There are few things as impactful as losing your teeth and not having an option for replacement. Fortunately, if you lost teeth in an accident, because of an uncontrolled systemic disease or any other unfavourable situation, you may be a candidate for dental implants.
What are dental implants?
Dental implants are titanium fixtures that are inserted in the jawbone to replace missing teeth. Each implant has three parts—the root, which is most commonly made of titanium (although some are made of zirconia), a porcelain crown, and the abutment (the connection between the root and crown). Titanium is used for dental implants because it is lightweight and extremely durable. Titanium is also biocompatible, meaning it is very unlikely that an implant will be rejected by the body. Zirconia has also shown promise.
Implant restorations vary from single tooth replacements to full mouth restorations.
How long is the procedure and what is involved in the process?
Dental implant surgery takes less than one hour after which the healing process can take anywhere between six and 12 weeks, or longer depending on your body’s recovery rate. Patients typically require three to six months of healing time before they get implants after extraction. However, there are cases in which an implant can be placed on the same day a tooth is removed. This allows patients to leave with a fixed tooth rather than a temporary one. This same-day treatment is only offered by highly trained professionals, and you will need careful evaluation and 3D imaging to determine if you are a suitable candidate.
One key thing to note is that dental implant therapy is a team effort. You, your dentist and the periodontist must all be on the same page regarding diagnosis, planning, and treatment.
What happens after dental implant surgery?
Intentional oral care after implant surgery is as equally important as a well-done procedure. It is for this reason that a dentist will assess your ability to properly care for your teeth before referring you to a periodontist. Bacterial plaque can cause an infection around dental implants called peri-implantitis. Peri-implantitis can cause the loss of bone, which may eventually lead to loss of the implant.
It is very important to brush after every meal or at least twice a day, focusing on the gum line surrounding the implant. You should also floss daily.
Schedule follow up visits with your dentist and periodontist to evaluate the health and stability of dental implants. Your best defence against peri-implantitis is early diagnosis and immediate treatment. This will allow for the protection of the implant and bone.
Are dental implants expensive?
Although dental implant surgery is more expensive than other methods of tooth replacement, it is an investment that, if properly cared for, will last you a lifetime. While dental insurance usually does cover dental implant surgery, the procedure may be covered by your medical plan.
Do you need dental implants?
When a person loses a tooth or teeth their quality of life can be compromised. Missing teeth can ruin your smile, affect your ability to chew, cause difficulties with phonetics and pronunciation, and may result in the shifting and rotation of surrounding teeth, or the collapse of the lips and cheeks.
If you have missing teeth, contact us to discuss your options. At St. Tammany Periodontics and Implants, we are committed to providing our patients with the highest quality of periodontal and dental implant care in a modern facility.