What Are Dental Implants
Have you been considering dental implants but aren't sure if they're the right option for you? Implants offer benefits that other tooth replacement options don't. Chad Slocum, D.D.S., and Sara Lundgaard, D.D.S., of Mill Creek, WA share a few facts about dental implants.
Dental implants offer a permanent solution
Because your implant integrates with the bone in your jaw, it becomes a permanent part of your mouth. During the first step in the implant process, your dentist creates a small hole in your jaw and places a titanium implant inside it. Titanium is the preferred implant material because the metal easily bonds to surrounding bone. Once the implant integrates with your jawbone, it provides a secure foundation for the crown that will be attached to it. Osseointegration usually takes about three to six months. After the implant fuses with the bone, your dentist will add an abutment, which will connect your new crown to your implant.
An implant acts just like a natural tooth
A good fit is essential if you choose a bridge or partial or full dentures to replace a missing tooth or teeth. When these appliances don't fit well, painful gum irritation can occur when your bite and chew. Since implants become part of your jawbone, your new tooth is securely anchored in place and doesn't move. In fact, it feels very similar to the tooth it replaced.
Dental implants provide important benefits
Your roots don't just anchor your teeth in your jaw. They also provide the constant stimulation your jawbone needs to stay strong. When you lose a tooth, the underlying bone begins to shrink or weaken because it no longer receives any stimulation. Eventually, facial sagging can occur due to changes in the jawbone, particularly if you've lost several teeth. Implants help keep your jawbone strong and prevent shrinking.
Although implants may have a relatively high initial cost, the lifetime cost of a dental implant is usually actually lower than the cost of bridges and dentures. Since these appliances must be replaced periodically, you'll actually pay for them more than once. An implant only requires a one-time cost.
What is the Dental Implant Surgical Procedure Like?
|See how Doris' smile was improved with dental implants! Click Here|
Your Mill Creek, WA dentist performs a thorough examination and reviews a Cone Beam CT scan of an implant candidate to determine if the patient has adequate bone, space and proper function to accept a dental implant. Following completion of the treatment plan, he incises the gum and drills a small pilot hole in the bone. He screws the titanium implant into the hole and closes the site.
After a period of healing (approximately 3 months), the dentist revisits the site and attaches a high noble or titanium metal abutment to the implant in the jaw bone. He then places a custom porcelain crown over the abutment to esthetically match the surrounding teeth. He adjusts the bite, and the treatment is complete.
The implant procedure is in-office. Many patients need nothing more than local anesthetic and light sedation to complete the procedure.
Will I Need a Bone Graft for my Dental Implants?
By the time you’ve decided on a dental implant, a fair amount of your bone might be gone; now you may need a bone graft. That’s why it’s so important to replace a missing tooth quickly, to preserve bone.
Your dentists at Penny Creek Family and Implant Dentistry want you to know you need a good amount of bone for a dental implant to be successful. The way an implant works is your bone actually fuses to the titanium implant, so you need enough bone for the fusing process to work. You want your dental implant to be surrounded by bone and stable, because it is going to function as the “root” of your new dental implant crown.
The grafting material can be taken from your own body, but that creates another surgery site for you. A more common method is laboratory treated human or animal bone grafting material. The bone grafting process involves making a small cut in your gum, just enough to access the bone, and the grafting material is placed. The downtime is minimal, usually one or two days. There may be some slight discomfort that can be remedied by over-the-counter pain medications and icing the area.
Dental implants are an investment and you want them to be successful. Bone grafting is a huge part of how successful your implant will be. Our highly trained implant dentists in our Mill Creek, WA office will know if you need bone grafting for your dental implant.
See what one of our patients, Doris, had to say about her dental implant procedure here.
For more information on Dental Implants in the Mill Creek, WA area, call Penny Creek Family & Implant Dentistry at (425) 337-7300 today!