Implants can help!
You may have lost a tooth or several teeth due to:
- Tooth decay
- Periodontal disease (gum or bone infection)
Whatever the reason, dental implants can replace missing teeth with a more natural look and feel compared to dentures and other dental restorations.
Benefits of Implants
In comparison to conventional dentures, dental implants work to maintain the natural contours of the face and prevent the facial bones from shifting. Dental implants are entirely independent from natural teeth and will not depend on adjacent teeth for support. Since the implants are freestanding, they can be brushed, flossed and cleaned during your regular oral health routine without any additional care or maintenance.
Other benefits are:
- Durable solution for missing teeth
- No movement along the gums
- Natural look and feel
- Renewed ability to chew and speak with ease
- Minimized impact on neighboring teeth
- Extra confidence in the way your smile looks
Take the first step and contact us through our no-cost virtual consultation, during this process, we will recommend options that will work best for you. Every client is different, so our virtual consultants and surgeons tailor the procedure to match each person’s needs.
A dental evaluation is necessary to determine whether you are a good candidate for dental implants or not. The evaluation involves a dental exam, a dental and medical history, and imaging tests.
Included in the exam is the study of the health and structure of your mouth. This will help the dental team understand the placement of the implants. The figure below illustrates what your dentist needs to understand before the procedure takes place.
A dental exam provides vital specifics of the structure of your mouth. Your bite is analyzed to understand how your jaws and teeth fit together. The condition of your jaws, gums, head, and neck is also checked.
During the exam your dentist will check whether your mouth is able to accept implants by doing the following:
- The height and width of your jawbones are measured. Doing this ensures there exists sufficient bone to hold an implant.
- Your gums are checked for signs of periodontal disease. Diseased gums must be dealt with before implants can be placed.
- Your gums are also examined to determine if you have sufficient firm tissue to surround an implant.
Should you have an ongoing medical condition, like diabetes, you will have blood tests. This is to ensure your condition is under control before the procedure begins. Also, inform your surgeon if you take medications, such as insulin, aspirin, etc.
Imaging tests enables your surgeon to view parts of the mouth and head that can’t be seen during an exam. It also aids your surgeon in finding more about the quantity and quality of the bone in your mouth.
At your dental evaluation, your surgeon will discuss treatment options with you. You’ll also discuss any dental work or special procedures you may require before the implant procedure can begin.
Treatment Plan, Alternatives, Risks
A Strong Foundation for Implants
Possessing a healthy mouth is equally as necessary for implants as it is for natural teeth. If you don’t have an adequate healthy bone or gum tissue in your mouth, you will need a graft before implants can be placed. Grafting helps develop a strong foundation for the implants. You’ll need to wait for a graft to heal before you can have implant surgery.
If you have periodontal disease, it will also need to be treated prior to the implant procedure.
If you’re a good candidate for implants, your dentist will discuss with you about a treatment plan. In addition, you’ll discuss the cost and time that is required. Remember, your commitment throughout the procedure will be important. Most of the time, the process will take at least many months before new prosthetic teeth can be placed on the implants. Should you need a graft or treatment for periodontal disease, the process will probably take more time.
Alternatives to Implants
If dental implants are not ideal for you now, think about your alternatives. One alternative may be a bridge to replace the missing teeth. If you currently have a denture, adjusting it for a better fit may help. You may also opt to have implants at a later time. You and your surgeon will decide what is best for you.
Risk of the Procedure
Just like any other surgical procedure, there are risks involved. Risks of this procedure may include:
- Failure of the implant
- Injury to adjacent teeth or sinus
- Injury to surrounding nerves and muscles
Surgery is needed to place the implants in your jawbone. Over time, successful dental implants will depend on the jawbone fusing to the implant.
You can help this process along by maintaining clean teeth and gums over the next few months.
Just before the procedure, you will be asked to rinse your mouth with an antiseptic. Medications to help you relax or get you to become sleepy will be given to you.
Then the jaw is anesthetized and prepared for the placement of the implants. You will be aware of the sound and vibration of the instruments but you shouldn’t feel any pain. The duration of the surgery will depend on the number of implants to be placed.
How It’s Done. Please refer to the figure below (letters A to C).
- Making the Incision – A small incision is created in the gum to reveal the jawbone. This enables the surgeon to prepare the bone.
- Preparing the Bone – A specific hole is gradually and gently drilled into the jawbone. The size of the hole depends on the size of the implants.
- Placing the Implant – The implant is gently tapped into position. Then the incision is closed with stitches. Occasionally, abutments are placed simultaneously with the implants.
After the Surgery
After the procedure, you may rest for some time. But as soon as you feel able, you can go home. Please remember that some amount of swelling and minor bleeding is normal. To speed the recovery process, always follow your surgeon’s instructions, like:
- Make sure you only drink clear liquids for the rest of the day.
- Take the prescribed pain medications and antibiotics.
- Avoid placing pressure on the jaw.
- For the first few days, eat soft foods as your jaw begins to heal.
- Avoid putting on your temporary prosthesis or denture for some amount of time.
A lot of the recovery process is influenced by how clean your teeth and gums are. If you don’t take care of your mouth regularly, you can get an infection which will lead to failure of the implant to fuse with the bone. For satisfactory results:
- Use a soft toothbrush to clean your teeth and gums after every meal.
- Avoid brushing the incisions. Only brush areas near the incisions.
- Use the prescribed antiseptic rinse.
It will take several months for the jawbone to fuse with the implants. During this time, you will have multiple follow-up visits with your surgeon. This is to observe how well your jaw is healing.
Healing Abutments and Final Abutments
Based on your needs, two types of abutments may be used. Healing abutments (healing cuffs) help gum tissue heal around the implant site, see figure below (letter E). When the gum has healed, final abutments are placed so the prosthesis can be joined with the implant.
After Abutments are Placed
It normally requires 4 to 6 weeks for gums to heal around the abutments. During this time, follow your surgeon’s advice in regards to what types of food to eat and proper cleaning procedures.
Second Phase of the Procedure. See figure below, letters D to G.
- Exposing the implant – a small incision is created to expose the implant.
- Placing healing cuffs – a healing cuff or abutment is temporarily attached to the implant.
- Placing final abutments – after the gums have healed, the final abutment is placed. The top of the abutment protrudes just above the gum line.
When your gums, surrounding the abutments, have healed, your dentist will start creating your permanent prosthesis. Multiple visits with your dentist are often required to be able to make an exact model of your mouth. And then it can take about a month or more to build your prosthesis.
To tailor-make your prosthesis, your dentist will make molds of your jaws, teeth, and abutments. Bite registrations are also created to see how your teeth fit together. These molds are utilized to create a model of your mouth. Finally, your new prosthesis will then be created from this model.
Fitting Your Prosthesis
As soon as your prosthesis is ready, you will need a number of fittings to check how it feels in your mouth. After all necessary adjustments are made, the prosthesis is mounted on and attached to the abutments, see figure above (letter G). You will be instructed not to eat hard or crunchy foods for a few weeks after the prosthesis is attached.
Take the first step and contact us through our no-cost virtual consultation. During this process, we will recommend options that will work best for you. Every client is different, so our virtual consultants and surgeons tailor the procedure to match each person’s needs.