Dental implants are a strong and lasting way to replace missing teeth. They look and feel just like your real teeth. Since everyone’s needs are different, the steps to get these implants can vary from person to person.
If you’re looking for a way to fill gaps in your smile that feel natural, dental implants could be what you need. This article will walk you through what dental implants are and what you should expect during the process.
What Happens After You Lose a Tooth?
When you lose a tooth, it affects more than just your smile. Teeth provide structure for your gums and jawbone.
Without them, these areas can start to weaken over time. Dental implants are a great solution to prevent this decline, but they require healthy gums and sufficient bone to anchor into.
The journey begins with a consultation with your oral surgeon. They’ll examine your mouth to determine if dental implants are a suitable option for you. If you’ve experienced significant loss of gum and bone, a procedure called bone grafting might be necessary before you can proceed with implants. This step ensures your mouth is ready to support the new implants.
If your dentist confirms you’re a good candidate for dental implants, the next step is simply scheduling the procedure. With the right preparation, dental implants can effectively restore your dental health and smile.
What are dental implants, and how do they work?
Dental implants are like little anchors or screws. They’re used to replace the roots of lost teeth. During the procedure, these implants are placed into your jaw, and after stabilizing, they can hold a false tooth crown. The implants are made from titanium or zirconia. These are materials that your body can tolerate well.
Over four to six months, your jaw bone will grow around these implants through any tiny holes, making them feel like a natural part of your body. This helps a lot when you’re eating or talking. It also makes dentures, bridges, and individual crowns feel more like real teeth than bridges or dentures usually do.
For some people, usual bridges and dentures don’t feel right or aren’t possible because of sore spots, bad ridges, or tendencies to gag. Plus, regular bridges must be hooked onto the teeth beside the gap left by the missing tooth. One great thing about implants is that you don’t have to change any neighboring teeth to place your new replacement teeth.
To get implants, you must have healthy gums and enough bone to hold the implant. It’s also important that you commit to keeping these areas healthy. Good oral hygiene and regular dentist appointments are essential for the success of dental implants in the long run.
The Steps In A Dental Implant Procedure
The first step in getting a dental implant is consulting with a dentist. They’ll examine your teeth, take X-rays, and ask about your medical history to see if you’re a good candidate for dental implants. If you’re a good fit, they’ll make a treatment plan that lists all the steps to replace your missing teeth. This plan will also include a cost estimate and a timeline for the dental implant procedure.
If you still have a broken or rotten tooth in your mouth, the first step might be to remove it. After that, some swelling might happen, so you’ll wait about ten weeks before getting dental implants.
If your jaw needs extra strength to hold dental implants, your dentist could suggest getting a bone graft. In this process, they’ll put some bone graft material where the tooth is missing to help your bone grow.
Placing your dental implants
Dental implants are put in while you’re under local anesthesia. Your dentist will cut into your gums and make holes in your jawbone. They’ll screw the implants into these holes, then stitch your gums back up.
Afterward, you’ll need to let your mouth heal for about three to six months before the next part can be added. The next part, called an abutment or extension, connects the implant to your false tooth. To put this on, your dentist must return to the implant site and seal it.
After this, you’ll need some more time to heal.
Fitting your dental crown
The last step in getting your dental implant is placing the dental crown. You can see this part of the tooth; others will notice it when you smile.
The Healing Process
After getting your dental implants, you’ll have to wait until they’re healed and ready for the final piece. This healing phase can take a few months. During this time, the titanium screw part of the dental implant will become part of your jawbone. While you are healing, your dentist will give you some temporary crowns.
After everything’s well healed, you must go back to your oral surgeon. They’ll then put the abutment, or connecting piece, on the implant. And finally, they’ll place the artificial tooth, or crown, on this abutment.
Taking care of your Implants
If you’re getting a dental implant for the first time, knowing how to look after it is really important. With the right care, implants can last more than 15 years on average.
Brush all of your teeth well two times a day
Did you know there are toothbrushes made just for people with dental implants? Many folks don’t know! These brushes can clean spots that normal ones can’t reach, making them great for keeping your teeth clean and plaque-free. Try to brush for about two to three minutes each time.
Floss at least once each day
Remember to floss at least once daily, more often if possible, even after every meal. The best way to get rid of food stuck between your teeth is by flossing gently with dental floss made just for this. If you leave the food bits there, they can cause cavity-causing bacteria to grow. Be careful while flossing, since rough flossing can damage your teeth and gums.
Stay away from tough or sticky food
If you eat hard food, your teeth could break, and you might need more dental implants. Even though dental implants are built to last, eating hard or sticky food can wear down the implant over time. This includes hard candy, caramel, peanuts, and dried fruits.
Don’t smoke or drink too much alcohol
Smoking can slow down healing and make your bones weaker, which isn’t good for your overall oral health. A little bit of alcohol now and then is generally fine, but drinking too much can make your teeth feel sensitive and uncomfortable.
See your dentist regularly
Taking care of dental implants includes regular dentist visits to keep them working well and looking good. If you have any questions about your dental implant, please ask us during your next appointment!
Choose OMSI LA to Place Your Dental Implants
At the Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Institute of Los Angeles, our team is dedicated to giving you top-notch treatment. We’ve put much into the newest technology, robotics, and training to ensure you get the best, most precise care and dental implant placements.
Ready to start your journey towards dental implants? Contact us at (213) 999-7590 or drop by our Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Institute in Los Angeles, CA, for more information and to book a consultation. A brilliant smile is waiting for you!