Many patients suffering from tooth loss never explore dental implants because they believe they are too expensive or the recovery is too extensive and restrictive. To make a truly informed decision regarding dental implants, every patient owes themselves the gift of a consultation appointment to learn the real truth about implants and ensure they’re making a decision based on real numbers and accurate information that only an oral surgeon who has examined their mouth and reviewed their x-rays can provide.
What Are The Benefits of Dental Implants?
Implants permanently replace missing teeth, preventing and improving social and health problems that result from missing teeth:
- difficulty chewing or biting
- malnourishment caused by an inability to chew
- misalignment of the jaw and resulting pain or TMJ
- embarrassment and self-consciousness
- movement of other teeth to fill open space
- changes in speech
Furthermore, those with missing teeth sometimes feel as if they are limited socially or professionally due to their appearance. Implants can improve your appearance, boost your self-confidence, keep your jaw aligned properly, and restore your ability to bite and chew without a struggle.
What is the First Step?
The very first step in getting dental implants is scheduling a consultation appointment to learn more about the procedure, determine your eligibility, develop a treatment plan, and learn about payment options. Each patient is different and requires a unique treatment plan.
Am I Eligible For Implants?
Patients who qualify for the procedure are typical:
- healthy enough to undergo a minor surgery,
- done growing;
- committed to the regular dental care and good routine oral health,
- have healthy bone and gums.
Those with chronic diseases that are not well-controlled, heavy smokers, and those with gum disease or receding bone need to be evaluated thoroughly by a provider to determine eligibility.
Many patients need treatment before they can receive their first dental implant surgery. This may involve bone grafting, tissue grafting, or orthodontic treatment to make space for the implant. All of these factors will be included in the overall treatment plan and timeline provided during the consultation.
Many patients worry about paying for their dental implants. In many cases, dental implants are no more costly than other less-permanent fixes like bridges. While implants typically aren’t covered by insurance, we will provide you with a treatment plan estimate along with options for payment at the initial consultation, allowing time to plan and seek out extended payment plans, like those offered by CareCredit.
The Dental Implant Surgery
Once you have completed all preliminary goals and treatments, the first procedure can be scheduled. During this outpatient procedure, a titanium post is placed in the missing tooth’s bone socket, and sutures are used to close the incision. Nothing will protrude; the entire titanium post will be hidden by your gum tissue to prevent injury or damage to the healing process.
Local anesthesia is administered to eliminate any pain, pressure, or anxiety you may feel, and the length of the procedure depends on how many dental implants are being placed. It takes a few days to a week to recover from the initial procedure; a soft diet, antibiotics, and painkillers are typically ordered during this time.
Over the next four to twelve months, the bone will heal and grow around the implant to anchor it securely in place. When the healing process is complete, the second procedure can be scheduled. During the second procedure, a local anesthetic is used, and a small incision is made. An abutment, or a connecting post, is attached to the titanium post. This abutment will protrude from your gum tissue and will hold your new tooth.
Impressions are taken, and the shade of your current teeth is recorded so your new tooth can be made, and then a few weeks later (more or less depending on your dentist and dental lab) the new crowns can be attached, and you can again smile with confidence and eat and talk with ease.
What Do I Need to Do After Implant Surgery?
With proper care, dental implants show a success rate of 98% and can last a lifetime. The care required by dental implants is no more than a good oral health routine; you should brush and floss at least twice daily, use mouthwash, and schedule routine dental cleanings and exams.Anyone who has recently had dental implants placed to replace missing teeth may find these tips and tricks useful when it comes to caring for those dental implants. Considered to be the most reliable replacement option available today for natural teeth, dental implants typically end up being stronger and more resilient than even real teeth. Here are a few excellent ways of maintaining dental implants in the best condition possible. For example, there are certain things to consider about eating and drinking once having dental implants placed. In most cases, implants are tough enough to handle virtually any type of everyday food or beverage. That said it is always best to avoid using your teeth to open a container and to avoid chewing on particularly hard food like hard candy.
These actions can result in future damage to dental implants just as natural teeth could become damaged. It is also a good idea to avoid drinking hot beverages. This is because implants use titanium posts or screws to hold them securely in place. If a drink is too hot to touch with your fingertips, it may be too hot for a dental implant.
Another tip for managing dental implants on a routine basis is to avoid using an electric toothbrush and to use a traditional toothbrush instead to maintain good oral hygiene and oral care. When it comes to flossing it is best to floss in a very delicate and deliberate way while working around dental implants. Aggressive or abrasive flossing could end up damaging the seal around the implant enabling bacteria to gain access to the bone. This can be damaging and may result in an infection and pain.
Today many types of instruments can be used to clean around dental implants, and that will not disrupt the seal that is securely in place. Whatever the case may be and regardless of the type of instrument used, approach the cleaning and care of dental implants in a delicate and precise way is always the best strategy. Some dental care providers may recommend a WaterPik as a way to remove food particles. However, when using a WaterPik be very careful because forceful water spray may end up damaging an implant socket. If using a WaterPik, it is best to use it on the lowest pressure setting available. Finally, routine regular dental checkups are one of the best ways to keep dental implants in top condition year after year.
Routine Cleaning Of Dental Implants
Regular dental checkups are important because in many cases a dental care provider may see early telltale signs of problems that the patient may not notice. Plan to have checkups spaced about every six months apart. In other words, regular dental checkups should be accomplished twice each year. When having a dental checkup, it is good to let your dental hygienist or dental care provider know that you have dental implants. This is an important consideration because the routine cleaning of dental implants is different than cleaning for natural teeth. Along with regular dental checkups, it is typically recommended to have an implant specialist check your implants at least once a year to ensure overall integrity and the health of surrounding tissue.
The early detection of problems is always the best approach to maintaining good dental health and wellness. Whether it is your natural teeth or dental implants, keeping a dental care provider in the loop and having routine checkups is the best way to enjoy long-term dental health. In many cases, dental implants can last decades and even up to a lifetime. For this to be possible, it is important to care for and maintain implants in the right way. Consider these simple yet important tips as discussed here to keep dental implants looking great and functioning properly at all times. If you have any other questions regarding dental implants and their proper care it is best to schedule an appointment with your dental care provider or oral surgeon. Dental implants have improved the quality of life for countless patients over the years thanks to their innovation and record of impressive reliability.