The caps, or crowns, of the teeth are what people see and are aware of using, but the roots are vital to their facial shape and health. The roots stabilize the jaw bone tissue, and without them, the jaw bone recedes, causing the patient’s face to sag, and other teeth to weaken. Titanium or ceramic screws implanted into the jaw bone can reverse this damage, although there must be enough jaw tissue for them to fuse with. If patients lack the requisite jaw bone tissue, they may discuss a bone graft with the doctors.
Implants are inserted through an incision in the gum. The incision is sutured, and the patient is given about six months to heal, during which they are fitted with an artificial crown. The lengthy waiting period is necessary not because the surgical wound is extensive, but because it takes time for the jaw bone and artificial material to fuse together. (The scientific term for this is osseointegration.) When this is complete, an abutment will be screwed to the top of the implant, and one of the doctors will make an impression of the patient’s mouth to use as the blueprint for a custom-made artificial crown. The manufacturing process may take a few weeks, but at its end, the patient will have a sturdy new tooth which, if maintained like natural teeth should be, could last for decades. Multiple implants can be installed at once.
Drs. Mark and Lea Bram operate Bram Dental at 998 Old Country Rd, Suite 3, Plainview, New York, 11803. To set up an appointment, call 516-681-3322