If you suffer from tooth loss or tooth decay and are looking to improve your smile, dental implants might be right for you. Factors that determine candidacy for this permanent procedure include the location of the missing or damaged tooth or teeth, the health of the gum and bone in that area as well as your overall health, financial ability, and personal preference. Allow Lincoln Smiles to explain what they are and what to expect of the process to help determine if dental implants can potentially provide you with the healthy, confident smile you desire.
What Are Dental Implants and What Can I Expect?
Dental implants, put simply, are replacement tooth roots. They are used to provide a strong foundation for permanent or removable replacement teeth, and can be used to replace one, many, or all of your teeth. The whole dental implant process generally takes place in steps over the course of a couple months, depending on your oral and overall health. If additional preparation is required before your mouth is ready for the implants, the process will obviously take longer to complete. This includes things like tooth extraction or bone grafting.
We will create an individualized treatment plan for you based on factors like dental examinations, a thorough review of your medical history and any medications you take, impressions or models of your teeth and jaw, and x-rays if needed. We will determine the right type of anesthesia for you, whether it be local or general anesthesia or sedation, and we will explain any pre-surgical requirements of you, such as eating and drinking directions and transportation needs when necessary.
Next comes the actual procedure. After administering anesthesia according to your treatment plan, a cut is made in your gum to expose the bone. Then holes are drilled deep into the jawbone where the implant will be placed. The implant itself is a small post shaped similar to a screw and is typically made of titanium. Over the course a few weeks, depending on the condition of your bone, the post and bone fuse together as it heals, securing it in place. This new integration is as close to imitating a natural tooth as we can get as it is quite stable and does not affect neighboring teeth.
Once the bone and post have united and created a sturdy base, an abutment is placed. This is done by reopening your gum and attaching the abutment to the dental implant. Your gums are again allowed a couple weeks to heal before more impressions or molds are made to prepare the replacements.
The replacement tooth, generally a crown, is placed when the jawbone is strong enough to support it. This option is permanently cemented in place and cannot be removed. Dental implants can also provide a solid foundation for removable dentures similar to the more conventional removable dentures. In this instance, a metal frame is attached to the implant, which allows the dentures to snap in and out of place easily.
Are Dental Implants Right for Me?
Dental implants require the same care as natural teeth. Ideal recipients are committed to maintaining good oral hygiene habits like brushing twice a day and flossing daily and to attending regular dental examinations. Good overall health is also required. Be open about any health conditions you have or have had, any treatments you are receiving or have received, current medications, and use of tobacco products. With proper oral care, your dental implants can last a lifetime.
Crafted to look and feel like your own teeth, dental implants can go a long way in helping you look and feel your best. They can lead to an increase in self-confidence and a boost in self-esteem as well as improved speech. If you want a happier, brighter smile Lincoln Smiles can help. Call us at 916-543-8800 today to schedule an appointment.