Dental implants are essentially a titanium post created to replace your missing tooth or teeth. The titanium post is placed into the jawbone surgically where the tooth is missing, and provides a more permanent solution to restore your smile.
Dental implants are a great way to be able to help replace a missing tooth or a bunch of missing teeth. They perform in your mouth the exact same way that your natural tooth once did, and they can last for the rest of your life if you take care of them the right way. They are a great addition to a smile that has a few gaps, and they also help provide you with a lot of benefits. If you have been considering getting dental implants, here is an overview of what the procedure entails and the benefits you would get from getting them.
What Does a Dental Implant Involve?
Once you have had your tooth extracted and the area from the tooth extraction has healed, you can then consider what options you have to replace that missing tooth. Dental implants are great, and they can replace a single lost tooth or an entire mouth of missing teeth. The first part of how this procedure is done is placing the posts into the jaw bone that will later anchor the teeth. This is a surgical procedure and requires a bit of healing time before the full implants can be placed. Once your mouth has healed, you will come in and a tooth or a set of teeth will be created to mimic the teeth you once had, and they will be adjusted to make sure that the fit is comfortable. When your implants are set up to where they will fit you properly, they are then placed on the posts, and you get to walk out of the office with a full, healthy smile and the confidence that goes with it.
How Dental Implants Improve Your Oral Health
We say that dental implants do a great deal for your oral health - but how? Well, we mentioned osteointegration above and that is one of the biggest factors. When you lose teeth eventually you will start losing the bone structure below the lost tooth. Once you start losing the bone in your jaw, your other teeth will be in danger of being lost, it's a viscous cycle and one that you should avoid. Because the dental implants fuse with your jaw, they actually encourage the bone in your jaw to regrow. Dental implants also do a great job of supporting your other teeth, helping them to stay in the proper place.
Dental Implants Can Support Multiple Tooth Replacement Fixtures
One of the best parts about dental implants is their flexibility. If you are missing one tooth we can replace it with a dental implant. Similarly, if you are missing multiple teeth or even all of your teeth, dental implants can be used to support bridges or full arch solutions. What this means is you can have a whole arch of teeth replaced with a implant supported denture, that is not removable and acts just like your real teeth!
The procedures for multiple tooth replacement and full arch replacement supported dental implants can take some extra time and planning to accomplish but in the end, you will have a smile that you can be proud of again.
Why Other Tooth Replacement Options are Inferior
Not all tooth replacement options are created equal. We say that dental implants offer you a better option for tooth replacement - but why? We mentioned osteointegration above and it is one of the keys as to why dental implants are better than dentures or bridges. Let's take a look at both dentures and bridges in order to understand how they differ from dental implants and if they might work for you.
Bridges are a permanent tooth replacement option that allows you to eat and speak as you would if you still had your natural teeth. Bridges require at least two points to act as anchors, these points can be dental implants, natural teeth or one of each. If your natural teeth will be used as implant anchor there will be a significant amount of alteration that will need to occur to get the bridge to fit over them. What this means is we will shave off a good portion of your teeth leaving them unable to act as teeth without some form of dental restoration on top of them. Implant supported bridges offer you the ability to replace multiple teeth without ever having to alter your natural teeth.
Dentures are almost always a removable tooth replacement option that allows it's wearers to appear to have a full set of teeth (full dentures) or to replace a few missing teeth (partial dentures). They are great for restoring confidence in the wearer and in the case of full dentures, they can give the wearer the ability to chew most foods. The problem with dentures is that they have a number of special care and cleaning requirements, they require denture adhesives, they don't address the oral health of the wearer, and they can't be used to eat any food you might like. This is quite the laundry list of disadvantages.
Dental implants can be used to support full arch tooth replacement options while addressing your oral health and requiring similar cleaning requirements as your natural teeth.
Benefits that Come with Dental Implants
Confidence is only one of the benefits of dental implants. You also have the ability to use your mouth in the same way that you would have with your natural teeth. You can eat your favorite foods, speak without the worry of dentures slipping out of place, and chew without the concern that you are going to have your partial slip out of place and hurt you.
