Why Dental Implants?
Unfortunately, millions of Americans experience tooth loss every year. Tooth loss is usually the result of tooth decay, periodontal disease, or trauma. If you have recently lost a tooth, or been told that tooth extraction is necessary, you may be wondering what to do next.
At Bagley Dental, we offer several options for tooth replacement. For most of our patients, we recommend dental implants! Dental implants have become the gold standard for tooth replacement treatment.
What Are Dental Implants?
An implant-supported restoration typically consists of three parts: the implant screw, the abutment, and the restoration. The implant screw is made from titanium and mimics the root component of a tooth. After a brief healing period, we attach an abutment, a support structure that links the implant screw to the restoration. In certain circumstances, the abutment can be placed at the same time as the implant screw. After the abutment is in place, we will attach the artificial tooth.
Today’s restorations are stronger and more aesthetically-pleasing than ever before. J. Andrew Bagley DDS or W. Ryan Bagley DDS can recommend the material that best suits your needs. We typically recommend porcelain, ceramic-composite hybrids, zirconia, or porcelain-fused-to-zirconia. Porcelain and zirconia are strong, aesthetic, and opaque enough to hide the metal abutment beneath it. Both materials also best mimic the light-reflective properties of natural enamel. Ceramic composite hybrids are best used for patients who need extra protection against high-pressure bite forces.
Why Implants May Be Right for You
In general, we recommend dental implants if:
Most patients who are healthy enough to undergo a dental extraction or oral surgery should be considered for implant treatment. As with any surgery, dental implants do pose some health risks. However, problems are extremely rare, and when they do occur, they are usually minor. In fact, dental implants have a success rate of up to 98%. Much of this success is the result of a biological process known as osseointegration.
Dental Implants and Osseointegration
Osseointegration begins as soon as we place the implant into the jawbone. During this process, the jawbone begins to grow over and unite with the surface of the dental implant. Over time, the two will fuse together and form a bond that mimics the relationship between tooth root and jaw. The length of this process depends on the location of the implant but typically takes up to six months. Once osseointegration is complete, your implant will not slip, make noise, or cause damage to the surrounding tissues the way that a bridge or denture might.
Preparation for Dental Implants
Because dental implants require one or more surgical procedures, it is important to determine if the process is right for you. During your consultation appointment, J. Andrew Bagley DDS or W. Ryan Bagley DDS will perform a comprehensive exam. This may include digital x-rays, impressions, and photographs of your mouth. Once we have determined you are a suitable candidate for dental implants, we can move on to the planning phase.
Your treatment plan will be tailored to your situation. The plan will take into account how many teeth need to be replaced and the condition of your jaw, surrounding teeth, and gum tissues. This may involve preliminary procedures like bone grafting or periodontal treatment. We will also review any medical conditions and medications you take, including over-the-counter drugs. Certain heart conditions and systematic illnesses must be addressed before we move forward with treatment, as they can affect the healing process. We may also prescribe antibiotics before surgery to prevent infection.
When a Bone Graft Is Necessary
To receive a dental implant, you must have a sufficient amount of bone in the jaw. If the bone is not thick enough or too soft, you may need a bone graft. During a bone graft, a small portion of grafting material is placed on to the surgical site to give the implant a solid foundation. Without the proper bone structure, osseointegration may not fully take place. Without proper osseointegration, the implant will not be able to endure the powerful chewing forces of your bite, leading to implant failure.
Graft material can come from several sources, including a bone rich area of your body, a human donor, an animal donor (usually a cow), or a synthetics laboratory. There are also several techniques that are used to rebuild bone. Depending on the type of procedure, we may be able to place the implant immediately following a graft. In other cases, it may take up to nine months for the new bone to grow.
Missing upper posterior teeth are among the most difficult to restore. This area is naturally thinner than the rest of your upper jaw. In many cases, a restoration of this area requires a sinus lift. During this procedure, the sinus membrane is literally “lifted” up to make space for new graft material. After the new bone has been given time to develop, the dental implant can be placed.
Dental Implant Surgery
Once we have determined there is enough bone to successfully hold an implant, we can schedule your first surgery. During this surgery, we will use a prefabricated surgical guide that fits over your existing teeth and extends to the area missing a tooth. This guide will help show exactly where the implant should be placed. Next, we will make a small incision in the gum tissue to expose the underlying bone. J. Andrew Bagley DDS or W. Ryan Bagley DDS will drill a tiny hole into the bone to ensure the implant can be deeply embedded. After the implant is in place, we will suture the incision and pack the area with gauze to reduce the bleeding.
After the first surgery, most patients have to wait four or five months for osseointegration to take place. If you undergo a bone graft, the process may take twice as long. Once the bone and implant are properly fused, we can schedule your second surgery. We will confirm whether your implant is ready by taking an x-ray.
During your second surgery, we will reopen the surgical site to expose the implant. Next, a collar or healing cap is placed on the head of the implant. The collar will keep the gum tissue away from the head of the implant. This will help guide the gum tissue to heal correctly. In most cases, the collar will be in place for ten to 14 days. After the tissue has properly healed, we will remove the collar and place the abutment. The abutment is screwed onto the implant and tightened to ensure it does not move out of place. In some cases, you may receive an abutment and temporary immediately after the implant is uncovered.
A molded or digital impression will be made of the abutment and surrounding teeth. For the next few weeks, our dental laboratory will use the impression to create your final restoration. In the meantime, we may fabricate a temporary crown to protect the abutment. Temporaries are typically made from a softer material to absorb your bite without causing damage to the implant. Your gum tissue will heal around the temporary as it would your natural teeth.
Once your final crown is ready, we can schedule your last appointment. During your final appointment, we will remove the temporary and place the permanent crown. Depending on your abutment, the permanent crown will either be cemented or screwed into place. A crown that is cemented offers better aesthetics because there is no screw hole that can be seen. However, screw-retained crowns are easier to remove and repair if necessary.
After You Receive Your Dental Implant
After your procedure, you may experience some of the typical discomforts associated with oral surgery. Most patients experience some minor swelling of the gums and face, pain at the surgical site, minor bleeding, and bruising of the skin or gums. If any of these symptoms worsen after the first few days, you should contact us immediately. We may need to prescribe antibiotics or pain medications. You should also eat soft and cool foods while your gum tissue heals, usually around ten days. If we use non-dissolvable stitches, they will also have to be removed.
Almost all implant procedures are successful. In the unlikely event of infection, implant failure may occur. Smoking and tobacco use can also lead to complications. If a failure occurs, we will remove the implant and try again in a month or two, although this is a rare occurrence.
Taking care of your implant is as easy as maintaining your natural teeth. Be sure to practice excellent oral hygiene. Brushing twice a day and flossing at least once a day is crucial to your oral health. If you receive an implant-supported bridge, you may need a specially-designed brush or floss to clean in-between the restoration and your gums.
Make sure you visit us on a regular basis. You should schedule a checkup and professional cleaning every six months to a year to ensure your implant and teeth are healthy.
Avoid chewing on hard items such as pen caps or hard candy. Although your crown is durable, this can lead to fractures. Teeth grinding can also significantly damage your restoration. If you grind your teeth, be sure to seek treatment. We may recommend a bite guard to be worn while you sleep.
Benefits of Dental Implants
Dental implants have become the gold standard for tooth replacement for a good reason. They offer several benefits over more traditional methods, such as removable dentures and bridges. Some of these benefits include:
Schedule Your Consultation Appointment Today!
If you would like to learn more about dental implants, call (509) 547-1631, and schedule your consultation appointment today!