In years past, replacement of a missing tooth meant cutting on another tooth in order to accommodate a bridge or removable appliance. However, the latest technological advancement for missing tooth replacement - dental implants - can effectively replace a missing tooth to its original function, without having to damage nearby teeth and without having to be removed.
Dental implants are used in a variety of dental treatments, ranging from individual crowns to large scale dentures. Dr. Smith can ensure that not only will the most comfortable replacement be found, but it will be placed in the most accurate and aesthetic manner possible.
There are numerous options available to improve the overall health and appearance of the teeth and smile. Patients should consult with their dentists to decide which option best suits their specific needs and will most effectively meet their expectations.
What are dental implants?
Dental implants are an innovative form of tooth replacement. Dental implants may sound like a dentistry process but in most cases, placement of an implant is much easier and more comfortable than a tooth extraction. They act as a foundation for artificial teeth and come as close to the real thing as possible, replacing the root of a tooth or teeth. They are made from material such as titanium and have a longstanding reputation in medicine as being durable and compatible with the human body.
Below we have answered many of the most frequently asked questions regarding dental implants. If you think implants may be the right solution for you, give our office a call to set up a consultation.
What are the benefits of dental implants?
There are several benefits patients can gain from dental implant treatment. When a tooth is lost or needs to be extracted, replacement is vital to the health and appearance of the smile:
- Missing teeth can alter a patient's jaw position affecting muscle activity leading to migraines.
- Gaps left by missing teeth can affect chewing and speech.
- Gaps invite surrounding teeth to move, which can eventually affect the bite.
- Shifted teeth may be harder to keep clean, leading to tooth decay and gum irritation.
- Substantial bone loss occurs when a tooth is not replaced.
- Missing teeth alter the look of the smile and can make the face look older.
Prosthetic teeth attach to dental implants and are made to look and feel just like natural teeth. These artificial teeth are distinct to each person's oral structures, and facial proportions.
With good care, smiles can last many years, if not indefinitely. Unlike removable fixtures like dentures, dental implants do not require special care. Daily brushing and flossing, depending on the circumstance, are what keep implants and replacement teeth in optimal condition. Patients need not avoid certain foods or visit their dentist for periodic adjustments. They can go about their lives as they normally have, enjoying a healthy new smile.
Am I a Candidate for Dental Implants?
Many adults are good candidates for dental implants. Dentists look for:
- Good general health. Some health conditions, such as diabetes, can affect the successful integration of dental implants into the jawbone.
- A sufficient jawbone structure is also ideal. However, techniques like bone grafting can be considered as needed to build up the bone structure to support dental implants.
- Nonsmokers are better candidates for dental implants. Smoking and tobacco use have been linked to a higher rate of implant failure.
- Patients should commit to ongoing oral hygiene including brushing and flossing, if they have natural teeth remaining, to avoid bacterial infection and decay that may affect the stability of dental implants.
How is the dental implants procedure performed?
Dental implant treatment is multi-faceted. The steps that are involved in this method of tooth replacement include:
- Implant placement- The selected number of implants is situated into the jawbone during a precision surgery. Gum tissue is stitched over each implant to fully cover and protect it while healing.
- Healing- It takes several months for implants to integrate into the jawbone. This is called osseointegration, the process through which bone tissue grows around each implant. This growth fully stabilizes implants to hold replacement teeth.
- Tooth replacement- After the gums have healed around abutment pieces, custom-made replacement teeth can be affixed to this upper end of each implant.
Are Dental Implants Painful?
Dental implant treatment is not painful. The insertion of implants is conducted using a local anesthetic that numbs the nerve endings in the gums. Patients may feel pressure on the jaw as the procedure is performed. This is very similar to getting a filling or a root canal. After each stage of treatment, discomfort is typically mild enough to be managed well with over-the-counter pain medication.
What is the recovery from dental implants?
There is a brief recovery period after implant treatment. After implants are placed, patients may experience soreness in the jaw and tenderness where the gums have been stitched in place. Mild soreness and tenderness can typically be managed with over-the-counter medication.
Healing patients are encouraged to eat a soft food diet for 1 to 2 weeks as needed following implant procedure so as not to disturb implants as they are gaining stability from surrounding bone.
Once replacement teeth have been situated onto dental implants, there may be little recovery needed, if any. Patients may eat a variety of foods as tolerated based on any minor soreness in the jaw.
Why Get Dental Implants at Dental Arts of Hedgesville?
Patients appreciate receiving care from a dentist who understands the inherent stress of restorative procedures. Losing a tooth can be overwhelming and frightening. What patients need in this situation is a dentist who will prioritize both their comfort and their long-term wellness.
After receiving his DDS, Dr. Smith expanded his clinical expertise with an additional year of training via an Advanced Education in General Dentistry residency at the Martinsburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center. In his years of practice, his objective has been to exceed the standard of care during every procedure. This involves continuing advanced training in restorative procedures and keeping abreast of the latest techniques and technology to maximize outcomes and patient comfort.
Schedule Your Consultation Today
If you're interested in learning more about dental implants please contact us for a consultation at (304) 754-8803 or fill out our contact us form. We will discuss your needs and concerns, and determine your best course of action.