Dental Implants Dentistry
Sahuarita/ Green Valley Guide to Dental Implants
Dental implants are far from a new procedure, but they hardly resemble their former iteration. The equipment and procedures for dental implants have drastically improved over the years, allowing for a result that is virtually indistinguishable from the look and function of natural teeth. If you’re looking to restore missing teeth or replaced damaged teeth, dental implants might be the perfect solution.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are an alternative to dentures, bridges, or crowns. The implant itself is, in essence, an artificial tooth. Instead of creating a prosthetic piece or an insert to attach to other teeth, dental implants are affixed directly to the bone. A false tooth, designed to match the appearance and color of the natural teeth, is permanently installed in the mouth.
The Benefits of Choosing Dental Implants
Dental implants are a permanent solution. They require less maintenance and special care than dentures, bridges, or crowns. You can treat a dental implant the exact same way you would treat a natural tooth. Brushing and flossing are the same procedure. Chewing and talking are the same natural function they always were. Many people choose dental implants because of the unparalled convenience and permanence they offer.
The Dental Implant Procedure
Dental implants can be placed across the upper or lower jaw, every tooth in the mouth, damaged teeth, or gaps where teeth are missing. If the dental implants are intended to replace teeth that have broken or decayed, these teeth must first be extracted.
There is a lot of healing time in between stages of dental implant placement. These healing stages are important. If the jawbone is not in the best possible condition before the implants are inserted, they won’t heal properly. Many patients are excited to experience the benefits of their dental implants, but these waiting periods are necessary to assure that the benefits will last a lifetime.
Dental implants are placed directly into the jawbone. This usually requires some prep work to assure that the jaw is healthy and healed. Bone grafting may be necessary to thicken or fortify the jawbone at the implant site. The jaw must fully recover from a grafting procedure before the implant can be inserted.
After the implant is inserted, the jawbone will again need to recover. After the jawbone has healed, the implant can be fitted with a piece called an abutment. The abutment functions as the connector piece that allows the artificial tooth to be placed on top of the implant. With all three pieces in place – the implant, the abutment, and the artificial tooth – the process is complete.
Bone Grafting Before Dental Implants
Your jaw creates all the pressure necessary to chew food. It also serves as the foundation for your dental implant. Weak, thin, or soft jawbones cannot support dental implants. If the bone is not adequately prepared, an implant procedure will not be effective. You might need more bone in the area where the implant is to be inserted. Bone can be taken from a portion of the jaw where a dental implant isn’t necessary, or from anywhere else in the body where there’s bone to spare. In some cases, implants and bone grafting can be performed during the same day.
The jawbone and the implant will then unite in a process called osseointegration. The implant heals into the bone and becomes a functional part of the mouth. As the implant heals into the bone, it becomes the equivalent of a tooth root.
Adding the Abutment to the Implant
When the dental implant has fully healed and integrated with the jawbone, your dentist will then proceed with the installation of the abutment. The abutment is essentially a connector piece. It’s affixed to the dental implant and will eventually be used to hold your artificial tooth in place. Some dentists will install the abutment at the same time they place the dental implant, but many patients opt to wait. The abutment looks like a small metal peg sticking up out of the gums. Installing the abutment at the same time will leave it visible for longer, and many patients feel self conscious about the way it appears.
Installing the abutment after the dental implant has healed is a simple outpatient procedure. Local anesthesia is used to prevent the patient from experiencing pain. The dentist will gently open the gums to expose the top of the dental implant and install the abutment onto the implant. It takes anywhere from one to two weeks for the gums to heal following this procedure.
Placing Artificial Teeth on the Implant
Desert Villa Dental will work with a dental lab to create artificial teeth that match your mouth. There are two ways these teeth can be installed. Removable teeth can be created. They’re designed to snap onto and off of the abutment. This makes them convenient to clean or replace. Removable teeth are typically least expensive, making them a better option for people seeking multiple dental implants on a budget.
Fixed implants are the same as a real tooth. They’re held to the abutment with a permanent dental cement and cannot be taken out for cleaning or replacement. If multiple dental implants are required, opting for individual permanent implants will closely mimic the appearance of natural teeth.
What to Expect After Surgery
Pain, swelling, bruising, and bleeding are unpleasant but perfectly normal side effects following every stage of dental implant surgery. Your dentist should prescribe you the right medications to prevent infection and dull discomfort. You will be provided with detailed care instructions, including a list of foods you can safely eat following the procedure.
You should always avoid using tobacco products or chewing on hard textured foods, like ice or candy. Be sure to strictly adhere to an oral hygiene regimen to prevent infection at the surgical site.
There are risks for complications, particularly at the osseointegration stage. If the jawbone is properly prepared (including bone grafts when necessary) and the surgical site is properly cared for, the risk of complication is substantially lower.
If symptoms or discomfort persist following surgery or the provided medications aren’t working well enough to combat recovery symptoms, speak with your dentist. If you have a fever or suspect you may have an infection, contact your dentist as soon as possible.
What Are Dental Implants Made Of?
The overwhelming majority of dental implants are made of titanium. Titanium has a reputation for being virtually indestructible, and it’s highly unlikely that most people’s bodies will have an adverse reaction to titanium.
Who is a Good Candidate for Dental Implants?
Dental implants are an excellent option for anyone who needs any amount of teeth replaced. A dental implant can be used to replace as few as a single tooth or as many as a full mouth. Dental implants can be used as an alternative to crowns, bridges, or even a complete set of dentures.
As long as the patient has a healthy, strong jaw or a better foundation can be created through bone grafts, dental implants are possible.
If you’re unsure of which route to take, book an exam with a dentist. He or she will be able to advise you of all options that will help you achieve a healthy mouth and a beautiful smile. If dental implants are the right choice for you, your dentist will work with you to plan and schedule the procedures you need to prepare your mouth for implants.
Learn More from Desert Villa Dental
Desert Villa Dental is a full service family dentist proudly serving the Green Valley and Sahuarita communities. We’re fully committed to the care of our patients and strive to provide the best possible experience. Dr. Wa Chao is highly experienced in both general and cosmetic dentistry, and dental implants are precisely where both worlds meet.
If you’d like to learn more about dental implants, Desert Villa Dental is just a call or email away. You can contact us at or call us at 520-399-2700 to schedule an appointment or inquire about dental implant procedures.