Southlake Dental Implants
Dental implants are a relatively new dental technology that is used to replace a single missing tooth or multiple teeth. Implants help to prevent gum and bone loss by acting as an artificial tooth root. They are also used to support a replacement tooth. While many people believe that dental implants are a cosmetic procedure, they are actually prosthetic dentistry.
What Causes Tooth Loss?
There are a number of reasons why you may lose teeth, including:
- Tooth decay
- Root canal failure
- Gum disease (Periodontitis)
- Trauma to the mouth (tooth injury)
- Excessive wear and tear
- Congenital defects
Dental Implants: Candidacy and Treatment Planning
During this initial consultation, Dr. Mabry will examine your teeth and gums to see if you will make a good candidate for dental implant technology. He will be looking to see if you are beginning to experience any bone loss in the area of your missing teeth. This will usually involve dental x-rays and computer tomography (CT) scans. In order for the dental implants to integrate properly, you will need to have sufficient bone structure remaining.
You will also be questioned about personal habits, oral hygiene routine, bone structure, oral tissue health, and personal commitment to follow aftercare instructions to determine if you are a good candidate for dental implants. If Dr. Mabry feels implants are a good fit for you, he will begin to develop a customized treatment plan. In some cases, if you do not have sufficient gum tissue, or bone structure a mini implant may be recommended, or you may receive bone or soft tissue grafts.
What is Osseointegration?
The lower portion of your dental implant will undergo a process known as osseointegration, which is crucial to the success of the implant. Osseointegration is a natural process that anchors the dental implant to the jaw bone. This process can take between three and six months. Without undergoing osseointegration properly, your dental implant will not become stabilized.
Placing Your Dental Implant
Before placing your dental implant, your jaw bone will need to be prepared for the implant. A small pilot hole will be drilled into the bone to hold the titanium screw portion of the implant. During this process, Dr. Mabry will create a surgical guide that will allow him to avoid causing damage to your alveolar nerve during this process.
Next, the titanium screw portion of the implant will be placed. Once in place, the surrounding gum tissue will be pulled over the implant and a protective cover will be placed to prevent infection and speed healing. After a six month osseointegration period, the implant will be uncovered and an abutment will be placed to hold the pontic, or tooth replacement, in place.
Recovering from the Implant Procedure
You may experience some minimal discomfort following your implant surgery, such as bruising and minor bleeding as well as minor swelling. You will be prescribed some pain medications to help alleviate this discomfort. Healing from having the implant procedure can take up to six months, while healing from having the final crown placed may take up to two months.
Implant Surgery Follow-up and Aftercare
You will need to restrict your diet to soft foods for the first week following your implant placement. It is also important that you follow any special care instructions for cleaning around the implant during the healing process to ensure that it fuses properly with your bone. Some of the main causes of implant failure are patients who smoke during the healing period, and patients who fail to brush and floss properly.