There are several problems that missing teeth can lead to if they are not treated. It can cause bite alignment issues, and your other teeth may move to fill the gap left by the missing tooth. Missing teeth can also lead to jawbone deterioration, which can result in additional missing teeth and a sunken looking face. To avoid these problems, the missing tooth or teeth must be replaced, and dental implants can be an effective option.
Dental Implant Basics
Dental implants are small, titanium anchors placed by a dentist into the jawbone. These anchors will act as a replacement root that will house the new prosthetic tooth. A crown, denture, or bridge will be attached to the implant. This will provide a restorative dentistry option that looks, feels, and functions like a natural tooth would.
Where are many purposes that a dental implant may fill, including:
- Maintaining the jawbone
- Replacing a missing tooth
- Replacing multiple missing teeth
- Anchoring a dental bridge
- Anchoring dentures
Types of Implant Procedures
There are a few options available for implants, and the right choice depends upon a number of teeth that have been lost. There are procedures for a single tooth, multi-tooth, lower arch, upper arch, and even full arch procedures. In some cases, mini implants may be used for smaller teeth such as incisors. Mini implants are more narrow than a typical implant and are often recommended when a pre-molar tooth needs stabilization.
Benefits of Dental Implants
There are a number of advantages that come from choosing teeth implants over other restorative dentistry options. We will look at some of these below.
Dental implants tend to both look and feel exactly like your natural teeth do. They are a permanent restorative dentistry option that is often completely undetectable to those around you.
Dentures that do not fit well can slip and cause speech issues like slurring of words. With a dental implant, these speech issues are not something you will ever have to be concerned about.
As a permanent restorative dentistry option, the discomfort that can be common with dentures is not something you need to worry about.
Improved eating ability
Dentures slip and slide in the mouth, which can make chewing more difficult than it should be. Dental implants work just like your normal teeth, so eating any of your favorite foods is possible.
Improved oral health
There is no requirement for alteration to your other teeth with a dental implant, unlike a bridge. This can help ensure the long-term health of those teeth. Also, a dental implant installed by a dental implants specialist contributes to reducing the risk of bone loss.
Dental implants can last for life, so long as you keep them properly cared for.
The removal and cleaning processes required with dentures are not needed with dental implants, which eliminates a significant amount of hassle.
Dental bridges and dentures require specialized cleaning, which is not true of dental implants. All implants require is traditional flossing and brushing.
Preservation of facial appearance
Since dental implants can help with preventing bone loss in the jaw, you will not have the sunken facial features that are common with missing teeth.
Candidacy for Dental Implants
An ideal dental implant candidate will be someone who has otherwise healthy gums and teeth, with enough bone density to support the implant. This person should also be committed to continuing good oral hygiene to avoid any further problems. Your dentist in Carmichael will also ask you to be willing to quit smoking during the implant process if you are not currently a non-smoker. The candidate should also be aware that the process can take many months and be willing to commit to this time in order to receive the implants.
You also should not be suffering from autoimmune diseases or uncontrolled diabetes, which can impact how quickly and efficiently you can heal. Those who have used a certain cancer treatment, bisphosphonate, will also not be ideal candidates.
One of the most important criteria is having enough bone structure to accommodate the implant. Those who lack enough jawbone density may find their implant dentist warning them that the implant may fail as the forces of chewing can cause problems.
However, in some cases, a bone graft can be undertaken by your Carmichael dentist which will restore enough bone density for the procedure. When you receive your consultation, the implants dentist will let you know if a bone graft is something you will need to undergo preceding the dental implant procedure.
Another major issue that can come up that determines candidacy for dental implants is the health of the gum. Those who have gum disease will need to have it treated before a dental implant can be placed in the mouth. However, after undergoing periodontal treatment, you will be able to move forward.
Dental Implant Procedure
The dental implant procedure is not simple and easy; it requires many different stages before it is complete. The process, on average, takes anywhere from four months up to nearly a year. If a bone graft is indicated, it will take even longer in most cases.
This can be daunting for many, but patience is needed. While it can take some time, the result at the end is well worth the wait. That is because dental implants installed by a restorative dentist are the best and most long-lasting option to replace your missing teeth.
For those who require a bone graft, a Carmichael dentist will use prepackaged and sterile bone particulate or a piece of bone from another part of your body to transplant into your jawbone. This procedure alone can take four to nine months to complete. However, this will eventually support your dental implant. If it comes to pass that only minor grafting is needed, the time may go down before you can get your implant.
