Dental implants are a permanent solution for missing teeth. They are typically made of titanium, which is a strong and biocompatible metal. Dental implants are surgically placed into the jawbone and allow for the replacement of one or more teeth.
There are three stages of dental implant treatment:
- Surgery: The dental implant is placed into the jawbone. This is usually done under local anesthesia. Depending on the surgical method your dentist chooses, there may be a second surgical step in which the implant is uncovered.
- Healing: The dental implant must heal for several months before it can be used to support a crown or bridge.
- Prosthesis: A crown or bridge is placed over the implant to restore the missing tooth or teeth.
Dental implants can be used to replace teeth in a variety of different restoration types, including:
- Single implants: These are used to replace a single missing tooth
- Multiple implants: These are used to replace multiple missing teeth
- Bridges: The bridge is supported by two implants, one on either side of the missing teeth. The bridge is made of a material such as porcelain or acrylic and is cemented or screwed into the implants.
- Dentures: Dentures are removable appliances that can be used to replace all of the teeth in one arch of the mouth. Implant-supported dentures are held in place by two or more implants. This type of denture is more stable than traditional dentures and can help to improve your chewing ability.
- Hybrid prosthesis: A hybrid prosthesis is a combination of a fixed implant-supported bridge and a removable denture. This type of prosthesis is often used to replace an entire arch of missing teeth. A hybrid prosthesis is typically more expensive than an implant-supported denture, but provides a better level of stability for chewing.
Dental Implant Procedure
The dental implant procedure is a relatively simple procedure that can be done in the dentist’s office. The procedure usually takes about an hour. The first step is to numb the area around the missing tooth. Once the area is numb, the dentist will make a small incision in the gum tissue. The dentist will then use a series of drills to create a small hole in the jawbone. The implant is then inserted into the hole and secured in place. The dentist will then close the incision with stitches. The stitches are resorbable, and will dissolve on their own within a few days.
After the surgery, you will need a few days to recover. You should avoid strenuous activity and chewing on the side of the mouth where the implant was placed.
The dental implant must heal for several months before it can be used to support a crown or bridge. The timing is determined by the density of your jaw bone at the time of the implant placement. Once the implant is healed, the dentist will place a crown or bridge on it. The crown or bridge will be made to match the surrounding teeth.
If your tooth still needs to be extracted prior to replacement by dental implant, your dentist will probably recommend starting with a socket preservation surgery. In socket preservation surgery, the tooth will be extracted and the extraction site will be very thoroughly cleaned. Then, the extraction site will be grafted with bone particulate and covered with a membrane. This site will then be stitched closed, typically with resorbable sutures. The graft will need to heal for several months before the implant can be placed. The reason behind doing the socket preservation procedure is to maintain a good volume of bone. This will ensure that there will be enough bone in which to place your dental implant. You can discuss your options with your dentist to determine if you would be a good candidate for the socket preservation procedure prior to dental implant placement.
Benefits of Dental Implants
Dental implants have many benefits, including:
- High Success Rate: the surgical placement of dental implants is a highly successful procedure. The reported success rate is around 95%.
- Aesthetics: Dental implants typically look and feel natural.
- Functionality: Dental implants allow you to chew and speak normally. Implants are fixed in place and function very similarly to natural teeth.
- Low Maintenance: Dental implants are comfortable and do not require any special care. You can clean them the same way you clean your natural teeth, unlike bridges on your natural teeth, which require alternative methods of cleaning.
- Longevity: Dental implants can last for a lifetime.
If you are missing teeth, dental implants may be a good option for you. Talk to your dentist to learn more about dental implants and whether they are right for you.
Dental Implant System
A dental implant system is a collection of components that are used to place and support dental implants. The system typically includes the implant itself, as well as abutments and crowns or bridges. The implant is the titanium post that is surgically placed into the jawbone. The abutment is a connector that is attached to the implant and supports the crown or bridge. The crown or bridge is the artificial tooth that is placed over the abutment. There are many different dental implant systems available, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Your dentist will help you choose the system that is best for you.
Post-operative Care for Dental Implants
Careful post-operative care is critical to the success of your dental implant. Here are some instructions to minimize any complications with your dental implant:
- Bleeding: Depending on the method of implant placement, you may need to bite on gauze for one hour.
- Swelling: We recommend using an ice pack on your cheek closest to the dental implant for 10 minute intervals.
- Medications: We typically prescribe an antibiotic to prevent infection and recommend either ibuprofen (Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) for pain. Always follow the directions given to you by your doctor/pharmacist.
- Food: Avoid using a straw and eat soft foods for about 1 week. It is also important to avoid food with small seeds, such as poppyseed bagels.
- Exercise: Avoid vigorous exercise for about 2-3 days after surgery.
Cost of Dental Implants
The cost of dental implants varies depending on the type of implant, the number of implants, the type of implant restoration, and the dentist you choose. In general, dental implants are more expensive than other options for replacing missing teeth, such as dentures or bridges. However, dental implants are a long-term investment that can save you money in the long run.
Dental implants are a safe and effective way to replace missing teeth. They offer many benefits, including improved aesthetics, function, comfort, and longevity. If you are missing teeth, talk to your dentist to learn more about dental implants and whether they are right for you.
Be sure to let us know about any medications you are taking during your consultation. Your health and safety are paramount.
Contact our office today for more information on dental implants or to set up a consultation.