Do you avoid laughing aloud, smiling, or eating in public because your denture may slip or a space left by missing teeth may show?
If so, dental implants may improve the way you feel about your teeth. No matter how many teeth you’re missing, dental implants may make it possible for you eat and speak with comfort and confidence again.
When Teeth Are Missing
You may have spaces in your mouth where teeth were lost or removed or never grew in. Although these spaces may be embarrassing, traditional dental restorations aren’t always the best solution.
You may not want to sacrifice the structure of surrounding good teeth to bridge a space. Or, removing a complete or partial denture at night may be inconvenient. Added to this is the discomfort and possible embarrassment caused by a denture that slips.
Consider Dental Implants
If you want a dental restoration that looks and feels as though it’s really part of your mouth, dental implants may be right for you. Used successfully for many years, dental implants anchor prosthetic (artificial) teeth into your jawbone to provide a secure, stable fit.
Implants can meet your individual needs can meet your individual needs whether you’re missing all, a few, or only one of your teeth. You may wish to review the implant system that Dr. Williams has chosen for the majority of their current patients, the Bicon System.
Your dental implants may be positioned and your prosthesis (artificial teeth) constructed by one or more dentists. Dr. Williams will usually prepare your jaw and places the implants, which will hold your new teeth in place. Then he makes your prosthesis.
Your commitment, both during and after the implant process, is also important. For the best long-term results, you’ll need to have regular checkups and practice good oral hygiene.
Are Implants for You?
Dental implants can improve the quality of life many people, but they aren’t for everyone. Use the checklist below to help determine how you feel about your dental health. The more yes answers you have, the more likely its that dental implants will be a good choice for you.
- Do complete or partial dentures cause discomfort when you eat?
- Do you wear a denture that slips or fits badly?
- Are the teeth holding your bridge loosening or moving?
- Are you embarrassed about missing teeth or dentures when you smile or laugh?
- If you have a complete or partial denture, do you sometimes carry it in your pocket or leave it at home?
- Can you wait three to nine months for the entire implant process to be completed?
- Are you willing to spend extra time caring for your dental implants?
- Will you follow up with regular dental checkups?
Knowing your dental history helps your surgical specialist and restorative dentist decide if you’re a good candidate for implants. A dental exam and tests help determine where the implants should be anchored in your jaw. After developing a treatment plan, Dr. Williams presents you with the information you will need to decide if implants are right for you.
Your Dental and Medical History
The doctors at Suwanee Dental Care are likely to ask why you want dental implants. What results do you expect? If you wear a denture, you may be asked how it fits and if it causes you pain.
They will also want to know if you have any medical conditions, such as diabetes or bleeding problems. You also may be asked if you smoke or take certain medications, two things that can slow healing or even be a contraindication to placing implants in a few..
Your Dental Exam
Our doctors next examine the structure and health of your mouth, jaws, head, and neck. They study the shape of your mouth and bite (the way your teeth meet when you chew). They also make models (plaster molds) of your upper and lower jaws to reveal their exact alignment.
If you wear a complete or partial denture, your dentist at Suwanee Dental Care may also evaluate the way it fits in your mouth. Some dentures are adequate for implants, some need to be remade much stronger with an internal metal frame to resist breakage since you will be chewing much better, stronger and have the ability to chew hard-to-eat foods.
X-rays and other types of imaging tests provide information on the health of your teeth and jaws. A panagraphic x-ray provides a view of your entire mouth and can indicate bone problems. Scans produced by x-ray tomography may help your dentures determine whether or not you have enough jawbone to support a dental implant.
Computerized testing of the bite and the muscles and jaw joint will help make us aware of the loss of bone and the health of the joints and muscles prior to making your new teeth. If you have an ongoing medical condition, such as diabetes, you may also have blood tests to make sure your condition is under control before treatment begins.
Your Treatment Plan
After the valuation, Dr. Williams will discuss a treatment plan with you.
If dental implants are likely to work for you, the overall cost and time frame for the procedure are outlined. Here are some advantages specific to Bicon implants that you may be interested in when choosing dentists to place your implants.
You’ll also be told about any dental work or special surgical procedures you may need before the implant process can begin.
You Have Alternatives
If dental implants aren’t right for you now, consider your alternatives. You can keep your current prosthesis as it is or have it adjusted for a better fit. Or, you can have a new prosthesis made. If you’re missing only one tooth, a bridge may be a good option.
If your mouth isn’t ideal for dental implants, Dr. Williams may suggest way of improving the outcome, including some special surgical procedures:
If your jawbone is not big enough to hold the implant, bone grafting may increase jaw height or width. Bone may be taken from other areas of your jaw or we may choose to use donor bone graft material. In some instances there is artificial bone used to create more bone for placement of dental implants.
