Dental Implants 101: Your Guide to What They Are and How They Are Used

teeth

It is not ideal to lose a permanent tooth, especially as the result of an accident or injury. In some instances, tooth loss may occur due to poor dental hygiene or as part of the natural aging process. Others may be born with a missing tooth or have large gaps in between their teeth. When one or more teeth are absent, a person’s oral and overall health can be seriously impacted. The condition can make chewing more difficult, which could result in malnutrition. One also may feel less confident about their appearance when teeth are missing.

The good news is that cosmetic dentistry can work to replace missing teeth. Dental implants are one of the best options available to help patients restore functionality to their teeth along with the appearance of their smile. The experienced cosmetic dentists at SEDA Dental of Jupiter, FL explain how durable dental implants work.

What are dental implants?

A dental implant is essentially an artificial tooth that looks remarkably similar to a natural tooth. It sits atop a strong metal post, which is surgically placed into a patient’s jawbone, replacing the missing tooth root. This post serves as a sturdy anchor for a custom-made prosthetic tooth (or crown) that can be cared for in the same manner as your natural teeth with routine daily brushing and flossing. With implants, it is also possible to replace several teeth at once as part of a bridge.

Endosteal implants

The small implant posts are often made of the same titanium alloy material that is featured in knee, shoulder, and hip implants. The height and size of these posts vary. The most commonly used style of implant is called endosteal implants. These are shaped similar to a small screw and are placed into the jawbone. For patients who previously have had removable dentures or bridges, endosteal implants may be an alternative.

Subperiosteal implants

In another type of dental implant, subperiosteal implants, the metal posts are placed below the gums but above the jawbone. Patients who are not considered a candidate for conventional dentures or whose jawbone isn’t healthy enough to support endosteal dental implants may consider subperiosteal implants.

Because they are fixed in place, dental implants cannot be removed from the mouth and function in exactly the same manner as natural teeth. Once secured in the gums and jaw, implants do not slip or move around. This permanence allows patients to speak and smile confidently, as well as enjoy foods without the restrictions that may be experienced by denture wearers. They are a terrific choice for many men and women in Jupiter, FL to assist them in chewing correctly and more effectively, as well as for enhancing the quality of their smile.

A natural look and feel

Used with a dental crown or a bridge, dental implants are an excellent option for replacing one or more missing teeth. Once in place, they function the same as natural teeth while eating, speaking and brushing. In fact, it may be difficult or impossible for others to determine that you have implants unless you tell them. Dental implants are also the only option in dental restoration that can actually prompt future bone growth as they work to preserve the jawbone. When placed by a highly skilled and experienced cosmetic dentist such as those at SEDA Dental of Jupiter, dental implants are one of the safest ways to replace missing teeth and achieve a spectacular smile.

Are you an implant candidate?

In most cases, patients who are missing one or more teeth may be considered a candidate for dental implants. It is necessary to undergo a thorough dental examination by a qualified dentist at SEDA Dental of Jupiter in order to determine whether your jaw has an adequate amount of bone and is healthy enough to support the implant. If not, bone grafting may be required. This procedure is designed to regenerate and restore the bone in advance of the placement of dental implants. Your gums must also be healthy and free of diseases such as gingivitis and periodontitis. In general, implants are not recommended for patients who smoke or are pregnant. Also, younger patients whose bones are still growing, as well as those who take certain medications or have chronic medical conditions may not be suitable candidates for implants.

What does the procedure involve?

In most cases, in order to numb the area of the mouth where the surgery will be performed, a local anesthetic is administered. Other sedation methods may be employed to help keep patients comfortable. Once the gums are opened, the dentists at SEDA Dental of Jupiter will be able to evaluate the site where the implant will be placed. A pilot hole is drilled to hold the metal implant post, which will be placed into the jawbone with the help of special equipment. Once the implant post is in place, the surgical site will be closed with sutures and left to heal for several months as the implant bonds with gums and jawbone. In the meantime, the implant will be temporarily covered. Once healed, your custom-crafted prosthetic crown, bridge or denture will be permanently affixed to the post and adjusted to ensure a proper fit and function.

What to expect during recovery?

It is common for dental implant patients to experience some minor bruising, bleeding, inflammation, and discomfort following their procedure. The dentists at SEDA Dental of Jupiter may prescribe pain medications to help ease these symptoms as well as antibiotics to prevent an infection from developing. You may be advised to consume only soft foods for a short time and to resume regular tooth brushing about 24 hours after surgery. It may be helpful to rinse your mouth several times daily with a mild saltwater solution. Smoking after surgery should be avoided. Once you are fully healed from your implant procedure and your permanent prosthetic teeth are in place, care for them as you would natural teeth by following proper oral hygiene practices. it is important to schedule and attend appointments for dental exams and cleanings so that the implants may be evaluated regularly.

Are you ready for a new-and-improved smile?

When teeth are missing, the proper form and function of the mouth can be impacted. Dental implants are a safe and effective way to replace one or more teeth so that you can eat, speak, and smile confidently once again. Contact the qualified cosmetic dentists at SEDA Dental of Jupiter to learn whether dental implants can help you look and feel your best.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.