When it comes to tooth replacement options, dental implants are at the top of the pile. With the science behind them discovered by accident in the mid fifties and perfected in recent years, dental implants are designed to meld with your existing bone tissue, providing a stable, secure replacement dental root that acts as the base for an incredibly realistic dental crown.
In addition to looking completely natural, dental implants also offer a wide range of powerful benefits. Other tooth replacement options may rub on the gum tissue and cause discomfort, as well as contributing to further tooth loss and failing to prevent bone loss. But dental implants are independently supported, which helps to protect the strength of the dental arch. Dental implants also give patients a new sense of confidence, since they don't have to worry about their false teeth slipping out of place. Some research has even shown that tooth replacement options like dental implants can improve nutrition, allowing patients to enjoy a varied diet filled with crunchy fruits and vegetables.
Dental implants are also available in a range of styles and configurations, helping an implant dentist such as Dr. Brown customize tooth replacement options for each and every patient. For example, mini dental implants can be used when patients don't have enough healthy jaw tissue for traditional dental implants, and implant supported dentures can be used when patients need a full bridge, but don't want to worry about slippage.
In order to be a candidate for dental implants, patients need to be completely committed to a healthy dental hygiene routine. Because smoking can make it hard for oral tissues to heal, patients who smoke should also be committed to stopping smoking altogether, or at least not smoking during the treatment timeline. Patients who have taken bisphosphonate medications in the past such as Fosamax and Boniva may not be eligible for dental implants, since these medications can permanently alter the way the jaw tissue heals, which can put patients at risk for developing significant complications. The best way to determine whether dental implants are right for you is to make an appointment with The Perio Group to discuss your medical history, your dental goals, and your current condition.
Because installing dental implants involves a rather complex oral surgery, the procedure typically takes more than one visit, and can span several months. Your personal timeline will depend on your medical history and your current dental health. Here is a step-by-step explanation of the dental implant installation timeline.
Before your treatment begins, implant dentist Dr. Stephen Brown will meet with you for a dental implant consultation. These visits are used to determine if you're a candidate for dental implants, and will involve a comprehensive oral exam, X-rays, and other measurements. During this appointment, you can also talk with our staff to discuss your insurance coverage and payment options, so that you know what to expect.
Every smile is different, and sometimes tooth extractions or bone grafts are necessary in order to pave the way for dental implants. Tooth extractions are required if dental cracks go beyond the gumline, or if the tooth is too decayed to restore. In some instances, dental implants can even be placed on the same day as an extraction. However, if the area is infected, it may need time to heal before posts can be placed.
If bone tissue isn't deep, wide, or healthy enough, bone grafts may be necessary in order to prepare the area for dental implants. During bone grafting, sanitized bone material or a synthetic substitute is packed into place around your natural bone, where it has the chance to heal and fuse to your tissue. If you need a bone graft, you may need to heal for between 3-6 months before implants can be installed.
Once your mouth is completely healed and the bone and tissue is healthy and strong, you are ready to have your implant posts placed. These small titanium rods are surgically implanted into the bone tissue, and depending on your dental health, Dr. Brown may decide to cover them to give them more time to heal or add a healing cap to streamline final crown placement. Regardless, posts need between 4-6 months to heal and integrate with natural bone tissue before final dental crowns can be placed.
After dental implant posts have been placed, Dr. Brown will need to meet with you in order to check the progress of your dental implants in Philadelphia. Any irregularities, unusual pain, or signs of infection should be reported immediately.
If your dental implant posts were left buried under gum tissue, you will need to have an additional appointment to have them uncovered. This uncovering appointment usually occurs after about four months. During this appointment, a healing cap will be placed, which contours the gum tissue in preparation for the final crown.
Once all of your tissues have healed, you are ready for final impressions and abutments. Abutments are the collar that connect your dental implant posts to the final crown. During this appointment, Dr. Brown will take impressions of your gum tissue and talk with you about tooth color and final details. This information is then sent to the dental lab, where technicians will sculpt your final crowns.
After your crowns are back in from the lab, you will be asked to come in to have them fitted onto your dental implants. You'll be able to talk and eat normally as soon as your final crowns are in place.
Although receiving dental implants can be a long process, the results are well worth the wait. With implants, you can enjoy a completely natural looking and feeling smile that is easy to take care of. To find out if you are a candidate for dental implants, make an appointment with Dr. Brown today.
I . Stephen Brown, D.D.S., F.A.C.D., F.I.C.D., is a nationally recognized expert, providing a wide variety of cosmetic, periodontal, and Dental Implant procedures to enhance your smile. Schedule an appointment at his Philadephia office to find out if you're a candidate for implants.