Should You Replace Dentures with Dental Implants?
Dental Implants Are a Great Replacement for Dentures
While dentures and bridges have long been used to replace missing teeth, you now have the option of a more permanent and comfortable type of tooth restoration.
Dental implants are not just for people with high aesthetic needs. Permanent tooth replacement allows you eat and talk normally again so that you no longer feel uncomfortable in public.
Do You Have Missing Teeth?
At our office in Tempe, dental implants are often used to replace missing teeth. In fact, many of our patients have thrown their dentures out the window and are loving their new look!
You can also use implants to fill in multiple missing teeth without having to use partial dentures or bridges, allowing for the healthy teeth that remain to be left alone.
The Dental Implant Procedure
Dental implant surgery is completed in several stages.
- The first step is a detailed consultation with your dentist.
- The damaged tooth or teeth are extracted.
- A bone graft operation may be needed to strengthen the jawbone.
- The first implant procedure secures the post in your jawbone.
- In 3-6 months, an abutment is placed to provide support.
- The last step is to place your final tooth on the post.
Before recommending treatment, Dr. Shumway, who is an experienced implant dentist, will take a complete medical and dental evaluation. This is to ensure that you have no health conditions that would make surgery inadvisable.
Once a solid plan has been developed, he may use a variety of diagnostic tools such as CT scans and dental X-rays, ensuring the implants will be placed with precision and minimal risk.
Bone Graft Operation
If Dr. Shumway determines that your jaw does not have a strong bone to support the dental implants, you may need a bone graft.
A bone graft is when the implant dentist removes a small amount of bone from your hip or chin and places it into your jawbone. Only after your jawbone has completely healed from this operation will he begin the the next procedure.
First Surgical Procedure
The dental implant process usually consists of two separate procedures. While you are under a local anesthetic, the first surgery involves securing the implant post in the jawbone. Your dentist makes an incision in the gum tissue so that a hole can be created.
The implant is then placed into the hole and the gum is stitched back together. To ensure that the implant post will integrate firmly with the jaw bone, no further operations will be performed until the site has completely healed.
The Healing Process Takes Time
During the healing process, new bone cells will grow around the implant post. It may take 3-6 months of healing before moving on to the second dental implant procedure.
The function of these new bone cells is to provide stability for the implant post, which ultimately supports a proper restoration. Most dentists urge their patients to avoid wearing dental appliances for the first few days after surgery.
This is so that pressure will not be placed at the site. If you absolutely must use the dental appliances right away, position the device so that it does not touch the implant site.
Second Surgical Procedure
Dr. Shumway will perform the second surgical procedure three to eight months after the first one. The implant will be evaluated to determine if the post has successfully locked into the jawbone. If the implant has not been positioned into the jawbone properly, he may need to remove it and either change the implant or place it in a different area.
On the other hand, if the dental implant post has been successfully positioned, the second operation will involve creating an opening in the gum to expose the implant. Dr. Shumway will then place a post known has a healing cap into the area.
A healing cap enables a tooth to be attached above the gum line into the mouth. The healing cap will also be used to shape the gum tissue and give support to the crown or bridge.
The final step in this process is to place an abutment into the implant so that the crown or bridge can be held securely.
Dr. Shumway will also create your final prosthesis at this stage.
After the dental implant procedures have been completed, you should continue your regular oral care routine.