If your teeth have been seriously damaged as a result of trauma or decay, dental implants might be right for you. Getting an implant is a multi-step process that requires a truly expert dentist, like Dr. Dale Brant of Ingenious Dentistry.
Given proper care, dental implants will last for a lifetime as the foundation of a beautiful and confident smile.
Before deciding on implants, it’s a good idea to get all the facts. Making an informed decision will prepare you and give you a clear idea of what you can expect.
This FAQ has been specially prepared to inform our patients all about dental implants.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants come in the form of metal “posts” that are anchored directly into the jawbone. After they have been implanted, they fuse with the bone, providing a foundation for artificial teeth. This allows the dentist to replace lost teeth and strengthen adjacent ones.
Depending on your needs, the implants may be used along with bridges or dentures.
Do I Need Tooth Implants?
The first step to understand whether or not you need dental implants is to visit your dentist.
Dr. Dale Brant says, “Patients need to see a dentist that is trained to evaluate someone for dental implants. After they evaluate the patient, they will be able to determine if dental implants are a good option for that patient.”
You may benefit from dental implants if you are missing multiple teeth or need to have many teeth extracted. Implants are typically used in situations where conventional dental bridges will not be large or sturdy enough to replace all missing teeth with suitable artificial ones. (Bridges consist of artificial teeth placed between two natural teeth, which are both reinforced with crowns.)
To be sure a patient will benefit from implants, the dentist needs to check on the health and soundness of remaining teeth. If the jawbone has eroded too much because of resorption, it may not be possible for implants to be anchored into it. In this situation, conventional dentures may be preferred. In most instances dental implants can be placed when you have very little remaining bone.
Placed and cared for correctly, dental implants can improve quality of life in many ways for patients.
- Easier speech and chewing ability
- High durability with low maintenance
- Greater comfort than other options
- Extremely natural appearance
- Dental implants are a modern and effective alternative to ordinary dentures. They eliminate the need for adjustments, replacements, expensive adhesives, or any worries about “slippage.”
- For this reason, dental implants are in demand in Houston and elsewhere. The best candidate for the procedure has healthy gums and a strong underlying bone structure.
How Does the Procedure Work?
All in all, it takes anywhere from two to nine months for the implant process to be completed.
During the initial appointment, the health of the teeth and jaw is assessed. This usually requires an extensive series of x-rays. Impressions of the teeth may also be taken so that custom bridges can be manufactured, if needed. The bridges are meant to fit together with the implants while providing a natural look that makes it harder to spot the artificial teeth.
After the initial evaluation, drilling is used to implant a titanium screw into the jawbone.
This is an outpatient procedure, though sedation is often available. The process generally takes little more than an hour, but months are required before the patient is sufficiently healed to receive artificial teeth. Whether they take the form of bridges or dentures, replacement teeth cannot be installed until the bone is ready to support them. Follow-up appointments are used to monitor the healing process.
A Brief History of Dental Implants
The underlying technology behind dental implants dates back several decades. In 1952, Swedish surgeon Dr. Per-Ingvar Branemark discovered a titanium medical apparatus could bond with a subject’s bone while performing unrelated experiments on animal tissue. In 1967, Dr. Branemark led the first-ever dental implant procedure. In 1982, he refined the process with research that clarified titanium’s ability to undergo osseo integration – that is, fusing with human bone.
This is a special property of titanium, though some alternatives have since been discovered.
Dr. Branemark passed away in 2014. During the latter half of his life, dental implantation was successfully performed many thousands of times around the world. With appropriate pre-surgical diagnosis and aftercare, implants are extraordinarily safe. With a success rate of 98%+, they naturally develop into a powerful and effective “root system” for artificial teeth.
Aftercare for Dental Implants
Although implants can help resolve many dental health issues and protect existing teeth, the patient needs to maintain regular dental hygiene practices. Brushing and flossing should be continued, since these help ensure the health of teeth and gums. The gums, in turn, ensure there is a healthy blood supply to remaining natural teeth and that all teeth – natural or implanted – are firmly supported in the mouth.
Complications are rare with dental implants, but can include:
- Allergic Reaction: Implants typically rely on a titanium post for their stability. Although research has shown that the human body will not reject titanium, an allergic reaction is still possible.
- This is very rare, and alternative materials can be used.
- Overloading: Overloading can occur when implantation is performed in a single visit or without sufficient time between appointments for the jaw to heal. Overloading refers to mechanical “wear and tear” on the implanted post which can cause jaw discomfort.
- Contraindications: Most contraindications, such as infection, are related to poor dental hygiene. Patients who are heavy smokers or who suffer from diabetes, bruxism, or low bone mass may require longer healing periods or additional follow-up care.
- If the patient experiences issues with the implant, it is important to see a dentist quickly, even if a follow-up appointment is already scheduled in the near future. With prompt intervention, most problems can be resolved with minimal discomfort.
Dr. Dale Brant is Your Dental Implants Specialist in Houston
At Ingenious Dentistry, Dr. Dale Brant is an expert in dental implants.
“Dental implants are an effective and permanent solution to replace missing or damaged teeth,” Dr. Brant says. “Given proper care, dental implants will last for a lifetime as the foundation of a beautiful and confident smile. At Ingenious Dentistry, I have years of experience successfully placing dental implants and I am happy to consult with my patients to determine if they are right choice for them.”
To learn more about dental implants and whether you would be a good candidate for them, please contact Ingenious Dentistry today.