Dental Implants & Procedure
Protecting your oral health involves taking very good care of your teeth and gums and avoiding those things that can cause injury or damage. That said, it can sometimes be necessary to extract a tooth, or several teeth, from the mouth in order to protect or restore your oral health. When this occurs, it’s important to install a replacement tooth as soon as possible, since leaving gaps in the mouth can create further oral health issues.
In addition to helping support oral structure and function, dental implants are also of cosmetic benefit, making them an important dental procedure for individuals who have suffered tooth loss.
Receiving Dental Implants
While there are multiple types of dental implants, the basic purpose of each is the same – to serve as an artificial replacement for a tooth that has been extracted or lost due to periodontal disease, injury, or some other event.
The most common implant procedure involves placing an implant in the jawbone. Effective and permanent, this implant procedure is made to hold one or more artificial teeth in place.
In order to receive a dental implant, the individual must have good oral and general health. These initial steps are imperative as the jaw bone must be strong enough to receive and support the implant, and the gum tissues must be free from periodontal disease so that they respond well to both the implant and the artificial tooth. A few dental implant options include:
- Replacing one tooth with an implant, abutment, and crown (see image for visual details).
- Replacing more than one tooth with several implants, abutments, and a bridge or bridges (see image for visual details).
- Replacing all of the teeth with several implants, abutments, and a full set of dentures.
Prior to receiving dental implants, your dentist will perform a thorough examination of your teeth and mouth, this process includes a CBCT x-ray. CBCT is a specialized type of x-ray (superior to traditional x-rays) that provides detailed three-dimensional teeth, bone and general mouth structure images. This information assists in determining if implants are the correct restorative dental treatment to fit your needs.
Your dentist will also ensure that you understand not only the benefits of receiving dental implants, but also how the procedure works and what you will need to do to care for your implants. Once it has been determined that dental implants are appropriate for you, there are three main steps to the implant procedure:
- The area within your mouth that requires attention will first be anesthetized in order to make the procedure as comfortable as possible. Then the dentist will place the implant into the jawbone.
- The bone around the implant will need to heal. During this process, known as “osseointegration”, your dentist will recommend that you stick to soft, cold foods and warm soup to minimize discomfort and further aid the healing process. It is vital that osseointegration goes smoothly, as the healing of the bone around the implant helps to make the implant even stronger and more durable. The process can take several months, which is why those individuals who require more than one implant tend to receive all of them at once.
- Once the implant has healed, an abutment is attached to the implant, and then the crown (also called the artificial tooth) is affixed to the abutment. The crown is made in a specific size, shape, and color to fit properly in the mouth. Multiple implants are normally covered with a dental bridge or partial or full dentures, which likewise are made in a specific size, shape, and color to fit properly in the mouth. These replacements are made based on a dental impression that is taken only after the implants have been placed. Temporary crowns, bridges, or dentures are normally used until the permanent ones can be fabricated, placed, and adjusted.
There are many benefits of effective tooth replacement. Such a procedure can improve not only chewing, speaking, and the cosmetic nature of your smile, but dental implants help stabilize your bite and help prevent your teeth from moving out of their correct position.
While dental implants can be the correct restorative and cosmetic dental treatment in a variety of situations, they should always be carefully discussed with your dentist to ensure that they are the right option for you. It’s possible that there might be another dental treatment that is more appropriate and less invasive, especially if your overall health is an issue.
Click here to request a free dental implant consultation appointment with Northwood Dental, and ensure you gather all the information you need before making a decision.