Dental Implants Specialist
Guy Mangia, DDS, serves dental patients in Sherman Oaks, CA, and surrounding areas of Los Angeles county. When a patient's tooth is lost because of decay or injury, dental implants are an ideal option for permanent tooth replacement. With a natural-looking dental implant, patients can eat, speak and smile with confidence, all without worrying about their teeth.
What are dental implants?
A dental implant consists of an artificial root and tooth. The root, which is typically made of titanium, is surgically attached to the jaw. A natural-looking artificial tooth is then attached to the new root, and it can be replaced without altering the root if the artificial tooth is damaged over the years.
Why get a dental implant?
Dental implants become a permanent part of the patient’s mouth and can be treated like natural teeth. They restore the structure to the gumline at the point a tooth was lost and prevent neighboring natural teeth from shifting. Unlike removable dentures, with a dental implant, patients do not have to worry about teeth getting loose or using special cleaning procedures. Besides restoring a beautiful smile, the benefits of dental implants include improved chewing, speech and stability for the remaining natural teeth.
Do dental implants look natural?
The artificial teeth used for dental implants are custom-made to match the color and shape of a patient’s natural teeth. Modern dental implants are difficult to distinguish from natural teeth in a patient’s smile.
What does the process of getting dental implants involve?
Getting a dental implant is a process that will require multiple office visits over several months.
To start, X-rays and molds of the jaw, gums, and remaining teeth are made. These measurements ensure that the mouth is healthy enough for an implant and that sufficient space is available for the new tooth.
Next, while the mouth is numbed, a titanium anchor will be surgically implanted in the jawbone, creating an artificial root. Depending on the type of implant, a second surgery may be necessary to attach the post that will hold the artificial tooth, though, for some people, the implants will be attached at the same time as the anchor. The mouth is allowed to heal for several weeks, up to six months, providing time for the anchor and post to integrate into the jaw.
After a few weeks of healing, the artificial tooth is custom-made and attached to the post. It may require multiple fittings to get the artificial tooth just right in size, shape, and position, so this step may take one to two months to complete. Once the mouth has completely healed, and the tooth has been fitted, the artificial tooth is securely attached to the titanium anchor, providing a stable, permanent, natural-looking new tooth.
With good oral care and regular dental checkups, dental implants can last for many years, though they made need occasional tightening or realignment.