What are dental implants?
Dental implants are the best solution to replace a missing tooth or teeth. Implants get their name from the titanium “implant,” a screw-shaped prosthetic that is placed into the hole formerly occupied by the natural tooth root. Once placed, the jawbone accepts and grows around the implant, making it a part of the bone. A post is attached to the implant and an artificial tooth to the post. Dental implants function exactly like a natural tooth, and they don’t impact surrounding teeth as bridges do.
Why do I need to replace a missing tooth?
After losing a tooth due to excessive decay or an accident, it can be tempting to not replace it. But this can lead to bigger problems with your oral health.
- Your teeth stay in place due to pressure exerted from the adjacent teeth on each side. When a tooth is missing, the adjacent teeth slide over into the gap. This creates problems with your overall alignment and bite.
- Chewing and biting create a good deal of bite force energy. This energy transfers down through the teeth into the jawbone. This energy stimulates the jawbone to continually regenerate new bone mass, the key to a healthy jaw. When a tooth or teeth are missing, the jawbone doesn’t receive that energy and begins to deteriorate below the missing teeth. That’s why people missing all of their teeth can look as if their jawbone is collapsing inward.
- Missing teeth can be cosmetically embarrassing. Plus, they can make a person avoid certain foods such as nuts because of difficulty chewing. This can lead to nutritional deficiencies.
Am I a good candidate for dental implants?
What’s important for a person seeking a dental implant is jawbone mass and density. As mentioned above, missing teeth can lead to jawbone deterioration and loss of bone mass. If the patient has waited a length of time before having a missing tooth or teeth replaced, the jawbone may not have enough mass to adequately hold an implant. In these cases, the patient will need one or more jawbone graft procedures to make it ready for implants. Otherwise, as long as the patient doesn’t have another dental issue such as gum disease, most people of all ages are good candidates for implants.
Dental Implants Advantages
- Dental implants behave exactly like a natural tooth, so the patient can eat any foods and chew normally.
- Unlike bridges, where adjacent “abutment teeth” need to be crowned to anchor the bridge holding the false tooth or teeth, implants stand alone.
- Implants keep adjacent teeth from moving.
- Dental Implants have a 90 to 95% success rate and can last for decades, giving the patient back his or her smile and the ability to eat any foods.
- Implants are load-bearing teeth, so you don’t have to avoid chewing or biting with them. Plus, they transfer energy down into the jawbone just as natural teeth do.
What is the process of placing a dental implant?
At the Center for Implant & Esthetic Dentistry, we begin the implant process with a full oral exam, including x-rays and a CT scan. This will determine if you have sufficient jawbone mass to support the implant. If you do, then the implant process includes four steps.
- Placement: First, the titanium implant is placed into hole formerly occupied by the tooth root. We may have to drill a small hole into the jawbone to prepare it. The implant is shaped like a screw and is inserted in that fashion.
- Osseointegration: The jawbone must then grow around the implant, making it a part of the jaw. This process takes from three to six months.
- Abutment: When the jawbone has fully grown around the implant, you return and we attach a small metal post, called an abutment, to the implant. The gum tissue is allowed to heal for around six weeks.
- Placing the crown: The final step is to place a custom-made porcelain crown onto the abutment. The crown is made to match the color and shape of the surrounding teeth so, once placed, it fits in naturally.
Single Implant Crown
A dental implant is placed into the jawbone and usually left undisturbed for a period of time to allow osseointegration (attachment to the bone). After the implant integrates, it acts as a new root for the crown that will replace your missing tooth. A crown (cap), which is made to look like a natural tooth, is attached to the implant and fills the space left in the mouth by the missing tooth.
Implant Fixed Partial Denture
Sometimes called a bridge, they replace multiple missing teeth. Using state of the art material they feel and look completely natural. Just like their single unit counterparts, they are a conservative treatment modality as they do not require work on the adjacent teeth in order to support the replacement tooth.
Do you have loose ill-fitting dentures that are not comfortable? An overdenture might be the perfect choice for you! Utilizing two or more implants the dentures are stabilized for added comfort, better social confidence, and higher chewing efficiency. Overdentures were developed to help both partial and fully edentulous patients regain their quality of life, making uncomfortable dentures a thing of the past!
