There are plenty of things to be frightened of during the Halloween season: scary ghosts and goblins, levitating clowns and the zombie apocalypse to name a few! The one thing that shouldn’t evoke fear is visiting your dentist to discuss dental implants. The idea of this type of treatment might raise your anxiety a bit, but dental implants have been utilized for generations and the technology behind the implants is very sound. Did you know that more than 3 million Americans currently have dental implants? With a success rate or 98% for this procedure according to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry (AAID), you should probably worry more about a sharknado attacking your hometown than your dental implants suddenly going awry. Here are some of the most common misconceptions about this popular procedure, and why so many Americans are turning to implant dentistry to resolve problems with their teeth or gums.
What are Dental Implants?
Whether you have just been diagnosed with some dental problems or you have been struggling with ill-fitting bridges, dental implants may be the solution that you need. In this simple office procedure, tooth roots are replaced with a post similar to a screw. Your dentist will then attach artificial teeth to the post, providing you with a natural-looking smile that allows you to enjoy all the benefits of your natural teeth. Your bones eventually grow around the titanium implants, which serve as the "roots" for your new teeth. This helps patients avoid some of the common (and scary!) problems associated with dental bridges and dentures, such as slipping and damage to the jawbone. Plus, the materials are impermeable and cannot decay — no more drilling for you!
Who Is a Good Candidate for Dental Implants?
The very best candidates for dental implants are those individuals with healthy oral tissue and gums, as well as enough bone in your jaw to secure the implants. Since this is a surgical procedure, there are some standard precautions around the health of the patient and their ability to heal sufficiently after surgery. Dentists also look for individuals that are willing to be dedicated to their oral hygiene with regular visits to their dentist to ensure their implants are still functioning properly. Dentists generally offer this alternative to patients who are not interested in dentures, have more than one tooth to replace or repair and who are not heavy smokers.
What to Expect During the Dental Implant Process
Your dental care provider will generally start with an overview of the entire process, walking you through the various stages of surgery and recovery before allowing you time to make a decision whether this move is right for you. Expect to receive an individualized treatment plan that includes how to care for your implants. Receiving dental implants is an outpatient surgery that is completed in stages and it will take approximately 2-3 months to complete the entire process. The process begins with the removal of the damaged tooth and then an initial surgery, where the titanium post is embedded into the jaw. For the next several months, you will have a temporary denture or partial placed to cover the insertion site while your bone grows around the implanted rod and the healing process continues. There is also a possibility of bone graft into your jaw if the bone itself is not dense enough to accept the grafting.
Once you’ve completed the initial healing stage, it’s time to place the abutment where the crown will eventually attach. Typically, the placement of the abutment is performed on an outpatient basis and begins with a small incision in the gum. After the abutment is placed and the alignment confirmed, your dentist will close the gum back around the surgical site. After two further weeks of allowing the oral tissue around the incision to heal, you are now ready for that final step — getting your new tooth!
What Are the Risks Associated with Implant Dentistry?
While many patients experience some swelling of the face and minor pain after the first two procedures, healing from your implant happens quite rapidly and is well understood. Your oral surgeon may recommend some pain medications or antibiotics to prevent infection at the incision site, but any bleeding should be quite minor. Many surgeons even use self-dissolving stitches, so you won’t even need to return to the office as long as you eat soft foods and follow the key recommendations by your provider. As long as you maintain proactive oral health, refrain from excessive smoking and see your dentist regularly, the vast majority of individuals who undergo this procedure are cheerfully chewing away within just a few months. If your implant becomes loose after the healing period has completed or if you feel as though the oral tissue around your implant has become infected, it’s important to immediately contact your dental professional.
Benefits of Dental Implants
Now that we’ve broken down the not-so-scary details around dental implants, you can see the true benefits of taking the leap of faith this fall. Patients find that they have less discomfort when eating, improved self-esteem and an enhanced appearance because their implants look natural — just like your own teeth! Plus, dental implants can help reduce the possibility that your remaining teeth drift together if you currently have a gap. Once everything is fully healed, it becomes increasingly easy to forget about the implants and simply enjoy the ease of eating and comfort associated with this progressive form of dental medicine.
Now that you’re convinced that implant dentistry is more of a treat than a trick, contact the friendly dentistry professionals at Eggleston Dental Care in Turlock, CA today at 209-634-5871. You won’t have to read far down our testimonials to see that our staff truly cares about each patient, providing the best possible recommendations and assistance that will reduce pain, brighten your smile and provide relief from long-term challenges. You don’t have to simply live with discomfort or the fear of cracking your teeth. Learn more about this simple outpatient procedure and share any questions with our experts to receive quick guidance for you and your family.