restorative dentistry solution to be a dental implant, which replaces both the tooth root (that connects to the jawbone) and the tooth itself. Implants recreate the look, feel, and function of a natural healthy tooth. Using state-of-the-art technology and her advanced training and experience, Dr. Levine places dental implant crowns for her patients in Irvine.
Understanding Dental Implants
Dental implants have three parts: a biocompatible titanium post or screw that is placed in the jawbone to act like a tooth root, an artificial tooth (e.g., a dental crown) that sits on top of the gums, and a connector piece called an abutment that holds the two together.
Because implant posts are placed in the jawbone, where they fuse with the surrounding bone tissue, they are extremely strong and stable. Unlike dentures and bridges, which provide little force to the bone, implants transmit the forces of chewing to the underlying bone, which stimulates the bone to prevent the body from absorbing it.
Dental implants may be a great option for you if you are in good general health, do not smoke, do not have any serious medical conditions that could affect the healing process, and have a strong enough jawbone to support an implant post. If your jawbone has already deteriorated significantly because of a tooth that has been missing for a while, it may be necessary to first perform a bone graft to strengthen the bone of the area. Once the bone tissue has healed, then a dental implant can be placed.
The Placement and Restoration of Dental Implants
Careful planning is essential to the success of dental implants. During the planning process, the mouth is carefully examined and X-rays are taken to determine the structure of the jawbone. The placement of the implant post is mapped out based on the shape and strength of the available bone tissue. In addition, measurements are taken of the surrounding teeth in order to craft the artificial tooth that will top the implant post.
During the implant placement procedure, anesthesia is used to ensure patient comfort. The implant is carefully inserted into the proper place in the jawbone, and the gum tissue is placed back over it. Next, the process of osseointegration is allowed to take place. During this process, the jawbone will naturally fuse with the implant. Osseointegration typically takes three to four months, depending on the patient.
Once the implant has successfully fused with the jawbone and the permanent restoration is ready, a second procedure is performed. The abutment is attached to the implant, and then the permanent restoration (crown, bridge, or denture) is attached to the abutment. At this point, the restoration will function very much like a normal tooth. It will be very secure, and can be used for biting and chewing without worrying about slippage.
Caring for an implant is not much different from caring for a natural tooth. It should be brushed and flossed daily along with the rest of your teeth. At your regular check-ups, Dr. Levine will examine the implant, to check for potential problems and to ensure that the restoration feels comfortable. With the right care, an implant can last for many years.
Learn More about Dental Implants Irvine, CA
Dental implants are strongly preferred by both patients and dentists as the ideal replacement for a missing tooth. To learn more about dental implants, please contact our office to request an informational consultation with Dr. Levine. Because of her aesthetic eye as well as her strong technical skills, many patients choose her to place their dental implants in Irvine. Call 949-727-9600 or email our practice today to make your appointment.