With over half of Americans missing one or more teeth, dental implants have taken a spotlight in the dental community. At Art of Dentistry Institute, we believe that dental implants are the most innovative solution for missing teeth.
What are dental implants?
A dental implant is a screw-like piece of titanium or titanium alloy that is placed into the jaw, replacing the tooth root, to create a strong base for an artificial tooth.
What is the dental implant procedure?
The dental implant procedure can usually be broken down into two office visits.
- Surgical placement of the implant – This step can often be completed in about an hour. First, Dr. Emil Hawary will gently numb the area with a local anesthetic. Next, he will open the gum tissue to reveal the jaw bone. Then the implant is placed into the jaw and an abutment is attached which will stick out slightly from the jaw. The abutment is the mechanism that connects the implant to the new tooth. Finally the gums are sutured back around the site and the patient is usually given a temporary crown. After the surgical procedure, Dr. Hawary will take impressions of the area so a permanent crown can be created.
- Crowning of the dental implant – 3-6 months after the implant is placed, the patient may return for their permanent replacement tooth. The wait is important as osseointegration needs to occur. This is when the implant integrates into the jawbone and is able to become an incredibly strong base for the new tooth.
What are the benefits of implant dentistry over alternatives?
Alternatives to dental implants include bridges or dentures. Although these options may seem more affordable and less invasive at first glance, there are many reasons we recommend dental implants when possible.
- Dental implants look and feel natural – dental implants are made out of Titanium which is extremely compatible with the body. Once the process is complete, people will have no idea that the patient has a false tooth. They look like natural teeth. They also function naturally so patients do not have to worry about what they eat.
- Dental implants support jawbone health – One unique and positive side effect of dental implants are that they stimulate the jaw just as natural tooth roots do. If a tooth is lost the bone begins to slowly loose density around where the tooth once was. Eventually, this can give the patient a “sunken cheek” look. However, when an implant is in place, the bone is once again stimulated and retains it’s density and health.
- Dental implants do not slip out or make clicking noises – Many denture wearers convert over to dental implants or implant supported dentures due to the fact that they are tired of their dentures slipping out of their mouth or clicking at inopportune times. At Art of Dentistry Institute, we have seen dental implants change our patients lives, giving them back a youthfulness that was lost with the absence of their teeth.
- Dental implants restore bite capacity – Patients can eat whatever they want. Dental implants put corn on the cob, apples and steak back on the table.
- Dental implants do not affect adjacent teeth – Unlike bridges, dental implants are not supported by surrounding teeth.
- Dental implants are a long term solution – Dental implants are intended to last a lifetime. Occasionally, the crown will need to be replaced due to wear and tear but the implant itself, should not need to be replaced. Many denture wearers need multiple sets of dentures over time.
Are dental implants safe?
Most dentists would agree that implant dentistry is very safe and replacing missing or damaged teeth with implants is quickly becoming the gold standard treatment. Modern application of dental implants began in 1965 after it was discovered that titanium fuses so well with bone. Its biocompatible attributes make it a healthy and sturdy foundation for replacement teeth.
Who is not a candidate for implant dentistry?
Patients will have a thorough consultation with Dr. Hawary before scheduling implant surgery. Our dentist may suggest an alternative treatment if patients have gum disease, are heavy smokers, badly grind their teeth or have other conditions that suppress the immune system.
Jawbone density is also an important factor as the jaw needs to be dense and healthy enough to support the dental implant. If a patient has low jawbone density, a bone graft can likely resolve the problem.
Do dental implants hurt?
Many patients report that they wish they had not avoided getting dental implants for so long as it was much easier than they expected. The dental implant procedure is done under local anesthetic and most patients say that they experienced little to no pain. Some discomfort is often reported for the two weeks following the procedure when soreness and swelling are common. However, this can usually be treated with ibuprofen, an ice pack (or frozen bag of veggies). We also recommend stocking up on some soft foods as a soft food diet will make the few days following implant surgery more comfortable.
Have more questions about dental implants?
If you are in Orange County and have more questions about dental implants, the cost of dental implants, or are ready to schedule a consultation, please give us a call at Art of Dentistry Institute today!