What are my options after losing teeth?
If you suffer from tooth loss, dental implants can restore your smile and confidence by enhancing your functionality and overall oral health. Known as one of the most secure and long-lasting tooth replacement options available, dental implants can seamlessly blend in with the rest of your teeth so you can start smiling again.
Did you know…
Unlike your natural teeth, dental implants can't get cavities.
How it works: The dental implant placement and restoration process
An Honest Conversation
Your dentist will first sit down with you to determine if dental implants best suit your unique needs. After examining your mouth, administering X-rays, and checking your jaw health, your dentist will decide if one or more dental implants will provide the proper tooth restoration required for your smile. At this time, you and your dentist can discuss other restorative dentistry alternatives that may be a better fit for you.
Your Oral Surgery Treatment
Once you’ve been approved for treatment, your dentist will schedule your oral surgery appointment and provide a surgical plan. During the surgery, your dentist will open your gum tissue slightly to securely place a dental implant in the jaw. Your dentist will complete the procedure by cleaning the area and adding sutures to begin the healing process.
Healing & Osseointegration
Your gums will begin to heal once your implants have been placed. Most patients heal completely from surgery within 1-2 weeks. In a process called “osseointegration,” the dental implant will take between 3-6 months to permanently bond with your jaw bone.
Crafting the Prosthetic
To ensure proper healing and bonding occurs, you’ll want to visit our office for a few follow-up appointments after your surgery. Your dentist will examine your jaw and gums and take impressions of your implant and teeth. These impressions will be sent over to a lab, who will craft a custom prosthetic, dental crown or arch of teeth.
Applying the Restoration
After the lab has completed your prosthetic and your mouth has fully healed, you’ll visit our office for your final appointment. During the visit, your dentist will complete the procedure by permanently placing the restoration to your dental implant.
Maintenance & Aftercare
Keep your mouth and dental implant healthy by brushing and flossing regularly. Don’t forget to see your dentist every six months for a teeth cleaning and oral exam.
Dental Implant Options
Single Tooth Implants
As the most-frequently used dental implant, single-tooth implants are made up of two main parts. The dental implant, or post, is a titanium rod with a screw-like shape. A dental crown is the restoration that is usually applied to the single implant.
To place a single dental implant, the post is bonded permanently into your gum and jaw. As the gum heals, a dental crown is created, which is eventually attached to the post by an “abutment.” This dental crown reinstates the shape, function, and appearance of your natural tooth. Unlike a partial denture, single-tooth implants are extremely durable and never move or shift.
If you are missing all or most of your natural teeth, and are looking for a secure, durable alternative to traditional dentures, full-arch implants may be the best option for you. By placing a series of 4-6 dental implants per arch into your mouth, you can enjoy the look and function of a new smile that can last a lifetime.
These dental implants act as artificial roots that allow a set of removable implant-supported overdentures or fixed dental bridges to permanently bond to the gumline and restore your smile. Full-arch implants look and feel much more natural, and will never shift or move when you eat or speak, unlike dentures.
Similar to standard dental implants, mini implants are about half of the size of a traditional implant. They can be used to restore one tooth or several missing teeth, but mini implants are most commonly used to support a set of dentures in the lower jaw.
Due to their small size, the placement process is not as invasive as traditional implants. Plus, mini implants can usually still be applied in your jaw even if it has been weakened by bone resorption after tooth loss.
Did you know…
Unlike dentures which require replacements, dental implants can potentially last a lifetime.
Have questions about implant dentistry? Find answers here.
How are dental implants made?
Dental implants are composed of two unique parts: one screw-shaped titanium “post”, and the restorative component, which is usually a dental crown and abutment. A wide selection of pre-selected post sizes are available to ensure each patient gets an implant that suits their needs. The restoration, on the other hand, is a custom-made appliance. Once your dentist secures your dental implant, they will administer impressions of your teeth and send them to a dental lab.
The lab will create a long-lasting, resilient dental implant restoration. Most are crafted out of porcelain or another high-quality, durable material. Once the restoration is complete, the lab will send it back to our office, and your dentist will complete the procedure by securely attaching your dental implant in place.
How long do dental implants last?
When properly placed and maintained with care, dental implants can last up to 30 years or more. It’s very common for patients to keep their implants for the rest of their lives.
The dental implant restoration, on the other hand, may not last this long. Restorations such as dental crowns or overdentures are exposed to regular wear and tear from chewing, biting, and more. Over the years, the restoration may need to be replaced a few times to keep your smile healthy and functional.
Can dental implants get infected?
Dental implants can become infected, but it is a very rare complication. Known as “peri-implantitis,” a dental implant infection usually only occurs if the implant is not kept clean or cared for after surgery.
To avoid peri-implantitis and maintain a healthy implant, follow your dentist’s instructions while recovering, and be sure to brush and floss regularly after your implant has healed.
Will dental implants stop bone loss?
Yes. When your jaw is no longer stimulated by the natural pressure of chewing and biting, bone loss will occur. Losing a tooth stops this process, causing the jaw bone to weaken.
When the dental implant post is bonded directly into the jaw bone, it acts as an artificial tooth root and transmits the force of chewing and biting through the root and into your jaw bone, keeping it healthy and strong.
Can dental implants be done in one day?
There are a few types of dental implants that can be done in one day. The restoration your dentist provides is a temporary appliance to keep your tooth healthy and functional until you have fully healed from your dental implant placement surgery. With your restoration, you can speak and eat normally throughout the healing process.
Your dentist will schedule a series of follow up appointments to track your healing process and take impressions of your teeth. These impressions will help the lab create your custom-made restoration, which will be a more permanent, durable, and natural-looking prosthetic than your temporaries.
Did you know…
Dental implants are made of titanium, which is one of the strongest and most durable metals.