Why Dental Implants?
There are many reasons for loss of teeth: sports injuries, illness, cavities/tooth decay, or periodontal disease. Dental implants are a great way to replace missing teeth and also provide a fixed solution to having removable partial or complete dentures.
Dental implants are a great way to restoring full chewing function, speech and esthetics.
What is a Dental Implant?
A dental implant is typically made of commercially pure titanium or titanium alloy. Dental implants replace the natural root of the tooth – in form and function. The jaw bone integrates with the dental implant so that a new, custom-made crown can be placed. In addition to replacing missing teeth, the dental implant stimulates the jaw bone when functioning thus preserving jaw bone that would normally be lost.
Dental implants are comprised of three main parts:
- Titanium/Titanium Alloy Implant Body – the “screw” that is placed within your jaw bone to replace the natural root of the tooth.
- Abutment – the interface between what is surgically placed in your jaw bone and what will show/function in your mouth.
- Restoration – Depending on the restorative plan for you, this can be an individual crown, a bridge, an implant supported removable prosthesis, an implant supported non-removable prosthesis, etc.
What to Expect
Every implant treatment consists of five steps – regardless of whether we are replacing a single tooth or extensive restoration. The length of treatment depends on the individual situation, the pre-treatment required and your personal wishes. Implant restoration usually takes several months, from diagnosis to insertion of the prosthetics.
Step 1 – Diagnosis
Dr. Flores will determine if implants are right for you by:
- Reviewing your medical/dental history – Making sure you are physically able to receive implant therapy and help to determine its long-term success.
- Taking radiographs of the potential implant site – Initially a 2-D digital radiograph will be reviewed and if deemed necessary a 3-D digital radiograph will be taken. These different views allow Dr. Flores and his team to review crucial areas in the proposed implant site; helping to minimize potential post operative risks.
- Assess the areas directly adjacent to the proposed site – this clinical assessment allows Dr. Flores to determine if pre-treatment is necessary (see Step 2).
- Review the process of dental implants and restoration with you and answer any questions or concerns you may have.
Step 2 – Pre-treatment
As mentioned previously, Dr. Flores will review your dental history and suggest treatment that needs to be completed prior to placing any dental implants; this treatment can range from extractions and bone grafting to restoring teeth adjacent to the proposed site. Pre-treatment serves the purpose of making implant treatment successful. This is very important to improve your dental health long-term.
Step 3 – Implantation
With state of the art technology and modern clinical advancements, one should not forget that dental implant placement is still a surgery. At Flores Family Dental we have protocols in place that allows us to minimize the risks and complications for a surgery like this.
While anesthetized/numb, the dental implant will be surgically placed into your jaw bone and allowed to heal, usually undisturbed, for a period of 4-6 months.
Step 4 – Restoration
Between Step 3 and 4 there will a series of post-operative appointments with Dr. Flores who will assess the progress of the soft and hard tissue healing. Depending on the type of cover we used at the end of the surgery, you may require a second minor surgery to uncover the implant and allow for an abutment to be placed. Other intermediate steps may be necessary to obtain the best functional and esthetic treatment outcome.
Once the restoration is returned from the lab we will check the function, fit and esthetic outcome. The prosthesis can now be placed permanently. Your new tooth/teeth are now ready to be used!
Step 5 – Care
Like natural teeth, implant and the restorations also require thorough care. Though the implant is anchored firmly to your jaw, the surrounding gums, transitional areas between your implant, and the crown itself still require good cleanings and regular check ups to help ensure the long-term success of an implant restoration.
Gum irritation and inflammation may occur if implant supported prosthesis are not cared for, thus leading to damage of the actual implants in the long term. You can avoid this risk by keeping your scheduled hygiene appointments and maintaining your at-home oral hygiene regime.