Dental Implants 101: Not so long ago, there weren’t many treatments available if you found yourself missing or partially missing one or more teeth. For years, the only options were full or partial dentures and bridges. Fortunately, dentistry has come a long way in a relatively short amount of time! For almost fifty years now, dental implants have offered patients a safe, effective, and lasting way to improve the appearance and function of their smile. If you’re missing teeth, you already know that it can affect your cosmetic appearance, limit what you’re able to eat, and even cause problems with your speech. To learn more about how dental implants from Boger Dental can restore your smile, keep reading below!
What are dental implants?
Modern dental implants are generally made of titanium, a material that the body naturally accepts. We’re able to replace a missing tooth by placing a small metallic screw directly into the empty socket. In time, the jawbone and gum tissue around this area will fuse with the implant itself. This forms an artificial root, which will hold the implant in place for many years.
Once the implant area has fully healed, a small connector called an abutment will be attached to the implant to hold the new tooth, also known as a crown. Crowns these days have the same color and shape as your own teeth, so they blend in with your natural smile seamlessly. If multiple teeth are missing, we can fix a bridge or denture onto the implant instead of a crown.
Because the implant fuses to your bone, dental implant restorations feel and function more like natural teeth. Many people also find the fit more comfortable and secure than conventional substitutes.
How does the dental implant process work?
The dental implant procedure will normally be conducted in three separate phases. This can take 6-9 months or so to complete, but it must be carried out over a longer period of time in order to give the body adequate time to accept the implant before concluding the treatment process.
Once you decide on dental implant treatment with our practice, one of our dentists will examine the bone structure around the missing tooth using x-rays or a 3D scan. The proper bone height, width, and density are necessary to properly place an implant in the best location for optimal results. In the case of a partially missing tooth, the remaining tooth may be removed at the time of the procedure. If the bone density is low, bone grafting may be necessary before we can place the implant. If this is required, patients will usually need to wait 3 months for the area to heal before moving on to the second phase. If no bone grafting is required, we can initiate Phase Two right away.
During this stage of the treatment process, the titanium implant will be inserted into the predetermined location. This procedure will generally take about 1-2 hours. We will once again need to allow 3-4 months for healing time before moving on to Phase 3. You’ll be scheduled for regular check-ups with one of our dentists throughout this healing period.
The final phase is implant restoration. Your doctor will place a natural-looking dental crown on top of the abutment, or attach a fixed bridge to the implant posts. If you need a full arch replacement or a denture replaced, then the entire teeth apparatus will be attached to the implant posts. Whatever your specific situation, the implants will restore full functionality and greatly improve the overall appearance of your smile!
How long is the recovery process with dental implants?
Following the dental implant procedure, you can expect some slight discomfort while the area heals, although most patients say the procedure is much easier than they thought it would be! We’ll provide you with gauze packs to bite down on, which helps control the initial bleeding. Ice packs applied to the outside of your jaw can also reduce any swelling. For the first few days, you may want to stick to liquid or soft foods.
Caring for your dental implants
You’ll need to care for your dental implants as you would your natural teeth. We recommend that all our patients brush twice a day for two minutes each time, and floss every night before bed. You should also schedule regular dental check-ups, preferably every 6 months. Maintaining a good dental hygiene routine will help ensure your implants last a lifetime!
Restore your smile with implants from Boger Dental
Because they function like a natural tooth, implants offer you many advantages over other alternatives. This includes durability, a high rate of success, a natural appearance, and improved oral health. There must be viable bone tissue present in order to ensure the implants stay rooted. This is why you should get in touch as soon as possible if you have a missing tooth or multiple missing teeth that need attention.
At Boger Dental, our dentists are experienced and skilled in both restorative and cosmetic dentistry, so each step of your dental implant journey will be taken with us right here in our Plymouth office. Once the process is complete, your implants will be no different from your natural teeth in terms of their function and appearance. The implant will also help to keep the bone healthy and strong. Your smile will look good and feel great, too!
If you’d like to learn more about how our dental implants can improve your oral health and overall quality of life, get in touch with us today or click here to schedule an implant appointment.