Dental Implants In-Depth
Whether you’re missing some or all of your teeth, you deserve to feel good about yourself. Nobody should ever have to hesitate before sharing a grin with a friend or coworker, which is why we here at Legato Dental Centre believe strongly in the power of dental implants and how they can greatly improve your self-esteem.
How Can Dental Implants Benefit Me?
Before the introduction of dental implants, our predecessors had to rely upon either partial or complete dentures to fill in the gaps in their smile. Older generations of dentures were cumbersome and clunky, with a cheap and very fake appearance. To make it worse, they would often impair the wearer’s ability to speak clearly, making it all the more difficult for them to bridge barriers and forge relationships.
We have all heard the urban legend about George Washington’s dentures. While they were not made out of wood, even the nation’s first president had to deal with unwieldy false teeth and had complained many times about how they made his lips bulge out around them and negatively affect his teeth. Today’s dentures are better, but they are simply no match for the natural appearance of dental implants.
Every single year, a half million Americans choose to have dental implants placed inside their mouth to replace their missing teeth. Another three million are currently satisfied wearers of these extremely comfortable, attractive, realistic-looking alternative to false teeth. Whether you’ve lost your teeth due to infection or bad genetics, we can help you restore both your self-worth and your stunning smile with dental implants.
Types of Dental Implants
Unlike dentures, which consist of two trays that rest over your gums to replace your missing teeth, implants are fused directly into your jaw bone. That makes them a permanent alternative to dentures, preventing any embarrassing accidents or mishaps that might occur if you had dentures. Because they do go directly into your bone, we need first to verify that you are a good candidate for this procedure. If you have recently lost your teeth, we may need to wait for your gums to heal before we can move forward with your dental implants.
If you are suffering from gum disease and have any degree of bone loss, we may also have to delay your implants until we can restore your missing bone. We do this with a bone graft. A bone graft is a routine procedure that involves using host tissue (either from another site on your body or from a donor source, such as a sterilized donation from either an animal or a cadaver) and attaching it to the site of bone loss. The goal is to get the new bone to attach to the existing bone to restore the site.
There are two primary types of dental implants that you can choose from at our office. These include endosteal implants and subperiosteal implants. Endosteal implants are fused directly to your jawbone. They are a direct type of implant and include affixing a post into your bone. Once the bone heals, we then attach the implant directly onto the post. We can add as many implants as needed to create a bridge. Endosteal implants can be threaded (screw type), bladed, or smooth (cylinder type).
A dental implant is made up of three different parts. This includes the post, the abutment, and the crown. The post is the part that fused to your bone and is made of titanium. This acts as a secure attachment point for your implant. The abutment is the middleman of your implant. It attaches to the post and turns around attaches itself also to the crown. Lastly, there is the crown. The crown is often made out of porcelain, giving it a natural appearance that is strong and resilient. This is the visible part of your implant and can be color matched to your other teeth to give a natural appearance.
Subperiosteal implants are different from endosteal implants in many ways. Instead of posts, it uses a metal frame that is attached directly to the jawbone, below the soft tissue. It attaches to the bone as your mouth heals, but they are not fused into the bone. Instead, posts protrude from the metal frame, and we can attach your dental implant to the posts directly. For patients who might not otherwise be candidates for endosteal implants (because of severe bone loss or weak or shallow bones), subperiosteal implants are a fantastic alternative.
Why Do I Need Dental Implants?
Getting dental implants is a personal choice, one that is decided upon a variety of factors. Maybe you hate the appearance of dentures, or you know someone who had them and reported back to you how much they dislike them. Perhaps you want something that’s more natural looking and permanent, or you’re afraid that your partial may slip out of your mouth during an important business meeting or a romantic date. No matter your reasons, getting dental implants may be one of the best decisions you could make for yourself.
One of the biggest draws of dental implants is their incredibly high success rate. Dental implants are incredibly reliable and have a 99 percent overall success rate. That means that less than 1 percent of the time does the implant fail. (Please note that the success rate is not as high for smokers, but is still a remarkable 85 percent. The lesson here is that if you smoke, please stop!)
