Treatment For All Ages
Replace missing teeth with a fully functional artificial tooth that is implanted into the jawbone. Prevent further bone loss with the stimulation that implants provide through osseointegration. Dental implants are the best value for your money tooth replacement procedure.
Our team can help you restore the function, appearance, and health of your teeth today with dental implants. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and find out if they’re right for you.
Functional Tooth Replacement
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are a method of replacing missing teeth through the use of a titanium screw and post which is implanted into the jaw bone and later connected to a crown or artificial tooth. This is a more permanent solution to replacing teeth compared to dentures, because the implant will fuse with the jawbone, preventing bone loss and functioning like a normal tooth.
How Do Implants Work?
The procedure begins with a minor oral surgery, where a titanium implant is placed into the jawbone with the aid of a local anesthetic. It will take 2 weeks to heal from the surgery but several months for osseointegration to take place, in which the implant fuses with the jawbone. This can take between 3-6 months and you will have appointments in between to check on your progress.
Once osseointegration has been complete and the bone has grown around the implant, a foundation will be created for your new artificial tooth. Impressions of your teeth will be taken so we can match the artificial tooth as closely to the size, shape, and color of your natural teeth as possible.
Finally, the artificial tooth or crown will be screwed onto the implant and cemented into place. After the procedure, you may experience some swelling or bleeding of the gums and will need to stick to soft foods in the initial days following the procedure.
The implants provide a stable base for tooth replacement because they are attached to the jawbone and gum tissue. This allows for stimulation of the jawbone to prevent further bone loss and sufficient support to chew your food like normal. You will not be restricted in what foods you can eat and you will only need to clean your teeth like normal to maintain dental implants.
Understanding The Difference
Single-Tooth vs. Full-Arch Implants
Single-Tooth Implant: Single-tooth implants are used to replace individual missing teeth. While multiple teeth can be replaced this way, they will all be separate implants. These are the traditional dental implants used if you still have most of your teeth and are in generally good oral health.
The implant process is the same as described above, in which a titanium implant is placed into the jawbone, fuses with it, and then a foundation and tooth restoration is attached to restore the function of your teeth.
Full-Arch Implant: Unlike single-tooth implants, full-arch implants are used to replace entire arches of teeth. The procedure requires extracting the remaining healthy teeth you do have, so this procedure is only recommended for people who have already lost most of their natural teeth.
An entire arch of teeth can be replaced by making a series of 4-6 implants into the jawbone. The initial implant, healing, and osseointegration procedure are the same as single-tooth implants, but the tooth replacement method is different.
Once you have fully healed and the implants have fused with the jawbone, you will have a set of permanent or removable dentures that clip onto the implants. These dentures are very secure, do not shift when talking or chewing, do not slur your speech, and are easier to maintain than traditional dentures.
While you wait for your mouth to heal and for the implants to fuse with your jawbone, you will be given a set of temporary teeth until your permanent replacement is ready.
Making The Right Decision
Why Choose Dental Implants?
Dental implants are sturdier, easier to maintain, and a more permanent solution for teeth replacement compared to dentures. Unlike dentures, dental implants preserve your jawbone and prevent further bone loss. Enjoy all of your favorite foods, activities, and feel confident in your smile without worrying about shifting dentures.
To find out if dental implants are right for you, contact Whitestone Family Dentistry today. Our dentist in Cedar Park, TX will examine your teeth during your consultation and make a recommendation based on your oral health and goals.
How Long Do Dental Implants Last?
The long lifespan of dental implants is one of their most unique features that sets them apart from other tooth restorations. Dentures and dental bridges have relatively short lifespans and need to be continually replaced.
Bridges last for 5 to 7 years while partial dentures have a maximum lifespan of 15 years. Full dentures can last for up to 10 years but usually require sooner replacement due to changes in the facial structure from bone resorption.
Dental implants, on the other hand, last for a minimum of 25 years. With proper care and oral hygiene, most patients can get a lifetime out of their implants and never require replacement. The attached restoration, however, such as the crown or implant-supported denture will need to be replaced as needed about every 15 years or so.
You can extend the lifespan of this restoration by being careful to avoid sources of wear and tear. Don’t use the teeth as tools or chew on excessively hard foods or inanimate objects. While these restorations still require replacement, the implants themselves remain firmly stable in the jawbone and never move.
The artificial tooth root ensures the jawbone receives stimulation so that the jawbone is preserved, unlike other traditional restorations which accelerate bone loss.
Tips For Healing After Implant Surgery
Carefully following aftercare instructions is so important during your recovery after implant placement. Failing to follow these guidelines can result in peri-implantitis or implant failure. Your priority after implant placement should be to form a blood clot and manage pain and swelling.
Bleeding is to be expected for up to the first 3 days but it should not be excessive. You will need to bite down on fresh dampened gauze for 30 to 60 minutes after implant placement to stop the bleeding.
If bleeding continues, keep changing your gauze or switch to a wet caffeinated tea bag. Besides icing the area, keeping your head elevated, and taking anti-inflammatory pain medication, you should also stay hydrated to encourage healing.
Only eat soft foods for the first week and avoid excessive chewing. You won’t be able to drink through a straw for 24 hours and cannot smoke or drink alcohol.
Am I A Candidate For Dental Implants?
There are three key considerations when it comes to determining candidacy for dental implants:
- Are you a smoker?
- Do you have gum disease?
- Do you have sufficient and healthy bone density?
Ideally, good candidates for implants would be in good oral health with enough healthy jawbone structure to anchor dental implants and would not smoke.
You cannot have active oral health problems when receiving dental implants so if you have gum disease, this will need to be treated first.
We recommend that you quit smoking if you are a smoker because it increases the risk of implant failure. If you don’t have enough healthy bone structure, you will need to undergo bone grafting.
The best way to determine if dental implants are right for you is to contact us for a consultation and we can identify how much bone support you have and if any oral health problems are present.