Dental Implants 101: How Do They Work?

If you have lost a tooth (or teeth), a dental implant is a great way to replace the missing tooth. A dental implant blends in with existing teeth, helping to restore your smile. Dental implants may be an option if you have lost a tooth because of disease or injury. The American Dental Association calls implants one of the biggest advances in dentistry in the last 40 years.

How Do Dental Implants Work?


The dental implant is a titanium screw that Dr. Griffith surgically places in your jawbone. Once placed, that implant screw functions like the root of the missing tooth, holding the implant tooth in place. Over time the bone actually grows around the implant screw, creating a firm, stable foundation for the implant tooth.

Dr. Griffith then creates a custom tooth, called an implant or dental crown. Once the bone heals around the implant screw, Dr. Griffith attaches the implant crown to the implant. The implant crown is attached one of two ways:  1) directly on the implant screw, fastening it tightly into place, Or 2) the implant crown can be cemented on to an abutment, a connecting piece, that Dr. Griffith screws to the implant.

Dental implants can also be used to support dentures. They help to retain the denture and make it stronger and sturdier. If you have a denture already, implants can often still be placed and the denture adapted to attach to the implants.

What are the Benefits of Dental Implants?

Replacing a missing tooth with an implant improves your ability to chew. It also restores your smile. When you lose a tooth, your jawbone begins to shrink because of bone loss. The implant stops this bone loss from happening and even stimulates bone growth. The implant helps maintain your bone and gum health in that area of your mouth, and it helps keep nearby teeth stable. Dr. Griffith can place the implant precisely, and there is no damage to any of your healthy surrounding teeth. 

Once complete, the implant tooth looks and functions like a natural tooth in your mouth. You brush and floss the implant tooth in the same way you care for your natural teeth.

To be a good candidate for dental implants, you should be in overall good health. You need to have enough bone in the jaw to support the implant, along with healthy gum tissue. 

How Long Do Dental Implants Last?

When dental implants are cared for properly, with regular dental checkups and care, they can last a lifetime. For this reason, some people prefer implants as a good option over traditional dentures and bridges. The American Academy of Implant Dentistry reports that the success rate for the dental implant process is over 95%.

How Long Do Dental Implants Take to Install?

The timeline for installing a dental implant varies based on whether or not an existing tooth has to be removed before the implant procedure takes place. The implant process from start to finish can take several months. Our upcoming blog post covers the timeline for dental implants, describing what you can expect moving through the dental implant process step-by-step.

Interested in Dental Implants in Raleigh, North Carolina?

If you are interested in dental implants, contact us at Peace Street Dental today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Ryan Griffith.

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