Dental implants are also incredibly attractive and natural looking. Nobody wants to have to worry about dentures, or taking them out at night to soak or clean them. Being seen without your teeth could be horrifying, but implants make that risk inconsequential. You won’t have to change your lifestyle with an implant, nor will you have to change your diet. Of course, we always recommend a healthy diet and to avoid sticky, sugary foods, but if you want an apple, by all means, eat an apple! You don’t have to worry about losing an implant during dinnertime.
On the same upside, you will have a markedly improved ability to chew. Tooth loss can negatively impact your ability to bite, and it can shift your jaw alignment, causing pain and misery down the road. Getting dental implants can fix any bite issues that have been caused by tooth loss, as well as eliminating the discomfort.
Nobody needs to know that you have dental implants. Not only are they natural in appearance, unlike dentures, which can change the way you talk, but you also won’t develop an unwanted lisp or speech impediment with dental implants. You can continue to speak clearly and with dignity when you have dental implants in your mouth.
Dental implants are permanent, which not only means that you’ll never be seen without your teeth, you can count on having your implants for the rest of your life. You do still need to take care of them and maintain them just like you would take care of your real teeth, however. You must continue to brush them and floss them and stay up to date with your routine dental checkups. Avoid biting into hard foods to avoid chipping your implant, but with proper care, you can expect your implants to stay with you for the rest of your life. The same cannot be said for dentures. Even a well-crafted pair of dentures will eventually need to be disposed of after five or ten years.
A common feature in an aging face is sagging drooping cheeks. Nobody wants to look prematurely aged, but having missing teeth can cause your face to start to look drawn. Even dentures cannot ward off that sunken appearance. Dental implants are especially effective in maintaining that youthful appearance of your face because you won’t start to develop bone loss in your jaw like you would if you had missing teeth and were using dentures. Implants let your body believe that the roots of your teeth are still present, keeping your face rounder and fuller and healthier looking.
What Happens During Dental Implant Surgery?
First and foremost, before you can move forward with a dental implant procedure, we must first confirm that you would be a good candidate for implants. Not everybody can get dental implants right away, especially if they have advanced bone loss in their mouth. If it turns out that you need a bone graft before your implant procedure, we can work with you to make sure your mouth is healthy enough for the implants to make your surgery a complete success.
As we noted earlier, smokers are not as good candidates than non-smokers, so we do advise that you quit smoking if you’re considering dental implants. Persons with chronic disease such as diabetes, autoimmune disorders, or cancer, also might not be a good fit for implants. If we find any reason that you cannot get this procedure done, we will let you know right away.
Before we start, we will take comprehensive X-ray of inside your mouth to determine if you are a good candidate for implants. If you are, then we will move forward with the procedure. Getting a dental implant is an extremely safe process. It is done in office with local anesthesia and carries very little risk to you. How long the entire procedure takes is largely dependent upon how many implants you are getting placed, which tooth is being replaced, and your overall well-being. Anticipate around one to two hours per tooth, however.
During the procedure, we will place a cut into your gums to expose the bone. We will then drill into it with a specific type of drill that is used for this type of procedure. We will then either manually place the implant post into your jawbone, or we may use the same drill to attach it. We’ll then place another part over the post, then close your incision and stitch it shut. Your mouth will then heal for the next few months.
If you’re wondering at this point if it hurts, then don’t worry! We will work to ensure your comfort the entire time. You may notice some discomfort and swelling afterward, but you can use over-the-counter pain relievers to keep the discomfort to a minimum. Be aware of any signs of infection after the implant, such as swollen glands, excessive bleeding or discharge, or running a fever.
After your gums heal, we’ll move on to the second stage of the procedure. We’ll then take an impression for your crown. We’ll use these impressions to create a replica of your perfect mouth. Once your crown is finalized, we’ll attach it to the abutment, and there you have it: your smile is finally complete.
Dental implants can change your life for the better. You no longer need to worry about hiding your smile out of shame or fear of rejection. If your missing teeth are holding you back from accomplishing everything you want to get from your life, then now is the time to consider dental implants. For more information about dental implants, or to schedule a consultation for this amazing and life-changing procedure, then please give us a call here at Legato Dental Centre today by calling (250) 860-5253. We are more than happy to answer any questions you may have and help you set up an appointment with our skilled and professional staff to learn more about dental implants.