A smile can share so many wonderful things about a person, adding kindness and warmth to a face. However, a gap or space between your teeth where a tooth once was can quickly take a toll on your self-esteem, making even the friendliest person feel like hiding their smile from the world. Tooth loss affects nearly 180 million adults, making this a far-reaching problem that affects many Americans. Schedule appointment with our dental implant dentists today at El Paso Dentistry and find out how we can help with your missing teeth.
In the past, treatment options were limited to those who are missing one or more of their teeth, with their only choices being a partial denture or a fixed bridge. Now, we here at El Paso Modern Dentistry are proud to offer our patients the choice of getting a dental implant, allowing those who are suffering from missing teeth to have a permanent and attractive looking replacement for their lost tooth.
WHAT ARE DENTAL IMPLANTS
Dental implants are growing in popularity, with half a million people electing to get them every single year. They are a fantastic treatment option for many people who have lost a tooth, and many of our patients are good candidates for dental implants. They have a remarkably high success rate at 98 percent, which makes this a reliable replacement for missing teeth. Getting a dental implant is also quite safe and routine, which means that our patients can have a natural-looking dental prosthetic that can last them the rest of their life if they take good care of it.
A dental implant is made of three components, each of which serves a specific purpose. The part of the implant that is surgically placed into the jawbone is a titanium screw. We use titanium in our implant posts because the body will accept this metal instead of rejecting it. The human body treats titanium like part of itself, with the jawbone building up over the titanium post. This is called osteointegration and helps make sure the implant is strong and study inside the mouth.
Once the screw heals inside the jawbone, we will then attach a connector piece called the abutment. The abutment allows us to attach the post to the restoration, which is the third and final piece of the implant. The restoration is the part of the implant that resembles the actual tooth and is also called a crown.
Getting a dental implant placed does require minor outpatient surgery. We start by placing a small incision into the gums, which allows us to access the jawbone where we will place the implant. Once the titanium post is securely placed inside the jawbone, we will then stitch the surgical site closed with sutures. While the procedure itself only takes an hour to an hour and a half at most, we do need to wait for the incision to heal fully before we can place the abutment and the restoration. This may take up to six months or longer, depending on the patient.
WHO CAN GET THEM?
Good candidates for dental implants are patients who do not have an active infection of the gums. If they do, we will need to treat it first. If the patient smokes, they will need to stop smoking to ensure the best outcome for the implant. Sufficient bone mass is also important, and patients who do not have enough bone in the jaw may need a bone graft before they can proceed with the implant procedure.
A prosthesis is a piece that is added to your teeth or mouth to replace missing teeth, restore damaged teeth, or otherwise improve your dental health and functionality. Since these pieces are often added where teeth are damaged or missing, they need extra support for stability and strength in your mouth. One way dentists can help ensure that a dental prosthesis is successful is the use of a dental implant.
Dental implants are a dental component that is used in different treatment plans to replace or support teeth through a piece implanted in the jawbone. The prosthesis, such as a replacement tooth, dentures, or crown, is affixed to the implant to hold it in place and provide stability and support within the mouth. Dental implants can be a good solution for replacing multiple teeth or for providing stability for dentures because the implants work with the strength of the jawbone to hold the prosthesis in place. Not everyone is a good candidate for dental implants. Because of the way they are placed and used, your jawbone must be able to accept the implants. This will require an examination prior to the implants being placed to ensure that they can be placed. In addition, after the surgical procedure to place the implants, you will have an examination to ensure they are being accepted by the jawbone prior to the prosthesis being put in place.
THE DENTAL IMPLANT PROCESS
Having dental implants placed is considered a surgical procedure, but it is an outpatient procedure. Depending on what is needed, the implants may be placed in stages in order to maximize their effectiveness. Between the stages, the area is allowed to heal. The stages of the process include:
1 – Removing damaged teeth from the area
2 – Preparing the jawbone for the implants, if needed
3 – Implant placement and bone healing
4 – Prosthesis placement (dentures, bridges, etc.)
A. Dental implants are placed in the jawbone, which requires anesthesia. This makes the process easier and more comfortable for the patient as well as easier for the dental staff. However, it is typically an outpatient surgery, which means you will be able to go home the same day as the procedure. This will allow you to recover comfortably in your own home after the implants are put in place.
A. Any surgical procedure has risks, including dental implant surgery. Some risks associated with this procedure include:
- infection at the site of the implants
- nerve damage, which can cause discomfort, pain, or numbness
- damage to the blood vessels at the site of the implants
Your dentist will discuss potential risks with you prior to the procedure. If you have any questions about risks, your dentist can address them prior to the procedure.
A. Many times, dental implants are simply one option for your dental prosthesis. Your dentist may recommend dental implants so that your dentures, bridge, or other dental piece has increased strength and stability in your mouth. This will help it to function the way a natural tooth would. In addition, dental implants are a more permanent solution for dental needs, which reduces the chances of needing to come in for repairs or replacements after several years.
A. Healing time varies from person to person, but it typically takes approximately four to six months for the area of dental implants to completely heal. During that time, you may have pain, swelling, and bruising, especially immediately after the procedure. You will have follow-up appointments with your dentist to ensure that you are healing properly. Your dentist will also provide you with information about when to call for an appointment or signs that your implants need attention during the healing process.
A. Dental implants work because the jawbone heals to the screws, adding strength and stability. However, if you are not given time for this healing to take place, the dental implants will not be stable enough to support the prosthesis. In addition, this gives time to ensure that the implants will heal properly and that your jawbone will accept the implants prior to placing the prosthesis. If any adjustments need to be made, they should be made prior to placing the prosthesis