Tooth replacement continues to advance. Dentures are no longer the only way to replace multiple missing teeth. Today, we can employ dental implants to rebuild teeth from the jaw bone up.
While the implant procedure is more involved than the process associated with a bridge or denture, patients find that the additional preparation is worth the long-term, comprehensive results.
What is a Dental Implant?
A dental implant is a titanium tooth root replacement. It is shaped like a screw and is placed directly into the jaw bone at the site of tooth loss. Over the coming months, the biocompatible implant material connects to your natural bone tissue. This forms a foundation for a replacement tooth. The replacement can take the form of a crown, a bridge or a full denture (with several implants).
What are the Benefits of Dental Implants?
Allow for natural-looking, natural-feeling and naturally-functioning replacement teeth
Offer a long-term restorative option that can last for life
Help preserve bone tissue and prevent bone loss, shifting teeth and additional tooth loss from periodontal disease
Can be maintained with just routine exams and normal oral hygiene
Add stability and function to a full or partial denture
Don’t compromise the strength of surrounding natural teeth that are still in place (as a bridge does)
Dental Implant Procedure Steps
The process typically takes between 3-4 appointments, with healing periods required between several of the visits.
Diagnosis & treatment planning – Dr. Khaghany-Duffy x-rays the area and creates a treatment plan. An impression is also taken to assist in planning the surgery and to create a temporary to place with the implant as it heals. We use a panorex to take 360 degree x-rays and capture complex images of the entire head and mouth that assist in implant placement.
Implant placement – The treatment area is numbed with local anesthesia. A small incision is made in the gums so that the implant can be connected with the jaw bone. The area is sutured so that the implant can be held in place as it heals.
Crown placement – After about 3 months of healing, the patient returns to the office to receive a porcelain crown that connects to the implant. This fully restores the entire tooth structure.
After Your Dental Implant Placement
Implant placement is a surgical procedure, and you will need to take special care during the healing period. Be sure to get plenty of rest at home for between 2-3 days after surgery. Stay hydrated and drink lots of fluids, avoiding especially cold beverages. For the 2 days following surgery, apply an ice pack to your cheek for 20 minutes at a time as needed. If you received implants in your upper jaw, do not blow your nose for two weeks.
It is normal to experience mild bleeding for 2 days following the procedure – if you notice additional bleeding after this period, or the bleeding is heavy, get in touch right away. Most patients notice a significant improvement in tenderness on the third day following surgery. You may notice a 1-2 degree increase in body temperature.
Eat whenever you are hungry, but avoiding chewing directly on the implant. Once the implant has integrated with the bone, you will be able to chew on it safely.
Am I a dental implant candidate?
Many individuals are implant candidates, but there are some things to consider. Patients need to be healthy, without cavities or periodontal disease, and have proper bone density in the implant area. Those with chronic illness, heart disease, or severe osteoporosis may not be able to receive implants.
If you do not have adequate bone density, a bone graft may be recommended to build out the treatment area. This will allow for an implant to be successful.
How much does a dental implant cost?
Implants are typically not covered by dental insurance, but some patients may find that their medical insurance offers partial coverage. Schedule a consultation to learn more about estimated costs for your implant. We will lay out a possible treatment plan and help you evaluate the necessary budget for your restoration.