Dental implants stimulate the jawbone in the same way that your natural teeth did, so they also help to keep the bone strong and healthy where you have that missing tooth. This allows you to avoid the sunken appearance that most people with dentures get eventually from jaw bone loss. Dental implants allow you to appear younger by maintaining the strong lines of your face, and by allowing you to feel confident enough to smile all the time, which helps you appear more youthful anyway. Plus, when you get dental implants, no one aside from your dentist is going to even be able to tell that you got them!
If you want to find out more about dental implants, give us a call at Surprise Smiles. We can help examine your mouth and give you an idea as to whether or not you would be an ideal candidate for getting dental implants. Contact us today and schedule your dental implant consultation.
The Materials We Use To Craft Implant Restorations
The part of the implant that you use to eat and that everyone sees is called the restoration. We have discussed the restorations above, how they can be a single tooth or multi-tooth restorations. They can even be full arch solutions. We use a few different kinds of materials depending on the needs of the tooth or teeth that are being restored. If the implant is going to be restoring a front tooth, one that is prominent in the smile, we will opt for a material that is more aesthetically beautiful. If the tooth that we are restoring is a molar, one of the teeth that perform most of the chewing that you do, we will use a material that can stand up to the high pressures that molars are subjected to and is more durable. Below, you will find a guide to what materials we use to craft implant restorations and their unique properties.
Porcelain Implant Restorations
When the tooth that we are restoring is featuring prominently in your smile, there is a good chance that we will use porcelain to restore it. Porcelain is notable for its unique qualities of looking strikingly similar to natural teeth. The sheen and luster of porcelain make it an almost perfect aesthetic match for a natural tooth. Front teeth are often restored using porcelain, and it’s even used for cosmetic dental restorations like veneers. We don’t typically use porcelain to restore molars because it’s not able to withstand the immense pressures that molars exert without cracking or chipping after some time. Porcelain can be used to restore molars provided that it is fused to a strong material, like metal.
Porcelain restorations are crafted by hand at our dental lab by highly skilled porcelain artists.
Ceramic Implant Restorations
Ceramic materials like zirconia have become a commonly used material in dental restorations today. Ceramics have the ability to closely match the aesthetics of a natural tooth, though not quite as well as porcelain. Ceramics also boast an impressive durability and strength, which make them ideal for restoring teeth that do all of the chewing, like molars. This material is quite dynamic and durable, able to provide a long lasting restoration that can be with you for the rest of your life if its properly taken care of.
Ceramics are commonly crafted by a special milling machine in our dental lab. These mills can very accurately recreate teeth restorations out of solid blocks of the ceramic materials using high-pressure jets of water.
Fused Metal Implant Restorations
When strength and durability are key, we will use one of the above materials (porcelain or ceramic) fused to a metal base, to create a strong, long-lasting restoration. Metal has been used to create dental restorations for a very long time. Because of its strength and its ability to provide a base for other materials like porcelain and ceramic, metal is a great restoration option that can last a long time.
Metal bases are crafted in our dental lab. Porcelain or ceramic material is then fused to the outside of the metal base to provide a more aesthetically pleasing restoration.
Post Dental Implant Placement Instructions
Following the placement of the implant post(s) in your jaw, some recovery time will be needed to allow the site to heal and the osseointegration to take place. We want the bone in your jaw to grow around the implant post so that it forms a strong bond with the post.
The day of surgery you will want to bring a friend or family member with you to drive you home and help make you comfortable. You will be sent home with gauze pads over the surgery sites, which you should check every hour or so. Some bleeding is normal following dental implant placement and should be expected. You will be sent home with specific instructions on post-operative care. Many patients are placed on a soft foods diet following dental implant placement so that difficult to chew foods do not harm the surgery site and the implant post. Foods like applesauce, soup, pudding, and gelatin are a great way to stay hydrated and keep your energy up.
It is important that you take it easy for at least a few days following dental implant placement procedure. Refrain from strenuous physical activities that can raise your blood pressure as this can lead to bleeding at the surgery site. If at any time following surgery you notice significant bleeding that lasts longer than a few hours, please call us immediately at (602) 842-4864 as this could be a sign of something more serious.
After a few weeks following implant placement surgery, you will have a follow-up appointment scheduled so that we can check on the success of the implant(s). During this time we will evaluate your implant and make recommendations on further care.