After the new bone is packed around your jaw, the gum is closed and the bone begins fusing with your jaw. Look here for the latest information on Bone Grafts.
To encourage proper healing after a bone graft, an artificial membrane may be placed along the bone edge. This membrane slows soft tissue growth, giving the new bone time to fuse with your jaw.
If your upper jaw ridge is too low, the implant my puncture the sinus cavity. This can be avoided by lifting the sinus membrane and adding height to your jaw with a bone graft.
Risks and Complications
The possible risks and complication of dental implants include the following:
- Bleeding, infection, numbness, or injury to nearby muscles
- Injury to a nearby sinus cavity
- Incomplete healing of the bone around the implant, leading to implant failure
Fortunately, most of these risks are low and happen very infrequently.
Implants Are Like Teeth
Your natural teeth are stable biting and chewing surfaces because they are supported by your jawbone. This will also be true of your dental implant. Successful dental implants become firmly embedded in the jaw, providing a chewing surface almost as secure as that of natural teeth.
Roots Hold Crowns
The crowns of your natural teeth are held in place by roots. Roots not only secure your crowns, they also help keep your jaws healthy by stimulating the growth of new bone. This provides good support for your teeth.
Implants Hold a Prosthesis
The prosthesis is held in place by implants, which are usually made of titanium. Because this metal is well accepted by the body, titanium implants rarely cause reactions. Like the roots of natural teeth, implants also stimulate new gum growth in your jaw.
- The crown is the tooth’s hard surface, visible above the gum line.
- The root is the tooth’s supportive base and is fixed in the jawbone.
- The ligaments are tough fibers that fasten the root to the jawbone.
- The prosthesis is the artificial crown, visible above the gum line.
- The abutment is the small metal piece that connects the prosthesis to the implant.
- The implant is the supportive base of the prosthesis that becomes fixed in the jawbone over time.
Implants Have Different Shapes
An implant may be threaded like a screw or may be cylindrical in shape with a slightly rough or textured surface. Implants often have small holes at their lower ends. Over time, bone grows into these surface irregularities (Osseo integration), locking the implant in place.
- A threaded implant: Maximus Implants – Patient Education
- A cylindrical implant: Bicon Implants – Patient Information
A Prosthesis To Fit Your Needs
Using dental implants, a new prosthesis can be made to fit your individual needs. No matter how many teeth are being replaced, the basic process is the same. Only the number of implants changes. If you are replacing a complete set of teeth, though, you may have the option off either a removable or fixed prosthesis.
Types of Prostheses
Depending on your needs, a prosthesis can replace on one more teeth. The number of implants you’ll need depends on whether you’re having a partial, complete denture, or single prosthesis made. The more teeth being replaced, the more implants your prosthesis requires. These implants are placed to follow the shape of your jaw.
This type of prosthesis can replace two or more teeth. It is the most commonly performed implant procedure, and my require only tow or three implants.
Complete Denture Prosthesis
This type of prostheses replaces all the teeth in your upper or lower jaw. The number of implants varies, depending on the type of prosthesis you choose.
Choosing a Complete Denture Prosthesis
A prosthesis that is used to replace a complete set of teeth may be removable or fixed. You and your restorative dentist may discuss which option is best for you.
With a removable prosthesis, you can take your teeth out of your mouth to make cleaning easier. With a fixed prosthesis, your new teeth can only be taken out by a dentist. In some cases, a fixed prosthesis may offer increased stability for more effective chewing.
With a removable prosthesis, your new teeth can be joined to the abutments by a connecting device, such as a clip bar. This type of prosthesis my use two to four implants per jaw.
Mini-implants may be the economical treatment of choice for some situations. In this scenario, the implants are placed without major surgery and are attached to the existing or new dentures immediately, giving the patient instant retention and holding power for their dentures. Typically, we use two to four mini-implants for lower dentures and 4 to 6 mini-implants for upper dentures.
This type of prosthesis is used to replace one or two missing teeth. Each prosthetic tooth attaches to its own implant.
With a fixed prosthesis, your teeth are fitted to a metal frame, which is then secured to the abutments. A fixed prosthesis may use five to six implants, which are placed to follow the contour of your jaw.
The Implant Process
The implant process is a three-step procedure. The first two types are surgical. The third type involves making and attaching your new teeth.
- During your first surgery, the implants are placed.
- During your second surgery, the abutments are attached. At times we are able to combine step one and this step, thereby eliminating the second surgery.
- During the last step, your new prosthesis is attached.
