When it comes to your dental health and smile, practicing good oral hygiene on a daily basis is essential. Yet, all too often, problems can arise, and you’ll need to seek helpful dental solutions to keep your teeth functioning at their best and also to keep your smile intact.
Fortunately, such dental solutions abound today. As technology continues to advance, patients are gaining access to beneficial, long-term options, with one of those being dental implants. These implants restore smiles along with natural functionality of teeth, ensuring you experience optimal dental health going forward.
What are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are replacements for natural teeth and also function much like those natural teeth. If you lose a permanent tooth due to decay, infection, injury, or gum disease, your dentist can create the next best thing when you undergo a dental implant procedure.
What are the Benefits for Getting Dental Implants?
Getting dental implants brings with it distinct benefits, including the following:
the look and feel of natural teeth
preserving the natural bite
preventing further bone loss
stabilizing adjacent teeth
providing long-lasting results
returning patient to normal speaking and eating
What To Expect When Getting Dental Implants
Prior to getting dental implants, it helps to know what the process entails. You’ll undergo a procedure involving the following steps.
Your dentist will first need to conduct a thorough examination to determine if you are a good candidate for dental implants. One condition they will be looking for is whether or not you have efficient space and bone in the particular area of the missing tooth or teeth for a successful procedure. A tooth missing for a longer time can lead to continual bone loss, and this can be a deterrent unless you undergo a bone graft.
If you do not meet the requirements for a full dental implant, you may still be able to undergo mini-dental implants.
Your dentist will prepare the area for one or more dental implants. If you need to have parts of a natural tooth extracted, this will occur first.
With the area cleaned and ready, the dentist will insert or implant an artificial root, which resembles a screw, into your jaw bone just below the space where you are missing a tooth. This artificial root now serves as the anchor for the artificial tooth that will eventually follow.
During this part of the procedure, you may be under a local anesthesia for numbing of the area or, if you choose, under IV sedation.
4. Acceptance, Healing, and Osseointegration
Your dentist will allow enough time for the jaw to accept the artificial root and for the area to completely heal. Bone will begin to grow around the new addition, securing it in place and strengthening the area in a process referred to as osseointegration.
You’ll spend this time at home, caring for your gums and surrounding area. This part of the experience may take a few months or up to nine months. Each patient differs, and regular visits to your dentist will determine when you will be ready for the next step of the implant process.
5. Setting of an Abutment or Connector
Once your dentist is satisfied with the healing and acceptance, an abutment or connector will be positioned above the artificial root and onto the implant’s post portion. You again may need time to let your gums heal following this action.
6. Making Impressions
When your gums once again heal from the placement of the abutment or connector, your dentist will take impressions in order to facilitate the design and creation of the replacement tooth, usually a crown (or, in some cases, dental bridge or dentures).
7. Fitting of a New Dental Crown
The final step of the procedure is to fit a new dental crown into place, creating a permanent replacement for the missing natural tooth. If you require replacement of more than one tooth in a row, the newly implanted artificial root can also create sturdy support for a denture or dental bridge.
This combination of an implant root and dental crown, bridge, or denture is a long-term, stable solution that may last you a lifetime.
Following the procedure, however, you may experience limited amounts of swelling, bruising, pain, or minor bleeding.
Your dentist might advise you to eat only soft foods for a while or other such guidelines to help as you heal. A recommendation to take over-the-counter pain relievers may also be given.
8. Follow-Up Appointments
Following the procedure, you’ll schedule follow-up appointments to ensure proper healing. Your dentist will look for specific signs of infection and, if found, provide treatment.
You can expect a follow-up appointment within two weeks of the placement of the crown and then again in six weeks or so to check your dental and gum health.
At your next regularly scheduled dental exam, your dentist may use radiography to ensure the implant is healthy.
Meanwhile, you can do your part by maintaining good oral hygiene, including brushing and flossing daily.
Learn More About Dental Implants by Contacting Lifetime Dental Health
Dental implants can be an ideal solution for patients missing a tooth or set of teeth. To find out more and if you are a candidate for regular or mini dental implants, contact our team here at Lifetime Dental Health. We will take the time to work with you one-on-one to find the right solution for your particular needs.