Missing even one tooth can be detrimental to your health even though the unaesthetic appeal of having a gap in your teeth is the least of your concerns. The tooth loss can lead to bone loss in your jaw, which can affect facial symmetry, chewing and biting, and pronunciation. Therefore, losing a tooth is not as simple as having a missing tooth.  Dental Implants can be the answer to preserve your jawbone and prevent secondary consequences of tooth and bone loss. Washington Dental offers a free consultation and digital X-rays for all new patients needing a Dental Implant at our Carson, CA location.

What Is A Dental Implant?

A dental implant is the replacement of the root of the tooth that is missing or has broken. The substitute root is made of titanium, which is securely implanted into the bone to act as an anchor for the artificial tooth. This artificial root replacement is made up of titanium and can last an entire lifetime. Titanium is the most preferred composition of the metal posts because it promotes the process of Osseointegration by bonding with the jawbone without the need for an adhesive application. The metal is also resistant to high energy changes; hence, it is readily accepted by the body. Besides the sturdiness of the titanium metal, the expertise and advanced equipment employed during surgery ensure patients that a replaced crown will feel comfortable and function like your natural teeth.

Reasons for Dental Implants

Dental implants have evolved to become today's high-tech tooth replacement method. The most basic reason for an implant is to replace missing teeth and support the crown to the jaw. Even though they differ from the natural teeth because of their difference in bone attachment, implants are not susceptible to gum diseases. If you are missing a tooth, a number of teeth, or all your teeth, dental implants are ideal. Below are some reasons why you should consider a dental implant:

  1. The use of advanced techniques

The current technology in implant dentistry has alleviated dental concerns as implants have advanced and are now thin as a toothpick. This means that the anesthesia used can be minimized since the implants require little or no incision.  Additionally, the small size of the metal post helps to reduce discomfort and pain. Restorative dentistry is also an advanced technique that has changed the scene of dental implants in regards to imaging, which is currently in 3D.  It allows for swift surgery and faster recovery since the 3D imaging allows for precise surgery. Additionally, x-rays are usually employed before the dental surgery to ensure that your jawbone is strong enough to sustain the metal posts. In turn, there are no or minimal cases of dental implants failures.

  1. Shorter surgery time – reduced pain

Progress has also been made on surgery time with techniques like the hour Nobel Teeth. This unmatched technique uses a computerized system to plan and precisely measure both bone length and width and determine the implants’ exact location. Even though your implant dentist does most of the operational planning beforehand, the actual surgery takes about an hour to be completed. 

  1. The implants are durable

Dental implant restoration is preferred to other restoration techniques such as the use of dentures due to the former’s durability especially if good dental care like flossing and brushing are routinely practiced. Unlike the traditional dentures that need replacements even with effective oral care, dental implants boast lifetime durability. Hence, the dental implants provide permanent replacement or restoration solutions for your tooth roots. In addition, dental implants flexibly allow it to be compatible with your dentures and bridges since one dental implant can support dental bridges and a more secure fit is achieved. Naturally, teeth are secured by the roots to the jawbone. Similarly, implanted teeth naturally fuse with your jaw bone due to the composition of titanium that fuses with the bones, making it appear and function naturally to enable you to speak, eat, or smile.

  1. They prevent jawbone loss

Inevitably, tooth loss leads to bone loss because the bone requires rebuilding through stimulation since it’s living tissue. If a tooth is left without replacement, the jawbone underneath becomes weak and vulnerable to injury because of the damage in the nerves.

  1. Dental implants are safe

Other dental restorations such as dentures rely on the adjacent tooth for support; this weakens the adjacent teeth in the long run. Moreover, bridgework may have gaps which make the adjacent teeth susceptible to decay. On the other hand, dental implants do not have such side effects. Since the implants are supported from the jaw, they are safe and connects the crown firmly to the jaw.

  1. Implants are easy to maintain

Your implants will feel comfortable and their care is as natural as brushing, flossing, and regular dentist visits. Therefore, you do not need dental fillings nor overnight soaks. Oral hygiene is important in maintaining restorative dental implants.

