All About Dental Implants
If you are missing one or more teeth, you are not alone. According to the American College of Prosthodontists (ACP), 120 million people in the United States are missing at least one tooth, and more than 36 million Americans have no teeth at all.
In the past, patients had limited options when it came to tooth replacement. The installation of a dental bridge or denture was the only way to restore your smile. These days, there is a new standard of excellence—dental implants. At Palisades Surgical Arts, we offer some implant-supported restoration to give you back a smile you deserve!
Causes of Tooth Loss
Despite the many improvements in dental healthcare, many people still practice poor oral hygiene. By not brushing or flossing your teeth properly, you are putting yourself at risk for dental caries and periodontal disease. Dental caries is a medical term used to describe tooth decay or cavities. Caries is caused by different types of bacteria that feed on the sugars and other carbohydrates present in the food you eat. As the bacteria feed, they produce acids that eat away at your tooth enamel. When left untreated, this damage can eventually lead to tooth loss.
Periodontal disease is another leading cause of tooth loss. Periodontal or gum disease, is also caused by the bacteria present in your mouth. Your immune system produces harmful toxins to combat these bacteria. Over time, these toxins can cause significant damage to the connective tissues, ligaments, and bone that keep your teeth in place.
What are Dental Implants?
Implant restorations typically consist of three parts:
Dental implants serve as the root component of a prosthetic tooth. Implants can be used to support a single dental crown, a fixed bridge, or a complete denture. Implant-supported restorations are more natural-looking, stable, and typically last longer than other replacement options.
Dental Implants and Osseointegration
One of the reasons dental implants are so successful is osseointegration. Once the titanium screw has been placed in your jawbone, osseointegration will begin to occur. During this process, the implant and your jawbone will slowly fuse together. This can take up to six months or more; however, the wait will be well worth it. Osseointegration will help provide a stable base for your new prosthesis. In fact, the relationship between the implant and your jaw is the next best thing to that of your actual tooth.
The Need for Bone Augmentation
During a consultation visit, Dr. Moncayo will help you decide if implants are right for you. If your jawbone is not thick enough or too soft, you may need bone augmentation before implantation is possible. Without the necessary amount of bone, your implant will likely fail. A strong foundation of bone will help ensure your implant has the necessary support to withstand the powerful bite force that exerts pressure on your teeth when you chew. With a healthy amount of bone, the success of your dental implant is almost guaranteed. The National Center for Biotechnological Information (NCBI), has reported a 96% survival rate of dental implants in a 6-year clinical study.
There are a few forms of bone augmentation that can help ensure the success of your dental implant.
Dental Implant Surgery
The dental implant procedure is broken down into two surgeries. During the first surgery, Dr. Moncayo will make a small incision in the gum tissue and place the implant. Patients that need a full arch of replacement teeth will receive several implants. A small hole is drilled into the bone to ensure the implant is firmly in position. Once the implant is in place, Dr. Moncayo will suture the incision and sterilize the surgical area. There will still be a gap where your tooth is missing. We may provide you with a temporary restoration to protect the incision site and improve appearance. The temporary restoration should be removed for cleaning and while you sleep. For the next several months we will wait for the bone and your implant to undergo osseointegration.
When osseointegration is complete, we will schedule a second surgery to place the abutment. Dr. Moncayo will expose the implant screw and place a healing collar to help guide the gum tissue. Once your tissue has properly healed, we can attach the abutment to the implant screw. Then, we will take an impression of the abutment, and send it to the dental laboratory, where they will fabricate your final restoration.
Thanks to recent technological advancements, more and more patients have been able to receive their abutment at the same time as the implant. For those that don’t, the second surgery is a crucial part of the implant process.
Once your final restoration is complete, Dr. Moncayo will fasten it to the abutment and check for the proper fit. Minor adjustments may be made if we notice any issues with your bite or surrounding teeth. After we achieve the perfect fit, Dr. Moncayo will permanently cement the restoration in place.
Implant-restorations are typically made of porcelain or a zirconia composite. Both materials can be shaded to match the color of your remaining teeth. Thanks to the esthetics and strength of these materials, your restoration will look, feel, and function just like your natural teeth.
Implant-supported restorations can also be removable. Some patients may opt to receive a removable overdenture that uses implants for additional support. This can be a more affordable option compared to other implant-supported restorations, but also more secure than a traditional denture.
Most patients who receive dental implants say that the procedure involves little pain and discomfort. Thanks to local anesthetic and sedation, we can ensure your procedure is as comfortable as possible. Some even report that implants involve less pain than a tooth extraction!
After Dental Implant Surgery
After dental implant surgery, most patients experience the typical discomforts associated with oral surgery. You may experience:
Most pain is minor enough to be treated with over-the-counter medications, such as Tylenol or Advil. Some patients may need to be prescribed pain medication and antibiotics to ensure a smooth healing process. We also recommend a soft food diet to avoid putting stress on your incision site or damaging your temporary. If swelling, pain, and bleeding get worse in the days following surgery, be sure to contact us immediately.
Caring for Your Implant
The Benefits of Dental Implants
Dental implants have become the new standard of excellence thanks to their many advantages.
Some of which include:
The Cost of an Implant
The initial costs of a dental implant are higher than that of other restorations. However, other restorations need to be repaired or replaced much more frequently than dental implants. On top of that, they can cause damage to your surrounding teeth and lead to further restorative treatment. In this sense, dental implants are cost-effective in the long term.
Most insurance companies typically do not cover the cost of a dental implant. However, coverage may vary depending on your circumstance. As the popularity and convenience of implants increase, insurance providers are starting to offer coverage or partial coverage for dental implants. Talk with your insurance provider to learn more about your coverage.
Schedule a Consultation Appointment Today!
If you are missing one or more teeth, Palisades Surgical Arts can change your life with dental implants! Call (424) 346-0955, and schedule your consultation appointment today!
Palisades Surgical Arts
ph: (424) 346-0955
fx: (310) 459-0015
881 Alma Real Drive, Suite T4
Pacific Palisades, CA 90272
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