Dental implants offer patients a natural-feeling, attractive alternative to dentures and bridges, helping men and women feel more self-confident following tooth loss. Dr. Matt Sahli is a leading provider of dental implants in Tukwila and Lacey, WA, using the most advanced techniques and state-of-the-art materials for patients at Sunrise Dental.

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What are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are devices used to replace natural teeth that have fallen out or have been extracted. They comprise a metal post that’s implanted into the jaw bone and an artificial tooth or crown that attaches to the post and is designed to look and feel like a natural, healthy tooth. Implants have become especially popular in recent years as men and women look for more comfortable, natural-feeling options following tooth loss.

What Happens During Implant Treatment?

The dental implant placement process typically takes three visits. At the first visit, the post is implanted into the jaw. Implants require a certain thickness of bone to remain stable once the crown is attached. If the bone in the jaw is too thin to support the implant, a bone graft procedure may be performed to augment the existing bone with a tiny piece of bone taken from another location in the mouth or with a sterile graft from a tissue bank. Once the post is in place, it will need to fuse with the bone in a process called osseointegration which can take several weeks. At the next appointment, a second piece called an abutment is attached. This piece securely attaches the crown to the post. An impression also will be taken and sent to the lab where the crown will be made. At the third visit, the crown will be attached to the abutment and gently shaped so it fits comfortably.

How Do Dental Implants Compare to Dentures and Bridges?

Implants offer several advantages over dentures and bridges:

  • They’re attached to the jaw so they can’t slip or cause sore spots.
  • They feel and function more like a natural tooth.
  • The metal post stimulates the natural bone replacement cycle in the jaw, helping to prevent bone atrophy and related tooth loss in the future.
  • They can be cared for just like a natural tooth with regular brushing and flossing and routine checkups to make sure the surrounding gum stays healthy.

How Long Will a Dental Implant Last?

With proper care, a dental implant can last indefinitely.