Dental implants are natural looking teeth attached to titanium posts inserted into your bone. These posts act like the roots of your teeth and will allow patients to eat, speak, and smile with even more confidence.
By filling in the void left by your natural root, they maintain your facial bone structure and allow for a natural appearance.
Bone loss begins immediately when you lose a natural tooth and its root. The first year after a tooth is removed or lost, your jaw bone will recede up to one-quarter of an inch. This causes reduced support from your facial bones and makes you look like you are prematurely aging.
The most common form of an implant, it copies the size and shape of a natural tooth from root to tip.
To insert a root implant, your dentist will administer local anesthesia then make an incision into the gum to expose the area of your jawbone the implant will be inserted. Next, the implant will be inserted and then the gums will be sewn up and a topical medication may be applied.
You may be given prescriptions for antibiotics or pain relief and sent home with guidelines to follow for recovery. As part of the healing your mouth goes through, your jawbone will complete a process called osseointegration. This is the term used to describe the process of your jawbone merging with the dental root implant.
Once that process is finished, you can return to your local dentist to have the custom dental crown fitted to the rooted implant.
In some cases, a patient’s jawbone is not of a sufficient size or structure for a standard root implant. When this issue arises, the plate form implant can be anchored into thinner bones.
The procedure is much like the root implant insertion, but can sometimes have the crown fitted during the procedure instead of waiting until after osseointegration takes place.
In situations where a patient’s jawbone that can’t sustain a regular implant, subperiosteal implants are used.
These implants are placed on top of the jawbone and end up embedded in the gum tissues.
The procedure for subperiosteal is a little different. A mold of the jawbone and mouth are made while you are under local anesthesia to create a custom piece for implantation.
When that is completed, a second appointment will take place where your dentist exposes the jawbone and inserts the subperiosteal implant over it. After the procedure, the gums will take several months to naturally grow up and around the implant
As with any oral surgery, complications from implant dentistry can happen but are rare. These can include slight nerve damage, infection, and mild to medium pain and discomfort.
Infections are usually treated with antibiotics as needed. Any minor nerve damage typically corrects itself in a matter of weeks. Any discomfort can be treated with prescription or over the counter meds depending on the severity. Most pain subsides in less than 2 weeks.
When you have a dental implant, it is essential that you maintain an excellent hygiene routine. Avoid smoking during the healing process as it will delay proper healing.
Clean your teeth and gums regularly to avoid infections or other complications. If not, bacteria byproducts can cause swollen gums and even destroy the bone that supports the implant. If this happens, the implant’s foundation will weaken and potentially lead to failure of the dental implant. Failure of a dental implant can ultimately mean that it has to be removed.
With the proper surgical placement, routine implant maintenance, and diligent oral care, your implants can last for a very long time.
Implants replace teeth in a way that no other cosmetic option can accomplish. Besides maintaining your facial bone structure, they are stronger than your natural root and don’t require root canals or fillings. Additionally, implants don’t require neighboring teeth to be drilled on as is the case with a dental bridge.
When it comes to quality of life, people are tired of compromising. They want to eat, smile and laugh with complete confidence whether at work or out with friends. Whether it’s just a few teeth or a set of dentures supported with implants you’ll be able to keep living life the way you are used to, without the compromising.
Simply put, dental implants can be one of the best solutions for missing teeth.
If you think dental implants may be the direction you’d like to go, contact our office today to get started on the path of a perfect smile and longer lasting youthful appearance.