What are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are by far the best option when it comes to replacing missing teeth. This method of tooth-replacement involves a routine surgical procedure and offers patients the longest-lasting results. Dental Implants are minuscule, screw-shaped titanium posts that are surgically placed in the jawbone of patients who are missing teeth. These metal posts act as replacement tooth roots and can create a strong foundation for artificial teeth after the titanium bonds with the bone. After a brief healing period while the implant fuses to the bone, they can be topped with lifelike crowns, bridges or dentures custom-made to match your natural teeth. Implants can also help patients preserve their facial structure, and prevent bone deterioration that occurs when teeth are missing.
Why Dental Implants?
Dental professionals consider dental implants the optimal tooth-replacement method for a variety of reasons:
- More natural feeling
- Unlike dentures (which can shift around in your mouth) dental implants stay secure when patients smile, eat, and speak.
- As long as they are properly maintained, dental implants can last a lifetime.
- Helps prevent bone loss
- Dental implants protect you from bone resorption by fusing to the jawbone and stabilizing it.
- Does not affect adjacent teeth
- Unlike bridgework, dental implants will never put stress on your other teeth or make them more susceptible to decay
- Easy to care for
- Caring for implants is no different than cleaning your regular teeth. Dentures, on the other hand, usually require special creams, adhesives, or being soaked overnight.
Are You Eligible for Dental Implants?
Several factors can determine whether or not dental implants are a good fit for you. Before approving you for dental implants, your dental professional will first thoroughly examine your mouth and review your:
- Medical history
- Dental history
- Immune system strength
- Gum health
- Bone density and mass
- Oral hygiene
In most cases, dental implants will NOT be recommended to:
- Patients who smoke
- Younger patients whose jawbone has not finished growing
- Pregnant women
- Patients who have received high-dose radiation therapy around the neck, jaw, and head
- Patients with bruxism, or teeth grinding and clenching
Dental Implant Procedure
Getting dental implants is a four-step surgical procedure performed by your dental professional. Although the entire process typically takes several months to complete, it can take significantly longer depending on the case. To help ease your anxiety, we are going to take you through the dental implant process step by step.
- Removing tooth intended for replacement
- Assuming your tooth has not already been removed, extraction is usually the first step in the dental implant process.
- Your dentist should be able to remove your tooth in just a few minutes, even if the tooth has been broken or impacted.
- Inserting the implant
- The second step in the dental implant process involves implanting the titanium post as the anchor for your new tooth.
- To do this, your dentist will drill a hole into your jawbone and screw the titanium implant into place. Although it may sound intimidating, most patients undergo this procedure comfortably with just a local anesthetic.
- After the post has been implanted, your dentist will send you home wearing healing caps on the top of the posts. You will have to wait several months as the implant fuses to the jawbone before you can return to the dentist office for your next steps
- Attaching the abutment
- The next step in the dental implant process is installing the abutment. Your dentist will remove your healing caps to add the abutment, which is a screw that will hold your implant in place.
- Adding your replacement tooth
- For the final step of the dental implant process, your dentist will secure a dental crown on top of the abutment.
- Patients will have the choice between two main types of artificial teeth, removable or fixed:
- Removable Implants can be removed for cleaning at any time
- Fixed Implants are permanently set in place
Implant Care and Maintenance
Since dental implants can last a lifetime if cared for correctly, maintenance of your implant is extremely important. Although dental implants are not susceptible to cavities, you will still need to carefully brush and floss the area to remove any harmful bacteria or plaque buildup. Here are some other general rules of thumb when maintaining your dental implants:
- Try to eat only soft foods and avoid anything spicy or chewy after surgery. Also, be careful not to consume anything likely to get tuck in the incision site.
- Refrain from smoking while your implant is fusing to your jawbone since smoking can significantly slow down the healing process.
- Schedule regular dental appointments every six months to ensure that your dental implants are working as intended
- If you have a habit of clenching or grinding your teeth while you sleep, you should probably wear a nightguard to bed.
PS Dental is proud to provide patients practical dental solutions without compromising on the standard of care. Our practice utilizes the latest technology in diagnosis and treatment, and always considers our patients’ overall health and lifestyle requirements.
Schedule an appointment with Dr. Prashant Sinha today!