There are many reasons why patients may find themselves looking into what to expect from dental implants, and it can get overwhelming. That’s where our experienced team at Smile Studio Family Dentistry and Orthodontics in Zachary, LA, comes in to straighten things up. When you face the prospect of replacing damaged or missing teeth, uncertainty can prevent you from getting the care you need to restore the confidence that only comes from a solid smile!
At Smile Studio, you’ll get first-class care for your smile while enjoying yourself every minute. If you are facing the daunting process of getting dental implants, we want you to have all the information you need to make it a bit less intimidating, no matter what comes along.
What are Dental Implants?
Dental Implants are a restorative option that closely resembles your natural tooth in aesthetics and functionality, making them a popular choice, especially among younger patients. This process utilizes a false tooth similar to a crown, but as opposed to it being mounted on top of your gums and supported by existing teeth, it uses a metal anchor that is fused deep under your gums to your jaw with a screw post to attach the false tooth. The titanium post acts as tooth roots and stimulates bone growth, increasing the implant’s stability over time. Talk about an investment!
The dental implant process is more time-consuming than other options like a crown or a bridge because it requires multiple steps needing time for bone healing and custom tooth crafting. While this is the more costly restorative dental option, it is also the most permanent and does not require your doctor to remove parts of nearby teeth, so all of your healthy teeth stay intact.
Benefits of dental implants
Your facial bone structure is vital for many reasons. The teeth, jaws, and other facial bones support the skin and muscles responsible for our outward appearance, expressions, and even functionality, such as eating and breathing. Dental implants can improve your overall health by restoring your ability to chew foods efficiently while opening your food options, in general. Placing dental implants in the space between teeth will also prevent shifting of the surrounding teeth, leading to further bone loss. Another major benefit of dental implants we can’t help but mention again is restoring your confidence with a complete smile!
Preparing for your implant surgery
Before an implant can be placed, the spot where the new tooth will be put must first be clear of any remaining tooth or debris. For some patients, their dental implant journey will begin with removing the damaged tooth and cleaning the space below the gum line. Extracting a tooth will require healing before the next stage of the implant process, so be sure to follow our doctor’s post-op instructions well to prevent complications like a dry socket or an infection.
Because this process involves placing a metal anchor into your jawbone, the jaw must be stable and strong enough to withstand the force of biting and chewing with the replacement tooth. In order to regain or rebuild this lasting strength, other patients may need to start their process with bone regeneration or a bone graft, both of which require a strict 6-8 week healing period.
Dental Implant Surgery
To reduce pain and movement, this procedure is performed while the patient is under anesthesia, so you will need someone to drive you home and care for you for the rest of the day. During the surgery, your doctor will make a precise cut in your gums to reach the jawbone, where she will drill a small hole where your doctor will place the titanium anchor post. This is the part that will replace your missing tooth roots providing stability for your replacement tooth. After this anchor is placed, no tooth will be placed in this spot until this stage has healed. Typically, your doctor will either cover the anchor with your existing gum tissue, or she will place a healing abutment on the anchor to prevent plaque and debris from building up around this new foundation and prepare the formation of the gums.
About three months after this implant procedure, we will take an impression to begin forming your replacement tooth. Because your dental implant is custom-made for your mouth, it will still take a few more weeks before your abutment will be replaced with your shiny new chomper. For patients whose missing tooth is in the front of their mouth, you may receive a temporary replacement to help with your speech and appearance.
After your implant surgery
Depending on the type of sedation used for your surgery, you may have some grogginess that lasts up to several hours afterward. You will need someone to drive you home and help you as you recover. You will be sent home with medications to manage any pain or discomfort you may experience and may notice some bruising, swelling, or minor bleeding, but this is entirely normal and will subside quickly. After implant surgery, eating soft, cold foods and drinking warm beverages are recommended.
Caring for your implants
Your implant requires routine maintenance, just like any other tooth in your mouth. While your implant will not get decay, the bone supporting the implant can still be affected by gum disease without proper care. Keep your teeth, gums, and dental work clean by regularly brushing and flossing twice daily. If you are having trouble cleaning around your implant, you can try using a proxy brush or even a Waterpik for the really hard-to-reach places for deeper cleaning.
Routine dental care with your dentist will help maintain the health of longevity of your implant. Still, you should always avoid activities that can crack or damage your teeth or implants, like chewing ice, grinding your teeth, or using them as tools to open things. More active patients could also benefit from using a mouthguard during activities with an increased risk of mouth injury.
Be sure to inform us about any problems that come up, big or small. The sooner we can catch an issue, the easier it is to avoid a costly or painful repair.
Discover the possibilities of dental implants with Smile Studio!
You only get one smile, and you deserve teeth that look and function their best! That’s why our caring and compassionate Smile Studio Family Dentistry and Orthodontics team in Zachary, LA, is dedicated to providing the best dental care possible. We proudly serve patients of all ages from Zachary and the surrounding communities with a full range of dental services, including general and cosmetic dentistry and orthodontic treatments like braces and Invisalign.
Find your dental home with Smile Studio! Schedule a dental appointment or FREE orthodontic consultation today, and our team will help you take the first step to a lifetime of healthy, beautiful smiles!