WHAT ARE SOME REASONS FOR GETTING IMPLANTS?
If you have a missing tooth or wear dentures and find yourself avoiding laughing aloud, smiling in public places or during pictures, then you may be a good candidate for implants. If you want a dental restoration that looks and feels as though it’s really part of your mouth, dental implants may be right for you. Used successfully for many years, dental implants anchor prosthetic (artificial) teeth into your jawbone to provide a secure and stable fit.
WHAT ARE DENTAL IMPLANTS?
Dental implants work by mimicking the structure of the natural teeth. Like natural teeth, dental implants are secured in the jawbone. Your natural teeth are stable when biting and chewing because they are supported by your jawbone. This is also true of your dental implants. Dental implants are made of a titanium allow similar to hip implants. Once the bone grows and locks into the implant (Boston Dental Implant) then the implants can be loaded with forces from chewing.
Not only do dental implants act like natural teeth and give you a solid foundation to chew on, but like natural teeth they stimulate the jaw and prevent bone loss that otherwise occurs when a tooth is lost. This is critical in maintaining a healthy jaw and preventing the hollowing appearance one gets as they age and lose their teeth.
AM I A GOOD CANDIDATE FOR IMPLANTS?
Your upper and lower jaws provide support and structure for your teeth and face. If you have enough healthy jawbone, you may be a good candidate for dental implants. The bones should be high and wide enough for the implant to fit. Your jaw should also have enough hard bone surrounding its soft center (marrow) to hold the implant securely. Healthy gums help protect your jawbone from infection by healing tightly around the implant.
WHAT IS THE NEXT STEP?
You should schedule an implant consultation by calling our office. We will review your medical history, examine you and evaluate the quality and quantity of bone that you have remaining in your jaw. We will go over all the benefits as well as risks and give you a clear roadmap of what would be involved, including costs. If you have any old pictures of your smile as well as x-rays and orthodontic models (Braces), please bring them to the appointment.
ARE THERE OTHER CHOICES?
There are many choices when it comes to implants. At times, we can place implants and immediately load so you can leave with a tooth, but many variables come into play. This is why one implant type cannot be used for all situations.
Here at Copley Oral Surgery we carry a range of different Implant Systems and sizes to meet all of your needs. Below is a gallery of some of the many systems we use:
WHAT IS INVOLVED IN THE PROCESS OF GETTING IMPLANTS?
Your First Appointment
A dental and medical history will be taken. If you wear dentures you may be asked how they fit and if they cause you pain. Any existing medical conditions need to be identified during this time such as diabetes or bleeding problems.
You’ll have an examination of the structure and health of your mouth, jaws, head, and neck. Models of your lower and upper jaws to determine the shape of your mouth and bite to reveal their exact alignment. If you wear a complete or partial denture it’s fit will also be evaluated.
X-rays and other diagnostic tests will provide information on the health of your teeth and jaws. A panographic x-ray will provide a view of your entire mouth to indicate any bone problems. Additional x-rays may help determine whether or not you have enough jawbone to support a dental implant. If you have an ongoing medical condition, such as diabetes, you may also have a blood test taken to make sure your condition is under control before the treatment begins.
Your treatment plan
Once your evaluation is done, your doctor will discuss a treatment plan with you. If dental implants are right for you the overall costs and time frame for the procedure it will be outlined. You’ll also be told about any work or special surgical procedures you may need before the implant process can begin. The risks and possible complications will also be discussed.
If dental implants are not right for you now, alternatives will be discussed with you. Adjusting your current prosthesis for a better fit, or having a new prosthesis made, may be viable options. If you’re missing only one tooth, a bridge may be a good option to take.
Your first Surgery
During your first surgery, I will place the implants in your jawbone. Much of the success of the entire implant process depends on how tightly your jawbone grows around the implants. You can help the implants “take hold” by avoiding pressure on your jaw and by keeping your gums and teeth especially clean over the next three to six months. Also, excellent nutrition is critical as well as avoiding any smoking.
Preparing for Surgery
Most dental implant surgeries are performed in the office. Be sure to wear comfortable clothes and arrange for a family member or friend to drive you home. Depending on the type of anesthesia used (IV sedation) you may be told not eat or drink for several hours before your appointment. Before surgery, you may be asked to take oral antibiotics, brush your teeth, and rinse with an antiseptic mouthwash to help prevent infection.
You may have medications to help you relax or to make you sleepy. Then, you’ll be given an anesthetic to numb the area where your surgical specialist will be working. You may hear sounds or feel vibrations during the surgery. If you are uncomfortable at any time, tell your surgeon. The entire procedure may take a couple of hours.
After SurgeryAfter surgery, you’ll probably rest awhile, bite on gauze to stop any minor bleeding, and hold a cold pack to your face to reduce swelling. You can go home as soon as you feel able. At home, follow your instructions about taking pain medications and antibiotics. Drink only clear liquids for the rest of the day. By the next morning, you may be able to eat soft foods.
Caring for Your MouthUse a soft bristle brush to claim both your gums and teeth. Be sure to follow any special instructions for cleaning your incisions. To aid healing, you may be asked not to wear your complete or partial denture for the next several days.
Over the next several months, your doctor will routinely examine your mouth and monitor how well your jaws healing. If you wear a complete or partial denture, a new lining will be placed in it to so you can wear it during the rest of your healing process.
Your Second Surgery
You’re now ready for your second surgery when your jawbone has firmly healed around implants, usually three to six months after placement. This procedure attaches the abutments that join the implants and a prosthesis. In some cases, your doctor may put temporary abutments into position, replacing them with permanent ones later.
An Implant Abutment
During surgery, you’ll be given an anesthetic to numb the area where your surgeon will be working. Temporary abutments may be used if swelling in your gums needs to go down before an appropriate, permanent abutment can be attached. The second surgery is usually shorter than the first, often lasting no more than an hour.
After surgery, you’ll rest and bite on gauze to stop any minor bleeding. You may be given a prescription for pain medication and scheduled for follow-up visit. Follow your surgeon’s instructions about when to begin cleaning your abutments. Gently cleaning around a base of each abutment helps prevent infection.
Your New Teeth
Now your new prosthesis can be made once your gums have healed around the abutments, usually two to four weeks after surgery. Several visits may be spent analyzing the new structure of your mouth. Then, it may take several more weeks or months to create the prosthesis. First, impressions (molds of your teeth, abutments, and jaws) are made, along with bite registrations (imprints of how your teeth fit together). Then, these molds are used to create a model of your mouth. Your new prosthesis will be built from this model.
Fitting the Prosthesis
You’ll have several “trial fits” before the prosthesis is finally attached to the abutments. With a fixed prosthesis, this bidding process may take a little longer. Once a prosthesis is in your mouth, the doctor makes any final adjustments necessary to provide you with a pain-free, stable bite. You may be told to avoid needing hard and crunchy foods for a few weeks after your prosthesis is in place.
Caring for Your New Teeth
Once your dental implant is in place, you can chew in comfort and smile with confidence again. Your new teeth can serve you well for many years if you keep your mouth healthy and take care of your implants. This means taking the time to clean all your teeth regularly and keeping appointments with your dental specialist.
Brush your teeth, prosthesis, and abutments after every meal and at bedtime. You can keep your whole mouth healthy or by brushing your gum line, especially around the abutments.
With dental implants, flossing is needed to clean areas your toothbrush can’t reach. Floss between your teeth and behind your prosthesis at least once a day. For best results floss up-and-down along the length of the abutment.