The hybrid restoration is referred to as a hybrid because it combines the advantages of a fixed replacement with those of a removable denture. A hybrid denture requires placing four or more dental implants in the jaw. Then, a specially customized set of teeth is attached to the implants. The hybrid restoration is fixed and can only be removed by a dentist.
Is a dental implant procedure painful?
After dental implant placement, patients may experience some of the following symptoms: minimal swelling on the gums and face; minimal bruising on the skin; minimal discomfort on the gum area where the implant was placed and minor bleeding. It is recommended that patients eat soft foods and refrain from heavy exercise for a few days after the procedure. Patients are always provided with Post-op instructions pertinent to their procedure.
Dental Implant Recovery
Many people return to work following a single day of rest after dental implant placement. There is no rule that requires taking time off from work during the recovery time for dental implant placement, however, avoiding overexertion for a few days helps the body recover quickly. Dentists encourage their patients to listen to their bodies and rest if necessary.
Dental Implant Maintenance
Because dental implants are anchored into the jaw, just as natural teeth are, they behave exactly like natural teeth. This applies to hygiene as well. You care for your implant just as you do your natural teeth — twice daily brushing and flossing are all that is required.
How long do implants last?
Dental implants can last the remainder of the patient’s life. As long as you are diligent with your home hygiene, there is no reason your implant won’t last for decades.
Will I have temporary teeth while my dental implants are healing?
A prosthodontist, specializing in full mouth restorations, will determine if it is necessary to place a temporary prosthesis, especially if the area is visible when the patient talks or smiles during the healing process.
Will my tooth be sensitive to hot or cold food/drinks?
Patients with dental implants should not be sensitive to hot or cold foods or beverages. A prosthodontist, with an additional three years of dental school, specializing in dental implant restorations will ensure perfectly fitted teeth.
Millions of people in the United States suffer tooth loss, mostly as a result of tooth decay or gum disease. In the past, dentures and bridges were the only options available for patients to regain a complete smile. Today, people with missing teeth have another option – dental implants.
What are dental implants?
Dental implants are tooth root replacements. They provide a foundation for (fixed or removable) replacement teeth that attached to the implants.
What are the benefits of using dental implants?
Dental implants feel and look like natural teeth. They are permanent because they are anchored into your jawbone, just as your natural teeth were. Implants enable you to speak without having to worry that your teeth might slip, as can happen with dentures. Implants also allow you to eat any type of food without pain. They are durable and last many years; with care, they can even last the rest of your life. Plus, since they are anchored in your jawbone, implants create the same forces that stimulate bone growth as your natural teeth do. So, a lost tooth doesn’t necessarily mean bone loss if it is replaced with an implant.
Can anyone get dental implants?
In most instances, anybody who is healthy enough to go through a tooth extraction or oral surgery is a good candidate for a dental implant. It is important for the patient to have enough jawbone mass, along with healthy gums, to hold the dental implant. Patients should also be committed to regular dental visits and proper oral hygiene. Smokers and those with chronic diseases such as heart disease or diabetes must be thoroughly assessed by Dr. Mahallati to determine if they are good candidates for dental implants.
What happens during dental implant placement?
The first step is the placement of the tooth root implant, a small titanium post, into the bone socket of the missing tooth. The jawbone slowly heals and grows around the implanted post, securely anchoring it in the jaw. This step can take six to 12 weeks.
An abutment (a small connector post) is attached to the metal post once the implant has successfully bonded to the jawbone. Dr. Mahallati will then make impressions of your teeth to guide the fabrication of the new tooth or teeth. A model of your bite will also be created. Next, the replacement tooth, also known as a crown, is attached to the abutment.
Some patients have several individual crowns while others may have attachments on the implant that can support a removable denture. Dr. Mahallati will ensure that your new teeth match the color of your natural teeth.
Is dental implant placement a painful procedure?
The majority of our patients say that there is very minimal discomfort during the procedure. Local anesthesia keeps any pain at bay. Most patients report that dental implant placement involves less pain than a routine dental extraction. In case of any soreness after the procedure, over-the-counter pain medications may be taken.
How do I take care of my dental implants?
Caring for dental implants is similar to caring for natural teeth. You have to brush and floss properly and visit your dentist regularly.