Your First Surgery
During your first surgery, Dr. Williams places the implants in your jawbone. Much of the success of the entire implant process depends on how tightly your jawbone grows around the implants (Osseo integration). You can help the implants “take hold: by avoiding pressure on your jaw and by keeping your gums and teeth especially clean over the next three to six months.
Preparing for Surgery
Most dental implant surgeries are performed in a dental office. Be sure to wear comfortable clothes and arrange for a family member or friend to drive you home.
Depending on the type of anesthesia used, you may be told not to eat or drink for several hours before your appointment. Before surgery, you may be asked to take oral antibiotics, brush your teeth, and rinse with an antiseptic mouthwash to help prevent infection.
You may have medication to help you relax or to make you sleepy. Then, you’ll be given an anesthetic to numb the area where your surgical specialist will be working. You may hear sounds or feel vibrations during the surgery. If you are uncomfortable at any time, tell your surgeon. The entire procedure may take a couple of hours.
Making the Incision
A small opening is made in your gum, exposing the jawbone. This incision will be stitched closed after the implant is in position.
Preparing the Bone
A precise hole is slowly and gently drilled into the bone. The hole is deep and wide enough to hold the implant.
Placing the Implant
The implant is twisted or gently tapped into position. Then a temporary cap is placed over the implant and the gum incision is closed.
After surgery, you’ll probably rest awhile, bite on gauze to stop any minor bleeding, and hold a cold pack to your face to reduce swelling. You can go home as soon as you feel able. At home, follow your doctor’s instructions about taking pain medications and antibiotics. Drink only clear liquids for the rest of the day. By the next morning, you may be able to eat soft foods.
Caring for Your Mouth
Use a soft-bristled brush to clean both your teeth and gums. Be sure to follow any special instructions on cleaning near your incisions. To aid healing, you may be asked not to wear your complete or partial denture for the next several days.
Use a small, soft toothbrush to gently clean the area near your incisions.
Over the next several months, Dr. Williams and the staff routinely examines your mouth and monitors how well your jaw is healing. If you wear a complete or partial denture, he may place a new lining in it so you can wear it during the rest of the healing process.
When to Call Your Surgical specialist
Call Dr. Williams if you have any of these signs:
- Extreme swelling near your jaws or under your tongue
- Fever or ongoing bleeding
- Pain in your jaws, mouth, or sinuses that isn’t relieved by your prescribed medication
- Relining your current denture provides cushioning for greater comfort
Your Second Surgery
With some implant systems, this stage may be eliminated. If needed, you’ll be given an anesthetic to numb the area where Dr. Williams will be working.
Temporary abutments may be used if swelling in your gums needs to go down before an appropriate, permanent abutment can be attached. The second surgery is usually shorter than the first, often lasting no more than an hour.
Exposing the Implant
A small incision is made in the gum, exposing the top of the implant. The temporary cap is removed.
Attaching the Abutment
The abutment is twisted into the implant.
The Abutment in Place
In most cases, a permanent abutment is placed at this time.
After surgery, you’ll rest and bite on gauze to stop any minor bleeding. You may be given a prescription for pain medication and scheduled for a follow-up visit. Follow your doctor’s instructions about when to begin cleaning your abutments. Gently cleaning around the base of each abutment helps prevent infection.
When to Call Your Surgeon
Call Dr. Williams if you have any of these signs
- Extreme swelling
- Fever or bleeding
- Pain in your mouth, jaws, or sinuses that isn’t relieved by your prescribed medication
You can aid healing by gently brushing all around the abutment near the gum line.
Making Your New Teeth
Dr. Williams will begin making your prosthesis when your gums have healed around the abutment, usually two to four weeks after surgery. Several visits may be spent analyzing the new structure of your mouth. Then, it may take several more weeks or months to create the prosthesis. This is the important time when the bite is established to proper neuromuscular principles.
Forming Your Prosthesis
First, your Suwanee Dental Care dentist makes impressions (molds of your teeth, abutments, and jaws) and bite registrations (imprints of how your teeth fit together). then, these molds are used to create a model of your mouth. Your new prosthesis will be built from this model.
The Prosthesis in Place
The prosthesis is attached to abutment with a screw.
Fitting Your Prosthesis
You’ll have several “trial fits: before the prosthesis is finally attached to the abutments. With a fixed prosthesis, this fitting process may take a little longer.
Once the prosthesis is in your mouth, the restorative dentist makes any final adjustments necessary to provide you with a pain-free, stable bite. You may be told to avoid eating hard or crunchy foods for a few weeks after your prosthesis is in place.
When to Call Your Restorative Dentist
Call your dentist who is making the denture or crowns that fit on top of the imlants if you have any of these problems:
- You have pain in your jaws.
- Your bite feels wrong.
- The implant feels loose.
- The prosthesis feels loose, chips, or breaks.