Dental Implant Restoration & Your Oral Health
Tooth loss, regardless of the cause, creates a variety of problems for dental patients. One challenging issue is maintaining self-confidence when missing teeth change a patient’s appearance. In the past, there were limited options for dealing with missing teeth, and patients often complained of problems with those solutions.
Today, dental implants provide a far better solution for patients who’ve lost teeth. However, not everyone understands all the benefits of implants and how the replacement process works. If you’re exploring ways to deal with missing teeth, it’s important to learn more about the implant process.
What are Dental Implants?
Patients facing tooth loss routinely suffer stress when they don’t understand the various replacement options and how those choices impact their day-to-day lives. Dental implants, while relatively new to the dental world, are proven to provide patients with the best solution for dealing with one or more missing teeth.
An implant includes a titanium screw-like device that’s inserted in a patient’s jaw. Once the jaw heals, dental professionals complete the installation process by adding a single tooth, partial plate, or complete set of new teeth. The replacement crown, bridge, or denture is designed to fit the patient’s mouth and provide a natural, long-lasting dental solution. However, it’s also important to note that even implants will require routine care and repairs by your Rincon Dentistry experts.
What Steps are Involved in the Installation Process?
Before beginning the installation process, the dental professional will evaluate each patient to determine whether implants are the best tooth-replacement option. There are times and situations when implants are the optimal choice, but not all patients will qualify for the procedure. Some basic requirements for implants include:
- A patient’s willingness to commit to the process. It can take some time to complete the installation.
- Healthy oral tissues. Patients with gum disease will need to resolve that issue before the implant process can begin.
- Having sufficient jawbone material. In some cases, a patient’s jawbone will not support an implant. The dental professional may recommend bone grafts or other solutions.
- An ability to recover from the process. Patients may have underlying health conditions that limit their ability to heal properly.
- Not smoking. Smoking reduces the odds of an implant healing properly. Most dental experts will require smokers to quit smoking prior to beginning the implant process.
The dental team at Rincon Family Dentistry carefully evaluates each patient prior to recommending any procedure. While most patients are viable candidates for dental implants, the staff will recommend alternative treatment options for patients who may not qualify for implants. Remember that Rincon Family Dentistry isn’t currently equipped to provide initial implant procedures, but will always be ready to provide aftercare as needed.
Once a patient is determined to be a viable candidate for implants, the dental team providing the initial implant services will explain the procedure. The installation steps include:
- Inserting the implant into the jawbone. Remember, this steps only includes the post that supports the tooth, bridge, or crown.
- Allowing time for proper healing. The bone around the implant, as well as the surrounding tissues, will take time to heal. During the healing process, the bone grows around the implant, making it strong enough to handle normal use for years to come. Healing can take several weeks, or even months, which means it’s important to have patience during this period.
- Placement of the tooth or teeth. The dental experts design each tooth (or teeth) to meet a patient’s unique needs. Each tooth will be color-matched to blend seamlessly with the patient’s other teeth. In cases where multiple teeth are being replaced, they will be carefully shaped to function properly when eating and eliminate speech issues related to missing or damaged teeth.
It’s important to remember that implants are designed to last for years. That means patients rarely have to worry about replacing their implants, unlike dentures.
What Post-Op Care Is Needed?
During the healing process, patients are encouraged to take steps designed to minimize the potential for any problems developing. Here are just a few of the steps dental professionals routinely recommend following an implant procedure.
- Watch What You Eat. Avoid solid foods and temperature extremes. Stick to soft food for a few days and avoid chewing using teeth near the implant site.
- Keep Your Mouth Clean. Beginning the day following a procedure, brush your teeth after every meal and before going to bed. If bleeding occurs and doesn’t stop quickly, call the dentist who inserted the implant for advice.
- Rest for at Least Two Days. Avoid any physical activity for at least two days following an implant procedure. After two days, slowly resume your daily activities as tolerated.
- Take Your Medications. Antibiotics are routinely prescribed following a procedure. Please take them as directed, and don’t skip any doses.
Do Patients Experience Problems with Implants?
As a rule, no. Your implant team will explain that most implants function exactly as designed and last for years. However, in rare instances, patients may encounter issues that need to be addressed by a dental professional. Potential downsides include:
- Infections. Generally, the antibiotics prescribed will reduce or eliminate any infections. However, should swelling, redness, or fever be experienced, call the office for advice.
- Loose Implants. If an implant becomes loose in the months following a procedure, it’s important to contact our dental team for advice.
- Gum Recession. While rare, it’s possible to experience gum recession following an implant procedure. If you experience receding gums, contact the office as soon as possible so the situation can be evaluated and monitored.
- Nerve Damage. If the implant is inserted too close to a nerve, problems may develop. If you experience tingling, pain, or numbness, contact the Rincon Family Dentistry.
Although problems following implant procedures are rare, it’s always important to contact the your implant dentist’s office immediately should an issue develop.
Your oral health is always important, but the Rincon Family Dentistry team also understands how important it is to have a bright, white smile. Trust your care to the best dental professionals when reviewing your options for dental care options.