What are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are quickly becoming the most popular tooth replacement treatment, thanks to their durability, recovery features, and beautiful shape. Regardless if you’re missing one tooth or more, dental implants can restore your smile in just a few short visits. Read along to uncover what makes dental implants so advantageous for Pembroke residents like you.
Anatomy of a Dental Implant
First, let’s take a look at the three pieces that build an implant. Each of these three pieces requires its own procedure to place and plays an important role in restoring your smile.
- Titanium Fixture: The titanium fixture is the first to be placed via an outpatient surgical procedure. It’s shaped like a screw and is installed directly into the jawbone, serving as the main support for the entire implant.
- Abutment: The abutment is a smaller piece that tops the implant fixture, and anchors the porcelain crown in place.
- Porcelain Crown: This last piece sits directly on top of the crown. It hides the metallic parts of the implant, and is a crafted to look and feel just like a real tooth.
Benefits of Dental Implants
- Durable: Dental implants are meant to be as strong as real teeth and can tackle any tough food that comes your way. Patients have their natural bite pressure restored and keep neighboring teeth from shifting.
- Long-Lasting: Dental implants have an average lifespan that surpasses dentures and dental bridges. Since it’s permanently placed, it doesn’t undergo the usual wear and tear that the other two treatments endure.
- Looks Natural: Dental implants are designed to look and feel as natural as your real teeth, and Dr. Munro will work closely with you to ensure that they feel comfortable.
- Heals Your Jawbone: An unfortunate side effect of missing teeth is that your jaw begins to weaken in that area as a result. But dental implants can help revitalize the area through a process known as osseointegration, which heals the area and secures the implant in place.
- Increases Confidence: Patients feel self-conscious about their missing teeth, but filling in those gaps with dental implants can help improve that confidence once again.
The Dental Implant Process
Step 1: Consult with Dr. Munro
Before you consider dental implants, it’s important that you first consult with Dr. Munro to determine if you qualify for dental implants. Some factors that are taken into consideration are overall oral health, condition of your jawbone, and how many teeth are missing. Once you’ve been approved, our team will let you know about your options and potential treatment times.
Step 2: Supplemental Treatments and Preparation
Supplemental treatments are procedures that help improve the condition of oral structures, allowing them to fully support the dental implant. These include bone grafts, gum grafts, sinus lifts, and other treatments that can improve the symptoms of jawbone deterioration and gum recession. Once completed, it’s time to place the implant itself.
Step 3: Surgical Placement and Crown
The implant fixture is the first to be placed in the jaw, and may require a period of healing before the application of the abutment and porcelain crown. This can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, as the process of osseointegration requires a bit of time to complete. Once ready, the abutment and crown can be placed in quick succession, and the process is complete.
Step 4: Postoperative Care
It’s important that patients adhere to the instructions given for postoperative care. These include:
- Ice packs for soreness: It’s ok to use an ice pack if the surgical site is feeling sore. Be sure to apply the ice pack to the outside cheek, and not in direct contact with the surgical site. If you are experiencing excessive soreness or bleeding, give us a call for further instructions.
- Be gentle when opening/closing your jaw: Soreness is a normal side effect of post-dental implant surgery, so be careful when opening and closing your jaw for the first few days.
- DO NOT use straws: This is one of the more important rules, as doing any sort of vacuum motion with your mouth can dislodge essential blood clots in the healing process.
- Follow any doctor prescriptions and instructions: If you are prescribed pain medication, follow the dosage instructions.