Dental implants are recommended to patients with the following concerns:
- Missing teeth
- Decayed/Non-restorable teeth
- Severely injured or traumatized teeth
What is a dental implant?
A dental implant is a titanium “root” that is placed into the jaw bone to support a crown to form an artifical tooth. Titanium is a biocompatible material and does not cause allergic reactions. The implant is inserted into the jaw bone under anesthesia, and the bone grows onto the implant and integrates with the surface.
Implant supported teeth look, feel, and function like natural teeth. When the natural roots of teeth are lost, bone resorption in the jaws may occur. These problems can be avoided by inserting dental implants.
The benefits of dental implants
-The mouth is restored as closely as possible to its natural state. By replacing the entire tooth, including the root, it is possible to replicate the function of natural teeth, with a strong, stable foundation that allows comfortable biting and chewing. In addition, nothing in the mouth looks, or feels artificial.
-Implants preserve the integrity of facial structures.
By preventing the bone resorption that would normally occur with the loss of teeth, the jaw and facial structures remain intact. This is particularly important when all of the teeth are missing, as the lower one-third of the face collapses if implants are not placed to preserve the bone.
Your smile is improved when replacement teeth look more like natural teeth. Even when only one tooth is missing, long term esthetics are very good with an implant supported replacement tooth. This is particularly important in the front of your mouth, where preventing a visible bone defect is critical for natural appearance.
Replacing missing teeth with implant supported crowns/bridges does not involve the adjacent natural teeth, so they are not compromised, or damaged.
-Overall quality of life is enhanced with replacement teeth that look, feel and function like natural teeth. With implant supported replacement teeth, the appearance of the smile is more natural and the teeth function more like natural teeth. The result is increased comfort and confidence when smiling, speaking, and eating. If dentures and partials are replaced with implant supported teeth, the overall enhancement in quality of life is even more significant, with a new-found ability to eat all types of foods, eliminate messy adhesives, and improve speech, comfort and appearance.
-Convenient Oral hygiene.
It is much easier to care for an implant supported crown, which can be cleaned like a natural tooth.
Since implants preserve bone, they prevent the deterioration of the facial structures and your appearance is improved. Collapse of the lower one-third of the face caused by complete tooth loss can be visually corrected and the remaining bone preserved. The appearance of wrinkles around the mouth caused by posterior bite collapse, or complete facial structure collapse is virtually eliminated.
Preparing for Dental Implant Surgery
Dr. Patel will evaluate your remaining teeth and gums before dental implant surgery to make sure you are a good candidate for the procedure. If you are in good health, have healthy gums and adequate bone structure to support dental implants, he will develop a customized dental implant treatment plan for you.
If bone structure is inadequate but you meet other criteria for dental implant surgery, Dr. Patel may recommend bone grafting to improve bone support and facilitate dental implants.
In the weeks prior to dental implant surgery, Dr. Patel will provide you with specific pre- and post-operative care instructions. Smoking cessation will be necessary. You should also avoid consuming alcohol a week before your dental implant surgery.
The Dental Implant Procedure
Dental implant surgery typically involves two surgical procedures, and local anesthesia is typically used for both procedures. The entire treatment process takes 4-6 months, and each surgical procedure may take an hour or more to perform. If multiple dental implants are placed, the time needed for surgery will increase.
The first dental implant procedure involves placing a small titanium post known as a tooth root implant in the bone socket of the tooth being replaced. This post will eventually anchor your new tooth to your gums. Under certain situations, Dr. Patel will coordinate with your dentist so that a temporary crown will be placed on your tooth root implant while you wait to complete the second phase of dental implant surgery.
Within 3-4 months, healing from your first dental implant procedure should be complete, and the second stage of surgery may be performed. Dr. Patel will make a minimal incision to expose the implant. He will attach a small screw that will sit slightly above your gum tissue. After approximately 2 weeks of healing, you will follow up with your dentist who will complete the remaining portion of your treatment. Your dentist will fabricate the permanent crown, which will be attached to the implant.
For more information about dental implants at Piedmont Oral & Facial Surgery, or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Patel, please call 404-907-2117.