Dental implants are an excellent treatment for replacing missing teeth. A root form implant is the most common kind of dental implant. It is a small, titanium post that replaces the roots of a missing tooth. A custom-fitted artificial tooth, called a restoration, is secured to the implant, which holds the restoration firmly in place.
The Benefits of an Implant
An implant has several benefits. Like the roots of natural teeth, it stimulates the jawbone when you chew. This preserves the jawbone and keeps it healthy. An implant is strong, comfortable, and secure. When the restoration is in place, the implant looks and feels much like natural teeth.
With careful homecare and regular checkups and cleanings here in our office, an implant can be an excellent long-term solution for missing teeth.
How is an Implant Used?
An implant can support a variety of restorations, such as a single crown, multi-unit bridges, and full arch dentures. Some restorations, like a single crown and most bridges, are not removable. Others, like many full-arch dentures, can be removed for sleeping and cleaning.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Depending on the situation, placing an implant involves several phases, and treatment times can widely vary. First we determine if an implant is right for you. We discuss your health history and treatment goals and perform a comprehensive examination to check the health of your gums and jawbone. We determine if you need any additional procedures, such as bone grafting or gum surgery.
To begin the procedure, a channel is shaped in the jawbone, and then the implant is placed into the prepared space. At this point, it may be possible to place a temporary restoration. Over the course of the next few months, the implant will become securely fused to the bone. The last step is to attach your beautiful final restoration to the implant.
When a tooth is missing, a dental implant can be a great choice for replacing it. An implant is a small titanium post that replaces the roots of a missing tooth and supports a custom-made crown.
Problems Caused by a Missing Tooth
A missing tooth can cause a chain reaction of problems, including loss of bone in the jaw, shifting teeth, difficulty keeping teeth free of plaque and bacteria, grinding and clenching, and pain in the jaw joints.
Teeth transmit chewing forces through their roots to the jawbone. This provides the stimulation bone needs to stay healthy, so when a tooth is missing, the jawbone around the area begins to shrink, along with the surrounding gums.
A missing tooth also changes the biting forces on teeth around the space. Neighboring teeth begin to shift, and the opposing tooth begins to extrude out of its socket.
These changes create places around the teeth that are hard to keep clean, so plaque and bacteria quickly accumulate. This accumulation can cause tooth decay and periodontal disease.
Changes in the bite also put improper chewing forces on the shifted teeth. This may lead to grinding and clenching, as well as painful problems with your jaw joint, the TMJ.
To determine if an implant is right for you, we do a thorough examination. The examination includes recording your medical history in which we discuss any condition that may interfere with healing. We perform a visual examination to check the health of your teeth and gums. To check the health of your jawbone, we take panographic x-rays and possibly CT (computerized tomography) scans. We take impressions and bite registrations to create an accurate model of your mouth.
When we have thoroughly studied these records, we will be able to discuss which implant treatment options may be best for you.
Benefits of an Implant
An implant fitted with a crown effectively replaces a missing tooth. The implant is held firmly in the jawbone, so it feels much like your natural teeth when you talk and chew. The crown is custom crafted to match or enhance your smile. A dental implant is a great way to keep your jawbone healthy, to stop neighboring teeth from shifting, and to maintain a stable bite.
Protecting your Implants
Now that final restorations have been placed on your implants, it’s important to follow these recommendations to ensure their success.
Avoid using any tobacco products. Ideally, you should quit altogether because tobacco slows healing and increases the risk that your body will reject the implants. Tobacco is the leading cause of implant failure.
Avoid grinding and clenching your teeth because this can damage the implants and restorations. If grinding and clenching continue to be a problem, we may need to adjust the restorations or have you wear a nightguard.
Chewing and Eating
If we used anesthetic during the procedure, avoid chewing until the numbness has worn off completely.
To protect your implants and restorations, avoid chewing ice and other hard objects.
Brushing and Flossing
Brush and floss around your implants thoroughly but gently. We may recommend special floss, brushes, mouthrinses, or other cleaning aids to keep the area free of bacteria.
Brush and floss your gums and natural teeth normally.
Medication and Discomfort
Take antibiotics or other medications only as directed.
To reduce discomfort or swelling, rinse your mouth three times a day for two weeks with warm salt water. Use about one teaspoon of salt per glass of warm water. It’s normal for your gums to be sore and swollen for a few days.
When to Call
Call us if your bite feels uneven or your restorations feel loose, so we can adjust them. Also call us if you have persistent swelling or discomfort, or if you have any questions or concerns.