Do you have a missing tooth? Multiple missing teeth? Do you have a partial or even complete denture? Dental implants are the new gold standard for tooth replacement and the best way to get your smile back to tip-top shape. Tooth loss occurs for various reasons, including large cavities, gum disease, trauma, fractures, and even sometimes, a tooth may not erupt.
Gone are the days when a flipper, partial or complete denture is needed to replace missing teeth. Dental implants are all around a better option for function and aesthetics.
What is a Dental Implant?
A dental implant is an artificial structure which is screw-like that is placed into the bone to function as a tooth root. A dental crown is later attached to the top of the dental implant to form a fully functioning tooth once the dental crown has fully fused to the bone. The screw is typically made out of titanium, and the crown is made out of porcelain. Dental implants can be used for one tooth or multiple missing teeth. In the case of an entire arch of missing teeth, dental implants can be used to support a fixed denture or implant-supported denture, which means that the denture always stays in place and doesn’t require daily removal.
For a dental implant to work for you, it is essential to maintain a healthy mouth and healthy body. Dental implants are at risk of failing if there is active gum disease, bone loss, or if they aren’t being taken care of with proper brushing and flossing. In addition, an implant is at a higher risk of failure if there are underlying health conditions that aren’t being maintained, such as diabetes with an uncontrolled blood sugar level. Smoking is also a factor in dental implant failures.
Dental Implant Procedure
When a tooth has been missing for a long time, a bone graft will likely need to be placed before the implant to allow enough bone support. Bone grafting strengthens and solidifies the bone, and the graft can be taken from another site, synthetic tissue or even donor tissue. After a bone graft is placed, it will take a few months to heal and integrate into place.
When the implant is ready to be placed, the gum will be opened to expose the bone. A small diameter hole will be drilled into the bone to allow the implant to thread through. The implant is placed somewhat deep into the bone where there will be the most support. Usually, dental implants will take several months to heal and integrate into the bone before the crown can be placed on top to allow for chewing pressure. A temporary crown will be placed in the meantime. The length of the procedure from start to finish can range from a few months to almost a year, depending if bone grafting is necessary and how many implants are being done.
Post Care for Dental Implants
Just like any other dental surgery, you may have some pain, swelling, bruising and minor bleeding after the procedure. You may be given a prescription for pain medication and an antibiotic. Post-care symptoms will gradually improve within the next week.
If you have any questions about dental implants or believe you may benefit from them, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule an appointment.