How is an oral implant defined?
Oral implants are artificial “root” tooth implants surgically positioned in the jawbone. They help support the replacement teeth. The implant will naturally infuse with the rest of the structures of the jawbone ensuring that your dentures and ridges stay in place. Thanks to oral implants, people with crooked or missing teeth can regain their self-esteem, smile, and confidence back.
Requirements for dental implants
People with missing or crooked teeth will benefit from oral implants. Potential candidates for the oral implant procedure should meet the following requirements:
- A healthy gum with a strong bone structure that supports the implant
- Cavity-free mouth
- Maintenance of a proper dental hygiene routine
The procedure also favors non-smokers over smokers. Get treated for any decay or gum diseases before commencing the procedure.
Who requires bone grafting?
Some oral implant patients will need bone grafting as part of the procedure. Who are the bone grafting candidates?
- People with weak or soft jaw bone structure
Chewing is an action that requires the jaws to be strong. During chewing, one exerts pressure on the bone. Weak bones cannot support an implant and, therefore, bone grafting helps create a stable base for the implant.
Bone grafting explained
The surgeon will remove a bone from the jaw or any other body part and transplant it to the jawbone. Alternatively, there is the use of artificial commercial bones. It takes several months for the transplanted bone to grow so that it supports the dental implants.
Choosing new artificial teeth
After the jaw heals and the dentist places the abutment, it is time to choose the new artificial teeth you want. One can choose the removable type, fixed, or a combination of both.
The removable teeth are mounted on a frame and secured into place in the jaw bone. Removing for cleaning or repair is easy. The fixed teeth are permanently cemented in place. It is a perfect option if you have several missing teeth.
How safe are the dental implants?
The oral implants intend to replace any missing teeth. Therefore, the other teeth remain in place and avoid shifting to the empty tooth space. Besides helping to maintain the right structural pattern in the mouth, it makes it easy to follow an oral hygiene routine.
Secondly, there are many tooth/teeth replacement options, but an oral implant is the easiest and safest. For starters, they are custom made to fit the mouth shape. Also, patients can take care of their oral hygiene with ease.
Dental implant lifespan
The implants can last a lifetime as long one takes good care of them. Simple oral hygiene practices such as brushing your teeth regularly and dentist’s visit help prolong the lifeline of the implants. They can last for several months to years.
Benefits of oral implants
- Gives you a younger look
Loss of teeth often results in bone loss density. Bone loss makes one look aged over time. Fortunately, the implants help maintain your bone density and facial structure, giving a more youthful look. It is particularly crucial for people who are missing most of their teeth, or if a section of the face moves toward collapse, due to the bone density loss.
- Improves overall quality of life
The replacement teeth are not natural, but they act and perform like the natural set of teeth. Activities such as chewing become easy too. Also, it makes one looks attractive and boosts self-confidence. Smiling, talking with others, and laughing with beautiful teeth will raise your self-esteem.
- Stronger teeth for a better and healthy life
Chewing food with missing or crooked teeth is not easy. Sometimes, one must give up the food they love because of their teeth. With oral implants, eating well is now possible. One can add vegetables, nuts, meat, and fruits back to their diet. Besides improving the digestion, you get to eat a balanced meal which enhances the overall health and well-being.
- Holds the dentures in place
Imagine having to worry about your dentures falling or popping out whenever you sneeze, smile, or laugh? Or feeling your dentures move as you eat. The oral dental implants hold firmly into the jaw bone and feel like natural teeth.
- Mouth restores its natural shape
The health and state of one’s teeth significantly affect how the mouth looks. People who miss almost all the teeth in the mouth tend to have a facial structure that looks dropped. With the replacement teeth, you get a stable jawbone foundation that helps you chew and bite comfortably. Secondly, the teeth look real, and there is no risk of them falling out.
- The other teeth are safe
Teeth adjacent to the missing tooth will suffer if the missing tooth is not replaced. For starters, they might move, thus destabilizing the dental structure. As they move, they become weak and might fall off in the process. The dental implants have hooks and clamps that keep the adjacent teeth in place.
- Traditional bridges and dentures vs. oral implants
Traditional bridges and dentures are tooth replacement options too. However, they tend to be cumbersome. For instance, they do not feel or appear real. Secondly, they require the constant care of removing and cleaning them. With dental implants, it is easy to clean one’s teeth, making them a better option for people with missing teeth.
- Easy maintenance and permanent
Oral dental implants feel natural and last for a lifetime. They are also easy to clean just like natural teeth.
Oral Implant Options
- Subperiosteal – It has a metal frame that right into the jawbone underneath the gum tissue. The gum heals, and the frame permanently fixes itself to the jawbone. The dentist will attach some posts to the frame which holds the replacement teeth.
- Endosteal – The implants are surgically positioned inside the jawbone. After healing, a second surgery connects the posts to the implant. The dentist then placed artificial teeth on the post.
Caring for your dental implant
- Brush and floss your teeth around the oral implant at least twice a day. You could ask your oral surgeon or dentist to recommend the best anti-bacterial mouthwash that will keep the mouth clean and gums healthy
- Follow the dentist instructions on how to clean and look after the implant
- Use a soft brush and a low-abrasive toothpaste
- Clean your teeth after meals, paying special attention to implant’s sides
- Avoid damaging habits that will break your crowns such as chewing hard items
- Visit your dentist regularly to see if your implants are functioning properly
Risks and complications
Oral surgery, placing of oral implants and other surgical procedures pose some risks to the patients. However, the problems are rare and easily treated.
Some of the risks associated with oral implants include:
- Infection at the surgery site
- Damage or injury to areas surrounding the implant such as blood vessels or the neighboring teeth
- Nerve damage leading to numbness, tingling, or pain in the other teeth, gum, or jaw
- Might cause sinus problems if the dental implant protrudes into the sinus cavity
- Minor bleeding
- Swollen face and gums
- Pain at the surgery site
- Skin and gum bruising
Antibiotics and medication will help ease the pain, swelling, and discomfort. Eat soft foods after surgery before the surgical site fully recovers.
Preparing for the procedure
A comprehensive dental exam where the surgeon will take x-rays of your mouth and gum.
The oral surgeon will determine the best treatment plan based on your diagnosis. Sometimes, he or she will work with other specialists depending on the issue at hand.
As a patient, it is vital to reveal information such as any medication you are currently taking. Also, tell the dentist if you suffer from any chronic illness such as diabetes or heart conditions. Some health conditions require precautions before undergoing the procedure.
During the procedure, the patient requires sedation or anesthesia to control the pain. Let the doctor know what works for you. The dentist will advise on what to eat or drink before the procedure.
What to expect from the procedure
Oral implant surgery is an outpatient dental procedure that takes a few hours, depending on the complexity of the procedure.
The dentist removes the damaged tooth and prepares the jaw bone for surgery. Sometimes, one might require bone grafting.
Once the jawbone heals, the surgeon will place the metals that hold the dental implant into the jawbone. The recovery period could last for a few months.
The abutment, an extension of the oral implant’s metal, is added to the implant. It helps stabilize it. When the soft tissue heals, it is time to place the teeth and jawbone molds in preparation for the final tooth/teeth.
How long does the process take?
The oral implants procedure takes months from start to finish. One must wait for the jawbone to heal and grow before placing the final tooth/teeth.
Dr. Christopher D.M.D employs a patient-centered approach and uses the latest cutting-edge technology and procedures for all his patients. The highly respected and accomplished oral surgeon offers oral dental implants procedures with a high success rate. He also works hand in hand with a team of qualifies staff that makes the patient feel comfortable and safe for oral implants procedures.