Tooth Loss and Dental Implants

Tooth loss is a common occurrence in childhood and adulthood. Tooth decay can also be due to lack of regular dental check-ups, poor habits of eating and neglecting dental hygiene. A missing tooth may impact you negatively when biting and/or chewing food, face alignment, or even your confidence when smiling or talking. Your first inclination might be to make an appointment for dental bridges, full denture, or even partial denture procedures but now these restorative methods are being outweighed with the popularity of dental implants.

Implant dentistry is a procedure that replaces a tooth’s root with a titanium substance as well as substitute the missing tooth with an artificial tooth that looks and functions similarly to the natural teeth. They are surgically positioned in your jawbone to provide support as the roots of missing teeth. The material is meant to blend with your jawbone so that the implants cannot slip nor make sounds. The materials are also made of non-decay substance and are not likely to rot like your own teeth.

Dental implants have transformed dentistry with many advantages over traditional methods of teeth replacement like bridges and dentures. Researchers have also confirmed that in the right circumstances, dental implant success rates are over 95%.

Overview of the Implant Process

Dental implant procedure depends on the type of implant and your jawbone condition. The first step to a successful dental implant is to schedule an assessment with an implant dentist. Dental implant placement is no longer carried out only by oral surgeons and periodontists. Dentists are also progressively more on providing difficult surgical implant services. Implant treatment usually involves several stages that take place over a period of time. Although there are various implant treatment methods, a typical process often includes:

  • Treatment planning – Consultation is initiated in the discussion of all possible alternatives as dentists will need to assess the viability of providing implant treatment. Imaging X-rays are taken and models of the teeth prepared;
  • Implanting – If the underlying bone is deemed deficient and unable to support an artificial object, grafting is performed. Implant surgery is a minor surgical process that can be carried out under an outpatient module as long as it is done under sterile conditions;
  • Integration period – Implants can take from six weeks to six months to fuse with your bone. During this period, temporary dentures can be worn sparingly;
  • The restorative phase – After integration is complete, the implants can be made functional with a variety of artificial teeth options;
  • Oral hygiene maintenance – After the completion of an implant treatment, you must regularly brush and thoroughly clean the new set of teeth, floss and visit a dentist regularly

These aspects are discussed in details below.

Pre-Dental Implant procedure

You require a thorough examination before the procedure. These examinations include:

  1. Complete dental assessment – X rays and models of your dental structure are the first procedures to be done pre-surgery. This step will also determine whether you are the right candidate for the implant, mostly, whether you have a strong jawbone, periodontal diseases, or other diseases such as cancer;

  2. Treatment chart – Before the implant procedure, a dentist will evaluate your treatment chart by analyzing factors customized to your condition. The plan is crafted based on aspects such as the condition of your jawbone and the number of teeth you need to have restored. A range of dental experts is involved in surgery planning including a maxillofacial specialist and a periodontist.

At this stage, your dental implant doctor must be aware of any health conditions and medical prescriptions that you are undertaking before surgery. Supplements that you are taking, your heart condition, and orthopedic implants are factors considered to craft the surgery plan.

Afterward, your implant dentist must discuss with you the types of anesthesia that are available so you are able to choose which preference is the best fit for you. The dental team will confer about your choice of anesthesia, whether local anesthesia, general anesthesia or sedation, you will be well informed about the procedure ahead.

Tooth Extraction and Examination of the Jawbone

After examining your dental condition and crafting a suitable surgery plan, the second step would be to remove the damaged tooth and ascertain whether your jawbone can sustain an implant.

  1. Extraction of the damaged tooth – If there are remnants of the missing tooth, the removal of the remnant tooth is done under general anesthesia to minimize the pain. The area is cooled using water to clean up the area. Healing time must be allowed before the next stage.

  2. Jawbone graft – After tooth extraction, and in the case your jawbone is not firm enough to withstand an implant, another procedure called bone grafting is done before your implant surgery. Usually, a weak jawbone is a result of the pressure of chewing that your teeth wield on your jawbone. A bone embedment whether artificial or natural, should form a more concrete support for the implant in such a scenario.

To perform jaw grafting, the doctor will graft a portion of bone from a different part of your body or jaw and transplant it to your jawbone. To support a dental implant, the grafted bone takes months to grow adequately into a strong bone. Other times, some minor bone embedment will suffice, which usually can be done concurrently with the dental implant surgery.

