Do you have damaged or missing teeth? Do you want a tooth replacement option that isn’t dentures or bridgework? If so, dental implants may be perfect for your smile! Implants are modern marvels that effectively replace tooth roots, allowing your “new” teeth to function, feel, and look like your natural teeth. And if you have a strong jawbone that can support this type of tooth replacement, then dental implants may be the solution for your needs!
One of the reasons cited by people who chose dental implants is that they provide the best possible support for the replacement tooth (once the bone heals around the implant, which takes months to complete). You might be a good candidate for dental implants if you have sufficient jaw bone density, healthy gums, health that can support bone healing, don’t smoke and are willing to commit to several months as healing happens.
Preparing for a Dental Implant
Our team is happy to provide a thorough evaluation to prepare for your dental implant process. It starts with a comprehensive exam of your mouth using dental X-rays and 3D images, along with models made of your teeth and jaw. We will also go over your medical history, evaluate your current medical condition and look at current medications. Next, a treatment plan will be created and customized to your needs (how many teeth need replacing, the type of fit, etc.). To make the surgery as comfortable as possible, you will receive anesthesia or sedation. Dental implant surgery is typically performed on an outpatient basis, and then healing takes place before your tooth can be restored.
Dental Implant Process
Treatment involves removing the damaged tooth (or teeth) and getting the jawbone ready with a bone graft to beef up the jawbone before your implant surgery takes place. Because the implant post will function as the tooth root, it will be placed deep into your jawbone. After that comes osseointegration, where the jawbone grows and fuses with the dental implant post while healing.
Next, we prepare for the abutment to support your artificial tooth placement like a crown. Getting a dental implant typically takes months from the start and is dependent on your healing process (and jaw bone growth) to provide a supportive base for your dental implant. This abutment is attached to the dental implant post to support the crown as a replacement tooth once the jawbone is strong enough.
Your artificial teeth can be removable, fixed or both. Removable teeth are much like dentures and can be either a partial or full denture attached to your dental implant abutment. Removable teeth can be taken out to clean and repair. A fixed artificial tooth is permanently attached to one implant abutment for several teeth or as a bridge creating one implant.
Protect Your Dental Implant and Smile
Dental implants are a wonderful alternative to dentures if you want something solidly supportive that looks like your natural teeth. You will want to take good care of your oral health by cleaning your implants, artificial teeth and gum tissues as you would normally.
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush, a low-abrasive toothpaste, dental floss, or an interdental brush that easily maneuvers between teeth to clear out oral debris from tooth surfaces and metal posts.
- Visit your dentist routinely for cleanings and exams to make sure your implants are working.
- If you tend to grind your teeth and clench your jaw while you sleep, a mouth guard may be needed to help you combat that unconscious habit. A sleep guard can protect your dental implant by distributing the occlusal load from your biting force.
Call to Learn More
If you are considering dental implants, we invite you to give our oral and maxillofacial surgery team a call to learn more. Your smile can look and feel healthy and strong again!