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Posted on: August 7, 2020
Are Dental Implants Right for You?
What Should I Know About Dental Implants?
Dental implants act as replacements for a tooth’s anchoring roots. After being surgically implanted into the jawbone, dental implants provide a strong base for artificial teeth or an implant-supported bridge. Depending on the restoration you need, dental implants can replace one or more missing teeth. They can also replace an entire set of lower and upper teeth. Because they function, fit, and feel just like natural teeth, dental implants have become the gold standard for tooth replacement.
The primary types of dental implants are subperiosteal and endosteal. Subperiosteal implants are placed above the jawbone, just under the gums. This is the most common implant placement. Endosteal implants, on the other hand, are inserted directly into the jawbone.
Dental implant restorations have three parts:
- The post, also known as the body of the implant, is the part that’s inserted directly into the jawbone and beneath the gums. It acts as a replacement for the missing tooth roots. The post is made of titanium, which is biocompatible with the body.
- The abutment is the connecting piece that’s attached to the body of the implant. This is the part that allows the crown or other replacement option to be securely attached to the implant.
- The crown is custom-made and is the part of the replacement tooth that’s visible. It’s attached to the abutment and restores complete function of the tooth, creating a natural-looking smile.
What Is the Procedure for Dental Implants?
Dental implant surgery requires multiple outpatient procedures over the course of several months. Since healing time is needed between every procedure, each appointment must be spaced out throughout several months. You’ll receive anesthesia to ensure that you feel comfortable during each procedure.
The first step involves scheduling a consultation at our office. During this appointment, X-rays are taken and your dentist will carefully examine your mouth to determine if dental implants are right for you.
If there are teeth in the locations where the implants will be placed, they will be extracted before proceeding. In addition, if you have inadequate bone tissue in your jaw, a bone graft must be performed. A strong jawbone is needed to support the dental implant. The healing time for a bone graft is several months. However, not every patient requires these two steps.
During placement of the dental implants, an incision is made into the gum tissue to reveal the bone underneath. Then, holes are drilled where the implants will be inserted. After securely placing the titanium implant into the bone, the area is sutured so healing can begin. The healing phase usually takes several months since an important process called osseointegration must occur. This is when the implant and the bone fuse together to create a strong foundation for the implant. Osseointegration takes place over a period of several months.
Once the jawbone and implant have fused together, the abutment is attached to the implant during a minor surgical procedure. Once the soft tissue heals, typically over a period of two weeks, dental impressions are created during your next appointment. The impressions are sent to a dental laboratory where a customized crown is created. The final step of the procedure involves attaching the crown securely to the abutment.
Will I Need a Bone Graft?
Not all patients require a bone graft before receiving dental implants. If you have healthy gum tissue and a strong jawbone with no evidence of bone loss, there’s an increased likelihood that you won’t need a bone graft. A bone graft is usually required when patients have an insufficient amount of bone to support a dental implant. Bone loss commonly occurs as a result of tooth loss. X-rays are taken to determine whether the jawbone is thinning and has lost volume.
Natural bone taken from another part of the body is often used for the grafting material, but man-made or donor grafting materials may also be used. In some situations, a bone graft can be performed right before placing the dental implants. More commonly, however, an extensive bone graft is needed to secure the implant, which requires several months of healing time before the implants can be placed.
Dental Implant Surgery Recovery: What to Expect
Most patients experience minor pain and discomfort after receiving dental implants. It’s also common to experience some bleeding, swelling, bruising, and pain at the site of the implants. These symptoms will gradually improve over a period of several days, but your dentist or oral surgeon will advise you regarding pain management. This can include using over-the-counter or prescription pain medicine or a cold pack to alleviate swelling.
If pain persists, or if any of your other symptoms get worse, you should call our office right away. We also recommend a diet of soft foods for about a week after receiving dental implants.
Are There Benefits of Dental Implants?
A major benefit associated with dental implants is their ability to preserve bone density in your jaw, preventing future bone loss. In addition, dental implants also provide these benefits:
- Easy to take care of with daily brushing and flossing
- Better oral health
- Improved speech
- Natural appearance
- Easier eating
- Excellent success rate
Are There Any Disadvantages of Dental Implants?
Compared with other options for replacing missing teeth, dental implants can last a lifetime with good oral health habits. However, it’s possible that some patients may need to replace a dental crown at some point, adding an additional cost that dental insurance may not cover. The dental implant procedure also has these other potential disadvantages:
- Risks associated with surgery and anesthesia
- Lengthy procedure with many steps involved
- High cost
- Implants may not be covered by insurance
When considering permanent options for replacing missing teeth, no other treatment compares to the durability, reliability, and safety of dental implants. If you want to learn more about how you can benefit from dental implants, our team of specialists can help. Make your appointment today to get started on the path to reclaiming your smile and improving your oral health.