Once that’s complete, your titanium implant will be placed into your jawbone surgically. After this is done, the area will need to heal for three to six months. This gives your jawbone time to fuse with the implant, making a permanent structure that works as a replacement tooth root. The process is called osseointegration.
After osseointegration is complete, you will return to your implant dentistry office. We will then install a titanium post, or abutment, which sticks out past the gum line and can hold your prosthetic tooth or implant crown.
After this has been completed, your gums will need approximately one to two weeks to heal. At that time, you will return to our office where your prosthetic tooth will be installed.
Your Carmichael dentist will take impressions of your natural teeth and mouth, which will be used to make the dental crown or prosthetic tooth. The dentists are able to adjust the color, shape, and size of the crown to match the look of your natural teeth. As such, the new tooth will blend in with your other teeth seamlessly. Once the crown has been attached to your abutment, the surgery is complete, and you will be able to use your new, functional replacement tooth.
Recovery from Dental Implant Surgery
You should expect some amount of bleeding and soreness of the gums in the weeks following dental implant installation. This surgery, like any major surgery, takes time to heal. However, there are some symptoms that you should watch for as they can be signs of more serious problems if they occur after the implant has healed. These are listed below:
- Problems chewing with the new implant
- Bleeding or sensitive gums
- Roughness or scratches on the crown surface
- Inflammation around the implant
- An implant that feels loose
- Receding gums around the implant
If any of these things occur several weeks after the final procedure, this is the time to speak with your dentist in Carmichael. However, gum disease is not known for causing pain until it is advanced, so it’s important to visit your restorative dentistry office for dental cleanings to catch this problem before it escalates.
When a dentist does find an infection in the gums around the implant, the dentist will treat it with root planing and scaling. This is done in largely the same way as it would be with a natural tooth, save for the fact that less abrasive tools will be used to avoid damaging the implant’s surface.
Although quite rare, some implants cause pain due to a traumatic occlusion. This means that the implant is absorbing too much force from the other teeth that it lines up with. This is typical because the implant has become misaligned or is slightly longer than the other teeth. If this is the case, our implant dentist will perform an occlusal adjustment, to realign the tooth and lower the amount of pressure on it.
Post Surgery Care
Many dentists recommend that you only drink cold liquids for 24 hours after an implant is installed. They also suggest that you avoid eating anything until the anesthetic has worn off of your mouth. Strenuous exercise should be avoided for 48 hours, and you should do what you can to avoid running your tongue over the implant.
Dental implants may cause some swelling for a few days, which is uncomfortable but will stop after 48 to 72 hours. You can use an ice pack wrapped in a towel if you experience discomfort. You should apply the pack for 10 minutes and then take a break of 20 minutes before you apply it again.
While there is usually not much pain with a dental implant, you may need to incorporate over the counter medications for minor pain. If you find that swelling or pain increase after three days, it is time to get in touch with your Carmichael dentist.
Dental Implant Maintenance
After receiving your dental implants, there are some changes you may want to make to your daily oral hygiene routine. You should ensure you are brushing twice a day and flossing daily. In addition to that, adding plaque-disclosing tablets, inter-dental brushes, and antimicrobial mouthwash to your routine can be an excellent idea.
Going in for regular cleanings is important if you’ve recently received a dental implant. The dentist at our Carmichael office can clean your teeth and implant with resin or plastic tools to avoid causing scratches to it. During the first year after your implant, it’s best to schedule a cleaning about every three months to prevent plaque from building up around the new titanium implant.
Another important thing to be aware of is that while dental implants look like natural teeth, they are different in major ways. Dental implants can grow into the jawbone at the bottom of the implant, while natural teeth are held in place by collagen fibers in your gums. With healthy gums, implants will be held in place, but gums are not able to integrate with an implant as they would with natural teeth.
What this boils down to is that your implant will be less effective at fighting any infections around the teeth. If the tissue around the implant is not kept clean, this can put you at risk for periodontal disease. Peri-implantitis us a disease that can infect the bone tissue near the implant, causing unsightly receding gum lines or loss of bone structure. That’s why it’s important to schedule regular restorative dentist appointments to check up on the implant. It’s also crucial to pay attention to the area around the implant in case any symptoms crop up.
Contact our Carmichael Dentist Office for Dental Implants
At Redford Dental Care, we have experience with all parts of the dental implant process. We are always happy to answer any of your questions. We are also available to set up a consultation, to determine if dental implants are right for you. Give us a call at 916-972-8851 or visit our online contact form.