If you’ve had the misfortune of losing one or more of your natural teeth, a dental implant may be part of the solution to provide you with a strong, secure, natural-looking smile. Here are a few bits of info from Stadium Dental Center for our Jefferson City area clients to help you see whether they might make sense for you.
What is a dental implant?
A dental implant is a post made of titanium alloy that can replace a missing natural tooth’s root. The implant is placed in the jawbone so that the natural bone can fuse with it to give solid support for a replacement tooth. Depending on how many teeth are to be replaced, we can use them singly or in multiples to support individual crowns or bridges of three or more teeth at a time.
Who can receive implants?
Dental implants can be placed in most patients who’ve lost teeth due to decay, gum disease, trauma, or other health conditions. They can do a great job in helping securely retain loose, mobile complete dentures, too.
Since minor surgery is involved, implant patients should be in good overall health and have healthy gums with sufficient bone volume and density. If an implant site lacks adequate volume, it may be possible to perform procedures to improve the site.
Unfortunately, implants may not work in every case. Bruxism, diabetes, or leukemia may impede healing after implant placement, so these conditions are associated with lower success rates. This also is true for patients taking bisphosphonates for osteoporosis. Other risk factors for implant failure include heavy alcohol or tobacco use. We’ll consider your medical and dental background when discussing implant options for you.
How does implant placement work?
First, Dr. Cardon will painlessly place the implant in the jaw under local anesthesia (sedation is always an option at Stadium Dental Center, if desired). We allow time for healing of the hard and soft tissues around the implant to secure it in the jawbone. After the implant’s fusion with the jaw is assured, we make an impression for the bridge or crown that replaces your natural teeth.
How long does implant placement take?
Implant placement surgery is typically much shorter and simpler than people expect—usually done in less than an hour. Once the healing process begins, lasting from three to six months, we wait patiently. Following an impression process much like that for creating crowns or bridges on natural teeth, the permanent tooth replacement is usually ready for delivery in one to three weeks. We may create a provisional replacement to help you eat and speak normally until the permanent replacement is ready. In ideal circumstances, we may be able to place the implant and provisional replacement tooth in one visit.
What can I expect after the procedure?
Most patients have no difficulty adjusting to implants. There may be slight discomfort that is managed with medication on the day of placement, but these symptoms are expected to resolve in a day or two.
How do I care for my implant?
Although an implant’s success depends on its functional stresses and position in the mouth—as well as the individual’s general health—a major cause of implant failure is poor oral hygiene. It’s vitally important to brush implants twice a day, and to floss around them. Don’t forget that professional care (dental hygiene) is required to ensure gum health and long-term service from your implant. We’ll instruct you specifically on taking care of your implants. As long as you remain near Jefferson City, Stadium Dental Center will be here to support you!