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Are Dental Implants Right for You?

How Can Dental Implants Improve My Smile?

If you’re among the millions who are under 65 years and missing at least one permanent tooth, then implants are a good solution for restoring your smile. If you’re one of those older than 65 who’s missing all of your teeth, then implants can provide you with a beautiful smile and help to restore your oral health. Your teeth aren’t just for aesthetics, they’re necessary for good physical health, so if you’re missing any, you should replace them.

The three requirements for getting implants are:

  • You must be in good physical health
  • You must have healthy gums
  • You must have sufficient bone in your jaw

If you’re lacking bone in your jaw, you might be a candidate for a bone graft.

What’s Meant by Dental Implants?

Dental implants are artificial teeth that resemble natural teeth. They have the same structure and they function in a similar manner. Two types of implants are available:

  • Endosteal implants (installed in the jawbone)
  • Subperiosteal implants (placed under the gum tissue)
  • Your oral surgeon will recommend the best type for your needs.

Like your natural teeth, a dental implant has three distinct parts:

  1. The body, also called the post, functions like the root of a natural tooth and will become the base for your artificial tooth. It’s made from titanium, so it’s lightweight and very strong. It’s surgically inserted into your jawbone, and one post can accommodate one tooth or several. Titanium is typically well accepted by the body so osseointegration should go smoothly. Osseointegration is the process by which an implanted substance is integrated and eventually becomes part of the human body.
  2. The abutment: This is a connector that anchors your tooth to the post and is installed after osseointegration has occurred and the post has fused to your jawbone.
  3. The crown: This is the visible part of the artificial tooth and is sometimes referred to as a prosthesis. It’s the last step in the installation process.

Why Are Implants So Effective?

Implants are so effective because they’re permanently installed and become a part of the gum. They won’t slip or fall out and they look, feel, and function like your natural teeth, enabling you to eat your favorite foods and speak clearly.

What’s the Implant Surgery Procedure?

Every dental procedure is unique and no two patients have identical needs, so your situation might vary somewhat from the following. However, you should generally expect the following steps when you have implant surgery:

  • We’ll remove the damaged teeth and may perform any other procedures deemed necessary to ensuring a good outcome
  • Then, we’ll prepare the site for the surgery
  • We’ll install the body, which is the titanium post, and you’ll receive a minor graft if you need it
  • You’ll receive a more substantial graft if you need significantly more bone
  • You’ll need healing and growth time for the jawbone
  • We’ll install your abutment, and when its incision heals, we’ll make impressions of your teeth and gums
  • We’ll affix the crowns

The time required for getting your implants will depend on the complexity of the procedures and the amount of time it takes to heal between each one.

How Do I Know if I Need a Bone Graft?

Your surgeon will assess your jaw and determine if and to what extent you’ll need a graft.

What’s the Procedure for Installing the Implant?

Your surgeon will make a small incision in your gum so that the bone is exposed, then drill a small hole in your jawbone and insert the post. Your surgeon will suture The incision will be stitched closed and we’ll wait for osseointegration of the post to occur.

What’s the Procedure for Installing the Abutment?

When your post has been fully fused into your jawbone, you’ll return for the abutment installation. Your surgeon will make another small incision near the post and we’ll place the abutment on top of the post. After the incision has healed, we’ll make impressions of your teeth and gums so that your crowns can be fabricated.

What’s the Procedure for Installing the Crowns?

If you’ve opted for removable crowns, they’ll come in pink plastic gums that snap onto the abutment and are easily removed for cleaning and maintenance. If you’re getting fixed crowns, we’ll adjust them for comfort and fit and then permanently affix them to your abutment.

What Instructions Will I Receive After My Surgery?

It’s normal for patients to experience minor bleeding, bruising, swelling, and pain after certain dental procedures. We’ll provide you with aftercare instructions and tips for reducing your level of discomfort. We’ll also provide pain medication as necessary. Your symptoms shouldn’t persist for more than a few days, but if they do, please call us.

What Are the Drawbacks of Implants?

As with any surgical procedure, there are drawbacks as well as benefits. The most common complaint about implants is their initial cost. Depending on the extent of the work you need, a single tooth can cost several thousand dollars and it may not be covered by dental insurance. Also, if you ever need to get a replacement crown for any reason, that likely won’t be covered either. Another drawback is that the entire procedure is very lengthy and can easily span several months. Many people don’t want to wait that long for a resolution to their dental issues. Another factor is that dental implants are surgical procedures and some people aren’t good candidates for surgery. There can be an adverse reaction to the anesthesia, nerve injury, a fracture to the jawbone, and damage to the surrounding teeth. Not everyone is willing or able to take these risks.

However, most patients report that they’re happy they got implant treatment rather than dentures. Most felt, given the cost of adhesives, creams, soaking solutions, and having to replace worn-out or damaged dentures, that implants were less costly over time. Many cited the ease, appearance, and convenience of implants as their primary reasons for selecting them. Implants are very popular among those who dislike dentures and bridges because implants closely match the size, shape, and color of their natural teeth. And, since they’re permanently installed, there’s no embarrassment about them slipping or falling out. Speaking and eating are as normal with implants as with your natural teeth.

Can Any Local Dentist Install Implants?

The dental implant installation procedure requires a considerable amount of additional specialized training, education, and experience, so most general dentists lack the qualifications to install them. If you’re searching for an implant surgeon, make sure that they’re board certified and provide you with their qualifications.

If you want to schedule a consultation for implants or any other dental procedure, please call our office and we’ll be happy to see you. Or, use our convenient online booking tool to make an appointment. We look forward to helping you achieve a beautiful smile.

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