Suffering from tooth loss? Or maybe you are about to have a tooth extracted and don’t want to simply have a gap in your smile permanently. That’s not at all uncommon, and there are solutions to tooth loss available today that never were before.
Modern dental implants are the premier method of tooth restoration, on the cutting edge of modern dentistry. They offer many distinct benefits, and they last for decades or even for a lifetime.
To learn more about the benefits of dental implants and about the implantation process – read on!
Why Choose Dental Implants For Tooth Restoration?
There are many good reasons why more and more people with tooth loss problems are opting for dental implants.
First of all, this is a long-term, even permanent solution. The large majority of those who have had implants placed in their mouth over the last 20 years are still fully satisfied with the results. That’s different from removable dentures that require you to keep going back to the dentist for a refit every so many years.
Second, modern implants look and function just like natural teeth so that no one will even know the difference unless you tell them. Implants restore your natural smile.
Third, dental implants are comfortable in your mouth. You do not have discomfort when you speak or chew. Dentures are, by contrast, often uncomfortable to wear.
Fourth, you maintain dental implants with the same oral hygiene care you use on your natural teeth. You do not have to do anything different except just see your periodontist every once in a while for a check-up to ensure your implants are still going strong.
Fifth and finally, you can get implants placed in one day if you opt for same-day implants. This is a great option for those on busy schedules.
Step One: The Initial Dental Examination
After discussing dental implants with your periodontist, you may well schedule a comprehensive dental exam to ascertain for sure whether or not you are a good candidate for implants.
This will involve taking X-ray and 3-D images of your teeth and jawbones. You need to have adequate bone structure to support your new implants – otherwise, bone graft surgery will have to be done first.
Also, your gums need to be in good health. If they aren’t, then you may need gum graft surgery and/or periodontal treatment done first to prepare your mouth for the implants.
Finally, your periodontist will need to check your dental and overall health records and ask you some health-related questions. A review of your medical history will be in order. It’s important he or she be aware of any health conditions you may have or medication you may be taking before proceeding with the dental implant surgery.
Step Two: Establish A Treatment Plan
Next, your dentist will discuss with you forming a treatment plan. This will involve scheduling your dental implant implantation procedure.
It will also mean giving you necessary instructions on how to prepare for surgery day, like practicing good oral hygiene every day as the surgery approaches and not eating within a few hours of the operation.
You will need to be prepared both physically and mentally. And you should plan to have someone drive you home following the procedure.
Step Three: Dental Implant Placement
The actual surgery may be completed in a single sitting, though sometimes it can be in a two or three step process. It depends on your oral health situation, on how many implants you want placed, and on your schedule.
It may be necessary to perform a tooth extraction, but you can plan to have an implant put in on the very same day. You may opt for same-day implants or decide to go with standard implants, which could require a follow-up visit.
A local anesthetic will be administered, and you may choose oral sedation as well. A hole will then be made through your gum tissue down to the alveolar ridge on the jawbone. With some implants, the titanium rod rests on top of the bone, and in other models, it is bored down into the bone. Either way, the titanium will fuse to the bone in the process called “osseointegration.” That could take several months.
An abutment will be attached to the top of the titanium implant rod, either same-day or at a later date. The abutment will connect the implant to the dental crown, which looks and functions just like a regular tooth.
Gum tissue is carefully enclosed around the implant rod but not around the abutment. Many patients like to wait for abutment placement since an abutment can be unsightly when the crown is not yet placed. In other cases, temporary crowns may be used during the interim. Normally, there is a two-week or so wait between implant placement and permanent crown attachment.
Step Four: Post-op Recovery & Lifestyle
One of the biggest attractions of dental implants is that there are few, if any, permanent lifestyle changes necessary when using them. In the short-term, however, you will have to adjust a bit to allow the new dental implants to fully heal.
You will need to go on a soft diet, avoid spicy foods, avoid high-sugar foods and drinks, and avoid vigorous physical activities that could affect your teeth for a couple weeks following the surgery. You will want to take it easy on your new teeth when biting down or chewing with them at first. This is especially true when you haven’t yet had your permanent crowns placed on the implants, but general caution should be exercised for the first few months.
Your periodontist will give you all the necessary instructions to follow post-op. And you will have follow up visits to ensure your mouth is healing properly and the dental implants are fusing firmly to the bone. Dental implants have a 99% success rate, so it is not a high-risk surgery. But you want to be careful and do everything possible to avoid any complications.
Implants Or Dentures – Do I Have to Choose?
We don’t want to give the impression that there is a hard and fast line between dental implants and dentures. Be aware that you can get all-on-4, implant-supported dentures.
These are permanent dentures, not removable ones. They can be removed temporarily by your periodontist (if necessary) to clean under and around them during a dental visit. But they give you all the advantages of regular dental implants and avoid the problems often associated with removable dentures and dental bridges, even though they are technically “dentures.”
Finally, if you are considering dental implants, don’t assume that they will be out of your price range. In fact, dental implants can be affordable! In the long run, they may not cost any more than other tooth restoration methods, and most dental insurance will cover them.
To learn more about dental implants – the problems they solve, the advantages they offer, and the process by which they are placed, contact Ormond Beach Periodontics & Implant Dentistry in Central Florida today!