If you are looking to replace missing or damaged teeth, dental implants are an excellent option. They are the most natural looking restoration option. Unlike dentures, you don't remove them for cleaning, and you can still eat the foods you love. You brush dental implants as you would your natural teeth, chew food with them, and to the untrained eye, they appear to be the teeth you were born with. That's why dental implants are the best option in dentistry outside of your natural teeth.
If missing or damaged teeth have left you feeling self-conscious, restoration through dental implants is the perfect option to give you back your confidence.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are titanium roots that are implanted into your jawbone beneath your gums. Once in place, they provide a solid foundation to have a crown placed on the implant.
The replacement teeth will be made to match your natural teeth, which will give your implants the appearance that they are your teeth. It would be very hard for anyone to ever notice your dental implants. However, dental implants aren't the right option for everyone.
Are Dental Implants the Right Option for Me?
This question will be best answered after your initial consultation with your dentist. During the initial consultation, you will receive x-rays on the specific area of your mouth that will receive the implant. These x-rays will reveal to your dentist if the bone in the area is strong enough to support a dental implant. It will also reveal if there is enough room to place a dental implant in that region of your mouth.
During the initial consultation, your dentist will also go over your medical history with you. Since receiving a dental implant is a surgical procedure your dentist will want to be assured that you are physically capable of handling the procedure and aren't allergic to any medications. If all looks well, your dentist will discuss cost and schedule a date to place your implant.
What Makes a Person a Good Candidate for Dental Implants?
The good news is that most people are good candidates for dental implants. However, there are a few characteristics that a good candidate should possess:
To receive dental implants, your gums must be healthy enough to sit around the implant providing support and strength. However, if your gums aren't currently healthy, all hope isn't lost. Gum disease is generally treated quite easily with modern dental practices. If you plan on replacing several teeth with dental implants, you would first have the remaining teeth extracted, and in a short amount of time your gums will become healthy again. If replacing several teeth isn't your goal then you would need to take the steps recommended by your dentist to fight the gum disease before implant surgery can be performed.
If you aren't a good candidate for dental implants or need to make some alterations to improve your candidacy, your dentist will discuss all options with you during the initial consultation.
Adequate Structure and Bone Size
Dental implants are embedded into the jawbone, so there must be a sufficient amount of bone, and the bone must be strong enough to support the structure. If your x-rays reveal there are issues with the bone where your implant will be placed, there are special procedures that can help rebuild the bone to the point that it will support a dental implant. Your dentist will discuss these options with you.
Smoking and Dental Implants
Your mouth will need time to heal, and your gums and bone will need time to take hold of the dental implant. Smoking can negatively impact these processes, therefore if you do smoke it is highly recommended that you quit to ensure post care treatments and healing are successful.
Commitment to Good Dental Health Practices and Regular Check-ups
Dental implants require the same care and maintenance as natural teeth. If bad dental hygiene habits are picked up after dental implant surgery, the implant will be impacted by gum disease and may have cause the dental surgery to fail.
What is the Lifespan of a Dental Implant?
With proper dental hygiene and regular dental check-ups dental implants can last a lifetime, making it an excellent long-term option for smile restoration.
Is the Procedure Painful?
If you are considering implant surgery but are worried about how painful the procedure will be you aren't alone. This is one of dental implant candidate’s most common fears.
Dental implant surgery is performed by making a small incision in the gum, then the implant is embedded into the jawbone using a screw. Afterward, the incision in the gums is closed with stitches.
All of this sounds painful. However, pain during dental implant surgery is minimal to none. A local anaesthetic will be used so you will be awake during the surgery, however we will ensure you are not experiencing any pain during the procedure. If you are nervous about the surgery, we can offer sedation for your comfort.
How Long is the Recovery Process?
Most patients report post-surgery discomfort; however, the pain is not severe, and your dentist will most likely prescribe over the counter pain relievers.
In the first 24-48 hours swelling will begin to subside and you might notice a small amount of bleeding which is normal. Mild pain and discomfort shouldn't last longer than a week.
After dental implant surgery, the bone and surrounding structures will take between three to six months to fully heal. During this time the jawbone will form around the implant increasing the implant’s sturdiness.
Single vs. Multiple Implants
If only a single tooth is being replaced an implant will be placed into the jawbone. Once the tooth is replaced it will look and feel like your natural tooth. With multiple implants, the procedure and recommendations will depend on what you and your dentist determine to be the best option.
If the bone is strong enough it is possible to replace many or all teeth with dental implants.
You will likely be presented with two options. A dental implant to anchor a bridge or denture. This will make the denture more secure and comfortable. The alternative is what is commonly called an "all on four" This is used to replace a complete set of teeth either top or bottom.
Advantages of Dental Implants
- The advantages of dental implants are many which is why they are such a popular option.
- They look and feel like natural teeth.
- They are permanent since they are fused to your bone.
- They don’t decay.
- They allow for proper speech since they won't slide around like dentures which is a common problem for people that wear dentures.
- They are comfortable because they are fused to the bone and unmovable, which essentially makes them a part of you.
- With dentures eating certain foods is difficult. That is not an issue with dental implants. They function as well as your natural teeth.
- Your confidence is restored because your oral health will be improved and your smile will be completely intact.
- They are durable and will last a lifetime with proper care and maintenance.
How Do I Care for My Dental Implants?
You care for dental implants the same as you would your natural teeth. Brushing, flossing, mouthwash and regular dental check-ups are all a part of proper dental implant care.
Will I Need a Dental Implant to Replace Each Tooth?
No. A single dental implant will hold a single tooth. However, two implants can support a bridge or partial and four to six implants can support a full upper or lower denture.
Are There Any Risks with Dental Implants?
Like any other surgery, complications are possible but are rare. The specific risk factors will be discussed with you during your initial consultation.
How do I start the process?
We recommend you visit one of our dentists for a comprehensive consultation. X-rays may be required of the area to plan your procedure and ensure there is sufficient bone level to support a dental implant. Our dentist will then provide you with a personalised treatment plan detailing the procedure and all costs involved. At this time, you’re also welcome to ask any questions you may have, then your implant appointment can be scheduled.