Dental Implant Restoration
Missing teeth can become an embarrassment, especially if a tooth is missing in front of a person’s smile. Replacing the tooth is important, not only for aesthetics but also to prevent bone loss and the shifting of other teeth. Although there are multiple options for replacing missing teeth, there is only one that offers permanence. Dental implants are the everlasting way to replace missing teeth anywhere in the mouth.
What are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are a permanent option for tooth replacement. A dental implant consists of three parts that come together to act as a natural tooth and its root. The following are the parts of a dental implant:
- A dental implant is a titanium screw that is implanted into the jawbone. Because it is made of titanium, the human body accepts it and begins to grow new bone growth around the implant, permanently holding it in place.
- On top of the dental implant, an abutment is placed. The abutment allows the crown to join the implant base. Abutments can be made of several materials, including titanium, stainless steel, gold, and zirconia.
- The crown is the final piece that completes the tooth replacement. Crowns can be made to blend in perfectly with surrounding teeth, creating a seamless replacement for a missing tooth anywhere in the mouth.
A dental implant becomes as strong as a natural human tooth. Unlike dentures and partials, a dental implant never needs to be removed. The titanium base becomes a permanent part of the patient’s mouth.
Dental implants can also be used to hold a plate of dentures in place securely. This procedure is called All-on-4® treatment.
It is important patients understand the dental implant procedure and that it takes place in steps. There are typically at least three visits in the process of getting dental implants.
The first visit is the consultation appointment. During this appointment, patients are examined and X-rayed, to determine if they are good candidates for the procedure.
At the second visit, the patient will go through a surgical procedure for the placement of the titanium base. During the surgery, the patient will be under anesthesia, so they will not feel any pain. A single tooth replacement will usually take between 30-60 minutes.
Those who are receiving multiple implants may go through a surgery that will last between one-three hours. At the end of the procedure, the dentist will put temporary crowns in place until full healing occurs. The final step is the placement of the permanent crown.
What Happens During the Recovery?
After the dental implant procedure, the patient will need to be driven home so they can rest until the effects of anesthesia wear off. The recovery period will differ among patients, depending on how many implants were put in place.
It is important patients follow their aftercare instructions. Most people do not experience serious pain, but patients can expect to have some degree of discomfort. Eating a soft foods diet is recommended.
Patients can expect to go back to their normal routines within one to two weeks. Full chewing ability will be restored within a few weeks to months, depending on the healing process. Once the body has grown new bone tissue around the implant, patients will be able to chew all types of foods again normally.
What are the Benefits of Dental Implants?
There are many benefits to getting dental implants. Patients who are missing teeth need to be aware of all aspects, so they can make an informed decision. The following offers insight into the many benefits of dental implants.
- Dental implants perform just like natural teeth, allowing patients to enjoy all the foods they love, without being worried about their implants.
- Other measures of replacing a missing tooth, such as bridges, will typically last less than ten years. Dental implants can last a lifetime, with proper maintenance.
- Dental implants also help to prevent bone loss in the empty socket. When a tooth is missing, the bone inside the socket will slowly begin to break down. Bone loss in the first year can be up to 25% without an implant replacement.
- With dental implants, the adjacent teeth will not begin to shift out of place. Shifts can cause large gaps to develop between teeth, making a person’s smile look less attractive.
- As a result of bone loss, the effects of aging, like sagging, begin to occur rapidly. By filling the socket with an implant, bone growth improves, keeping sagging at bay.
- Dental implants look just like natural teeth, so they blend in perfectly with a person’s smile, making it complete.
Who Is a Good Candidate for Dental Implants?
Not everyone is a good candidate for dental implants. Patients will need to go through a consultation to determine if they meet the requirements. The following are some signs dentists look for when evaluating patients for dental implants.
- Individuals should have good overall health. If their teeth and gums are not healthy, their healing will be impeded.
- There should be ample bone growth in the socket. If it has been a long time since the tooth went missing, bone grafts may be put in place to encourage growth.
- Smokers will need to stop smoking entirely before getting a dental implant and after. Smoking slows down the healing process and can lead to dental implant failure.
- The individual needs to practice good oral hygiene and see their dentist often. A lack of oral hygiene could lead to infections.
- It can take up to twelve months to complete the process, so individuals need to be prepared to be patient and realize it will take time.
Dental implants can transform a person’s smile entirely. Implants can replace any teeth in the mouth, and they can also be used to hold a denture plate in place.
With dental implants, individuals will no longer be ashamed of the appearance of their smile. Implants also help to improve a person’s chewing ability and speech. With a consultation appointment, patients can learn if dental implants are the answer for their missing teeth.