Preparing For A Dental Implant

Elderly woman looking at teeth in a mirror while at the dentist office.

Patients who suffer from multiple missing teeth can gain their confidence and oral health back through dental implants. Some patients express concern when they hear the word “implant”, but their benefits outweigh the fear of their name as they help patients chew, eat and speak normally again. Dental implants mirror the strength and look of a natural tooth, plus they act as a supporting structure to your jawbone, cheeks and lips, preventing them from drooping. Implants are a permanent option that can last for years, if taken care of. Find out how you can prepare for a dental implant and what to expect during the procedure with these tips!

Facts About Dental Implants

There are many dental procedures out there that improve the look of patients’ smiles and help them eat, chew and speak better. One of those procedures is a dental implant, which is basically an artificial tooth root that is inserted into the jaw bone. Those who have missing teeth from age or injury benefit greatly from dental implants, and they can be used in place of dentures. Many patients feel uneasy about dental implants because of how they’re screwed into the bone, but it’s a relatively fast procedure. There are three parts of the dental implant: the implant itself, an abutment and the custom-made crown. The implant looks similar to a screw and is inserted into the jaw bone. The abutment, or connector, is placed on top of the implant and is attached to and supports the crown. After this is completed, you have an implant that resembles a natural tooth that no one will ever notice. 

Not only do dental implants look nice, but they’re also one of the only dental restoration options that preserves the natural bone. They also prevent the cessation of bone loss and gum recession while creating a sturdy base for artificial teeth, bridges and other dental appliances. More than 3 million people currently have at least one dental implant, and nearly 500,000 more will receive one each year. Dental implants date back to the Mayan culture where researchers have discovered pieces of shell hammered into some of the mouths of Mayan remains as a way to replace missing teeth. Nowadays, we don’t use shell to replace missing teeth and the surgery is so quick that most patients can be eating and drinking like normal by the end of the day.

What To Expect With A Dental Implant Procedure

Picture of a dental implant in the jawbone

There are two main types of dental implants, an endosteal implant and a subperiosteal implant. An endosteal implant is the most common form of implant and it is placed into the actual bone to support prosthetic teeth. This option works great for patients with bridges or removable dentures. Subperiosteal implants are placed on the bone with the metal framework protruding out to hold the prosthesis in place. Although not as common, these implants work well for patients who have minimal bone height or can’t wear dentures. Depending on your needs and the severity of your condition, you might qualify for a same-day implant, which would allow you to be eating and drinking normally after a few hours, or you may have to wait 3 to 6 months of healing time until your final crown can be placed. If you are missing only one tooth, a single implant and crown will fix it, but if you have multiple missing teeth, an implant-supported bridge will be necessary. If you are missing all of your teeth, you can have an implant-supported full bridge or dentures placed to preserve facial structure and create the bite power that you need to eat and speak properly.

How To Care For Your Mouth

Just like with any procedure, you will need to take certain steps to take care of your mouth after receiving a dental implant. You might be sore for a few days, so try taking an over-the-counter pain medication, like Ibuprofen, to reduce inflammation and relieve pain. Periodic checkups will be scheduled to monitor your dental implant and make sure that the teeth and gums surrounding it are healthy. To keep your new implant plaque-free, make sure to regularly brush and floss your teeth each day. The dental implant itself can’t develop a cavity since it’s made out of titanium, but the plaque on the implant can touch and spread to adjacent teeth, which will develop decay. The part of the gums that are holding the implant in place are also at risk for periodontal disease and gingivitis, so brushing around your implant is important to prevent these issues from occurring. For added care, consider using mouthwash that cleans the mouth of decay-building bacteria and leaves your breath fresh. How well you fulfill a good oral hygiene regimen will greatly determine how long your dental implant lasts, so commit to your oral health today so that you don’t experience problems in the future. 

Get A Beautiful Smile With Our Help!

At Family & Cosmetic Dentistry of the Rockies, our team is experienced with installing dental implants and helping patients get their confidence back. You don’t have to suffer from the effects that missing teeth bring; call our office today at (970) 223-8425 to schedule a dental implant consultation and improve your smile. Your health and happiness can change with one simple procedure, so call today!

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