Dental Implants With Smart Family Dentistry
Dental implants are a wonderful way to replace one or more teeth. With adequate bone volume, they can be placed throughout the mouth and can provide a very strong, durable foundation for individual teeth or as an anchor point for a complete or partial denture.
What Is A Dental Implant?
A dental implant can be thought of as a new foundation or anchor point within your jaw bone. They are small, devices made of a titanium alloy, an alloy that is very body friendly and similar to what is often used in orthopedic surgeries like joint replacements. Although the placement of an implant is a surgery, the process is typically not uncomfortable and the initial healing is quick!
Can I use my implant right away for eating?
Although your implant is stable at the time of its placement, the solid connection to the bone to withstand your biting forces requires time. Dr. Smart typically waits about five months after your implant is in place for the bone to establish a nice, tight bond to it before using it. Sometimes, if multiple implants are placed, this window of time can be shortened if the eventual plan utilizes a way to tie the multiple implants together in your mouth for a “strength in numbers” type of idea.
What will be in place while my implant is establishing its connection within my bone?
It depends on a few factors. One factor is whether your missing tooth is in the front of your mouth, or what’s referred to as your “esthetic zone”. In these situations, a temporary tooth can be put into place using the surrounding teeth and/or tissue to keep it in place. In some situations, a temporary tooth can be made off of the implant itself, but care has to be taken not to disturb the implant/bone connection as it is healing. Often, if the implant is not in a highly visible area, the best option is to not replace the tooth with a temporary crown, but let the implant set undisturbed until the final crown is made. During this time, a small, cylinder shaped piece called a healing abutment is screwed into the top of the implant for your gum tissue to heal around and to protect the surface of the implant.
What To Expect After Receiving A Dental Implant
Teeth already require regular at home care and routine dental visits to maintain good dental hygiene. A dental implant is no different. Like your teeth, dental implants require multiple brushings a day, flossing, and any other measures to ensure protection from plaque and tartar buildup. Follow up visits should be scheduled to monitor your gums, teeth, and new implant, and ensure a healthy mouth.