What is a Dental Implant and Why Would I Need One?
A dental implant is essentially a replacement tooth or replacement teeth. They fill in where a person has one or more teeth missing. These are really a quite popular solution because of the way they resemble and also feel so much like natural teeth. They’re not bulky or fake looking like a poorly done set of dentures might be.
They’re also quite preferred because of their stability. Due to the sturdy way in which these replacement teeth are implanted, they won’t move or slide around like other solutions are known to do. They have an extremely high success rate and our patients have absolutely loved them.
How Are They Implanted?
Dental implant surgery is typically a multiple procedure process that takes place over the course of several months. This is probably considered to be the least appealing part of this solution but you can rest assured that the end results are always well worth the wait.
During the surgery a metal post is actually fused into the jawbone – this is what makes implants so much more stable than dentures or bridges. The reason it takes months to complete is because there are a few different healing process that need to take place before the dentist can move onto the next step. For instance, it’s important for the bone to heal very snuggly around the implant.
Once the posts are in place, the dentist will go in and put custom made replacement teeth over the posts. Like we’ve previously mentioned, these teeth are made specifically to look and feel like they are your own. Often times implants are a good fit for patients who no longer have enough teeth roots to build bridges or denture replacement teeth on.
Also, it’s important to note that you don’t necessarily have to be missing teeth yet to be a candidate for this procedure. There are many patients who have damaged or decayed teeth which need to be eliminated. In this case, our dentist will first have a procedure to extract the tooth/teeth and then start the process of replacing them with implants.
Can Anyone Get Them?
While implants are a really terrific solution for replacing teeth, they’re not necessarily for everyone who falls into that category. There are a few requirements that must be met in order for a patient to be a good candidate for them. We always have our patients come in for an initial exam so our experienced dentist can check to see if those requirements are met.
The first thing our dentist is going to evaluate is the health of the gum tissue. It’s super important that there are no signs of gum disease or other issues taking place in the gums. The last thing you want is for a set of implants to become infected or have other problems once the implants have already been placed and solidified.
The second thing our dentist is going to look at is the bone density of the jaw. It’s extremely imperative that the bone is dense enough to hold an implant which will be fused into it. The bone density of the jaw is often times the determining factor on whether or not a patient can have this procedure or if they’ll need to go a different route for replacement teeth.
Are There Different Kinds?
As with most dental solutions, there are a few different kinds of implants to choose from – for the most part though, the dentist will lay out your options and help guide you to the one that is right for you and will be most comfortable and beneficial.
Endosteal – This is the most common type. This one actually goes inside the jawbone.
Subperiosteal – This is another common kind but with this one, instead of being placed down into the jawbone, it rests on top of the bone but still underneath the gum tissue. This type isn’t used very much anymore because it lacks the longevity that endosteal implants provide.
Same Day Implants – As appealing as these sound, not everyone is a candidate for them. With this type, the implants are usually put into place directly after the extraction of teeth. It takes very good gum tissue health and bone density to be able to undergo this type of procedure. Your dentist is the only one who will be able to determine if these are a proper option or not.
Are They Expensive?
As far as front end costs, implants are typically more expensive than dentures or bridges. However, you need to take in long term costs as well. Although implant’s may cost more initially – with dentures, for instance, you’re going to have to continually buy cleaning products and the things it takes to upkeep them as well as have them replaced every so many years.
In the long run, implants often are actually the less expensive solution.
What to do After the Procedure?
As with all procedures and just every day life in general, you want to practice good oral hygiene habits. One of the great things about implants is that they are basically cared for in the same way in which you would care for your own teeth. You want to brush your teeth at least twice a day and be sure to remove any plaque or other buildup. If possible you’ll want to use a soft bristled toothbrush to prohibit causing damage to the gum tissues.
Of course we recommend eliminating any habits that will cause damage to your new smile – this includes things like using tobacco products or other teeth staining habits.
Last but not least, you’ll want to schedule regular checkup appointments with your dentist. Implants are made to last a long time but checkups are still very important.
Getting and maintaining implants is a commitment that we want each of our patients to be ready for before having the procedure done. Here at our Tacoma Dental Office our dentists will talk with you about all of the advantages as well as any disadvantages of having them. We want to ensure that you make the best decision for YOU when shopping for dental implants in Tacoma.