15 N Missouri Ave | Clearwater, FL 33755
WHAT ARE DENTAL IMPLANTS?
A dental implant is a surgical fixture that is placed into the jawbone and allowed to fuse with the bone over the span of a few months. The dental implant acts as a replacement for the root of a missing tooth. In turn, this "artificial tooth root" serves to hold a replacement tooth or bridge. Having a dental implant fused to the jawbone is the closest thing to mimicking a natural tooth because it stands on its own without affecting the nearby teeth and has great stability. The process of fusion between the dental implant and jawbone is called "osseointegration."
Most dental implants are made of titanium, which allows them to integrate with bone without being recognized as a foreign object in our body.
Dental implants are a great alternative for natural teeth replacement. Dental implants can be used to replace a single tooth, several teeth, or all of the teeth. The goal of teeth replacement in dentistry is to restore function as well as esthetics. Strong and stable, implants can look, feel, fit and function like a natural tooth. This procedure has become a popular option in dental reconstruction.
WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF IMPLANTS?
• Dental implants are built to last. They provide an ideal long-term and cost-effective option when in need of tooth replacement.
• Dental implants provide a secure, comfortable fit that looks and feels natural.
• Implants protect your jawbone and help preserve your natural bone against further bone loss and health issues.
• Dental implants allow you to maintain the natural shape of your face and smile.
• Unlike removable dentures, dental implants for overdentures are placed in your mouth and give you a more secure fit without the slipping feeling of normal dentures.
• No other adjacent teeth are ground down to hold an implant in place.
• You can have normal function without the inconvenience.
• You will no longer feel self-conscious about missing teeth.
WHAT IS THE IMPLANT PROCESS?
Consult & Planning
During the consult and planning stage, your dentist will visually examine the site in the mouth where a dental implant is being considered, as well as look at dental imaging studies ( X-rays, panoramic films, and CT scans). At this time, the quality and quantity of jawbone is assessed to determine if more bone is needed at the site. Once it has been established that a dental implant can be placed in the desired location, the patient will return for surgical procedures for the dental implant(s). In certain situations, fabrication of a surgical guide is needed prior to implant placement. Your doctor will be the one to determine this. During all surgical procedure appointments, the patient is usually given local anesthetic to numb the surgical area as well as any other sedatives necessary for comfort and anxiety.
First Stage of Oral Surgery
The first stage of oral surgery often involves a tooth or teeth extraction. Oftentimes, the site of a dental implant still has an existing damaged tooth present. In order to prepare for placement of a dental implant, the tooth will need to be extracted. More often than not, an "alveolar bone graft" (cadaver or synthetic bone) is placed to achieve a solid base of bone for the implant. This site will need to heal for four to six months. In some instances, when enough bone is present, the damaged tooth can be extracted followed by the implant placement procedure at the same appointment. This procedure is called "immediate implant" placement. This will be determined by your dentist, with the appropriate CBCT scan and dental images.
In the situation where an implant is to be placed in the maxilla (upper jaw) in the back or posterior region, sometimes the available amount of bone may be limited by the presence of the maxillary sinus (air-filled space found in the bones of the face). "Sinus augmentation" or "sinus lift" is performed to raise the sinus floor and graft more bone into the sinus. This will make more bone available to support a dental implant.
Implant Placement Appointment
Once adequate, strong bone is present, the site is ready for the implant. At the implant placement appointment, the dental implant (titanium post) is placed into the bone with a special drill and tools. A "healing cap" is placed over the implant, the gum is stitched up, and the healing phase begins. During this healing phase, a temporary appliance can be made to replace missing teeth for esthetic purposes. Healing time depends greatly on the quality of bone present. Healing time is usually anywhere from four to six months. During this time, the implant becomes integrated with the bone. It's important to avoid placing any force or stress on the dental implant as it heals. Follow-up appointments to check the surgical site are typically done to ensure that no infection exists and proper healing is taking place.
After the Healing Period
After the required healing period, the dental implant is tested to determine whether it was successfully taken up by the surrounding bone. Once this has been confirmed, a prosthetic component is connected to the dental implant via a screw. This component is called an "abutment." It will serve to hold the replacement tooth or "crown" in place. The dentist will take an impression (mold) of this abutment in the mouth and have the implant crown custom-made to fit. The implant crown is either cemented on or secured with a screw to the abutment.
Contact Missouri Gardens Dental at (727) 461-4832 to learn more about our dental implant options, and to see if dental implants are the right option for you.
MEET OUR DOCTORS
Dr. Thuy Vazquez D.D.S.
Dr. Anisha Patel D.M.D.