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Dental Implants

Dental implants represent one of the best advances in modern dentistry. When many people who have suffered tooth loss or damage may feel like they’ve lost a reason to smile, dental implants make it easier to replace lost teeth. And they look, feel, and function like natural dentition.

What are Dental Implants?

A dental implant is technically a small metal post that acts as an artificial root for a crown, or replacement tooth. The post is driven into the jawbone, where it fuses and functions the same way as a natural root. Dental implants are a perfect alternative to dentures, and they can be used on people who have lost teeth due to injuries or periodontal disease.

Types of Dental Implants

There are two types of dental implants:

  • In-bone (endosteal) implants are the most common type of dental implant. They are usually made of titanium screws driven into the jawbone, where they protrude through the gum to hold the new tooth in place. Titanium is preferred over stainless steel because it is lighter, stronger, and corrosion-resistant.
  • On-the-bone (subperiosteal) implants involve placing a titanium framework on the jawbone. The metal frame contains attachment posts to hold the prosthetic teeth. Subperiosteal implants do not affect the jawbone structure, and they’re generally used in patients lacking the adequate height for an endosteal implant.

Dental Implant Procedure

Dental implant procedures usually run for several weeks in a three-part process, with time allotted between stages to allow for healing:

  1. The dentist places the root insert into the jawbone during the first treatment stage. Your diet should mainly consist of soft foods and warm foods during the healing process. Many dentists usually advise against taking hot foods during this period.
  2. Osseointegration is the next stage of treatment, in which the jawbone is left to fuse with the implant and hold it in place. The bone grows around the insert, and integrates completely before the replacement teeth can be attached. Some people have to wait for several months, yet others can have the implants and dental replacement done in one visit.
  3. The final step involves placing the artificial tooth, or crown, on the implant. The crown is customized to fit in with the other teeth. A custom denture may be required where replacements involve more than one tooth.

Dental Implant Care

Dental implants should be kept free of plaque and bacteria using the same care practices for natural dentition. Poor care routines can lead to infection in the tissues, and may result in implant loss. While routine dental visits help maintain your implants, the best care should start with your regular cleaning regimen at home.

Here’s how to provide the best care for your dental implants:

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day using a soft-bristle toothbrush and low-abrasion toothpaste
  • Ensure that you brush around all parts of the implant crown, from top to bottom
    Clean the hard-to-reach places with a nylon-coated interdental brush
  • Floss daily with a recommended floss, and use a prescribed mouthwash

The following extra steps are also essential when you have overdentures:

  • Remove the dentures and soak them in a recommended cleaner
  • Inspect the dentures for worn or missing clips and locator caps
  • Clean the underside of the denture with a recommended brush
  • Always rinse the denture before placing it in the mouth
  • Schedule routine dental checkups for O-ring and locator cap replacements

Are dental implants painful?

Dentists usually use local anesthesia to numb the mouth during dental implant surgery. Patients might feel a mild pain once the numbness wears off after the procedure. A few patients may experience relative discomfort during the recovery period, but this can be easily managed with analgesics. Many people who have undergone the procedure admit that the pain is less than they experienced after procedures such as tooth extraction.

Do you need follow-up visits after a dental implant procedure?

Dental implant surgery is a relatively lengthy process. Often, a second appointment is necessary within two weeks of placing the implants, where the dentist inspects the healing process and checks for signs of infection. Another one will be required six weeks post-implant placement for a thorough evaluation. Patients are generally advised to schedule follow-up care every 4-6 months for oral hygiene checkups and inspection of the osseointegration process.

How long does a tooth implant last?

Dental implants are meant to last a lifetime. That depends, however, on your overall dental hygiene. They can last that long because of the strength and durability of the titanium embedded into the jawbone. The crown and its abutment might need replacement every 10 or 15 years, because they are always actively involved in chewing and biting food.

Is bone grafting required for implants?

Chewing exerts a lot of pressure on your jawbone. An implant might fail if the jawbone isn’t thick enough, or if it’s too soft to support the implant. Grafting may be used to create a solid base for the implant transplanting a new bone material into the jawbone.

How do dental implants fail?

Dental implants almost never fail if the patient comes in for regular dental checkups every six months, and takes good care of their teeth. Poor dental practices and preexisting medical conditions like diabetes are usually the culprits when an implant fails. Poor oral hygiene can lead to gum disease, affecting the placement of implants.

Am I a good candidate for implants?

Dental implants require deep integration into the gum and bone tissues, so dentists examine a few factors before qualifying you for an implant procedure. Usually, they will inspect your general and oral health to ensure that you’re in the best shape. You will also need:

  • Adequate bone strength and height in your jaw
  • Healthy gum tissue (free from periodontal disease)

Which is better, a crown or an implant?

A dental crown replaces the decayed part of the tooth while keeping the root in place. They’re usually less expensive than implants, but sometimes the cement holding the crown washes or wears away over time, necessitating frequent replacements. Dental implants are a much more reliable long-term solution, after which patients never experience heightened sensitivity post-treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Dependable Dental Implant Surgeries in Florida

When considering a dental implant, it’s important to opt for the best care possible. Smile Design is a family-owned dental practice dedicated to offering personalized attention to our patients. We focus on building a strong bond with each patient, as it helps us understand your needs and offer the best solutions.

Contact us to find a location near you or schedule an appointment

Family-owned and operated, Smile Design provides personalized attention for each of our patients throughout the state of Florida. We believe in building a strong, trusting relationship with our patients and we’ll take the time to get to know you, listen to your concerns, and answer any questions you may have about your dental hygiene, oral health problems, the treatments our doctors recommend, and your smile appearance.

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