Dental Implant Surgery Procedure

The oral surgeon or dentist will make an incision to render the bone exposed and open up the gums before placing the dental implant. This is done under anesthesia and antibiotics under the direction of a dental surgeon. Then, the artificial titanium post will be positioned, holes are made deep into the bone for a stable base.

A temporary denture may be placed as a façade to cover the gap where your tooth is missing. The temporary denture are removed at times to be cleaned and/or anytime you are sleeping.

Osseointegration, the process of uniting the implant and jawbone, follows. The process begins the moment an implant is inserted in your jaw. This progression, which can take some months, helps grant a concrete base for the new teeth.

When Osseointegration is complete, another surgery may be required for the abutment insertion. An abutment is an additional piece where the top crown will attach to. In order to fit the abutment onto the implant, your gum is reopened and then the abutment is connected to the implant. Subsequently, gum tissue closes around the abutment to secure it. This minor surgery may be done with local anesthesia in an outpatient setting. Sometimes during implantation, the abutment is also attached to the dental post.

A couple of weeks’ time is allowed for your gums to heal after the abutment is placed before the artificial tooth can be attached. After healing, your specialist will discuss with you on the type of artificial teeth that you want, either removable or fixed. Once you agree, your dentist will make a cast of your teeth and later place the artificial tooth. When your jawbone is sturdy enough, the crown can then be placed to hold up the new artificial tooth.

Post Dental Implant Procedure

You need painkillers and antibiotics post-surgery to reduce inflammation and pain. Whether your dental implant surgery was in multiple stages or a single procedure, you may experience some discomforts. For instance, minor bleeding, bruised gums, swelling of your gums and face, or pain at the incision point are commonly associated with oral surgeries. Contact your oral surgeon or dentist for any issues experienced, especially if they get worse post-surgery. Normally, your surgeon will use stitches that liquify independently, but your dental surgeon will perform routine checks and surgery if necessary.

Concerns on the Dental Implants

How long does healing take?

Healing process varies between six weeks and nine months depending on the procedure from the time of implant placement to the time of placing the first false tooth. However, stronger bones may determine a decreased treatment time as weak bones require a longer time to heal.

What Are the Risks Involved in Dental Implants?

Just Like any other surgery, dental implant surgery comes with some health risks. The problems are rare, minor, and easy to handle. The risks include:

  • Sinus problems which occur only if the implants protrude into sinus cavities
  • Injury to adjacent teeth or blood vessels
  • The bone may fail to fuse to the metal implant in which case the implant must be detached, the bone should be cleaned up and implant surgery can be done again after a couple of months
  • Nerve damage, which is usually in rare cases
  • At the point of incision, infections may also occur.

What should you know before you start treatment?

Before treatment, your dentist should provide a written summary that includes an overview of the anticipated treatment stages and give you an idea of how long treatment is likely going to take and the probable time frame for each procedure as well as how many implants are required.

How many teeth can be supported by implants?

One or several missing teeth can be replaced using dental implants. The other regular forms of tooth replacement are for example, bridges or dentures which can also be supported by dental implants. Usually, one implant is sufficient if one tooth is missing. However, larger gaps created by more missing teeth will depend on the general condition of the jaw.

If you have a habit of grinding or clenching your teeth, you may be at risk of overloading your implants. Grinding mostly occurs during sleep so you are presumably not aware of it. Bruxism, which is the grinding of teeth, exerts pressure on the bones in the jaw over time. The effects need to be considered during treatment planning and can be compensated by placing additional implants. A nighttime mouthguard can also be handy to avoid grinding which can damage the bone structure.

How long will the implants last?

Once the implants and soft tissues are evaluated and seen to be healthy post-surgery, the new teeth should feel comfortable and correctly adjusted. Your attention to oral hygiene and willingness to attend regular maintenance reviews will have the most influence on how long they will last. When not properly taken care of, they will resemble neglected natural teeth. Well-maintained implants placed into a strong bone structure can be expected to last for many years and possibly your lifespan.

Find a Dental Implant Dentist Near Me

Restore your lost tooth and regain your confident smile again, Washington Dental is ready to help you through the whole dental implant process and ensure that it is a success. Our dentists use modern dentistry equipment and advanced techniques; therefore, the surgery is fast, accurate, and less painful. If you need any dental implant service in Carson, CA, call our Carson dentist at 310-217-1507 to receive personalized service.