Published: March 22, 2018
Dental implants have become a practical solution for those with missing teeth. In the United States, more than 178 million people have lost at least one adult tooth.1 This is not only a factor in one being self-conscious about their smile—it can have repercussions on one’s health, comfort level, and eating habits. If you need dental implants, Irving, TX is served by Smiles of Las Colinas, a leader in professional family, general, cosmetic, and laser dentistry.
What Are Dental Implants?
An implant replicates the entire structure of a tooth, including the crown and root. It is as stable and functional as a healthy tooth. The cylindrical or tapered post anchoring the implant to the bone is usually titanium. Although it is a metal, titanium is biocompatible, meaning the body won’t reject it, and bone grows naturally into its pores and channels.
When a dental implant is surgically inserted, it soon fuses with the person’s natural bone through a process known as osseointegration. The structure consists of the:
• Implant: The titanium post that replaces the tooth root.
• Abutment: A connector built into or placed on top of a dental implant.
• Crown: The replacement tooth custom-made for the individual patient.
A dentist in Irving, TX can use an implant to replace one tooth. They can also use implants to support multi-tooth dentures or bridges. Either way, these treatments enable someone to eat, talk, and smile without concern over the condition of their teeth.
Dental implants can be used for people of any age, whether they lost teeth due to defects, injury, decay, or disease. They’re an option for anyone whose jaw is fully grown. For boys, this is around 18 years of age; for girls, it is around 16 years old.
Receiving a dental implant is a multi-step process and sometimes requires more than one surgical procedure. The process is outlined below:
• A dentist performs an exam, takes x-rays, and creates models of your teeth.
• A treatment plan is created based on the number of missing teeth and other oral health factors.
• Damaged teeth are removed.
• Bone grafting and other procedures to prepare the jawbone are performed as necessary.
• A metal post is placed into the jawbone once it heals.
• The extension, or abutment, is placed on the metal post.
It can take several months to heal and to complete the dental implant surgery process. For many patients, it is typically three to nine months, but healing and bone growth can take much longer for some. Bone grafting is performed if the patient’s jawbone is too soft or not thick enough. Creating a more solid foundation for an implant, a donor bone graft, that has been processed & is sterile, is used.
Typical after-effects of implant surgery may include swelling, bruising, pain, and minor bleeding, but the benefits of receiving a dental implant will be felt for life.
Dental Implant Advantages
Effectively replacing missing teeth, implants also help maintain bone. They also maintain a youthful appearance, as lost teeth and bone make the face look older. You can, therefore, avoid looking prematurely aged with dental implants Irving, TX patients are provided with.
Even with implants, proper oral hygiene is essential. Interdental brushes can clean areas between teeth, so the metal posts, gums, and teeth remain clean. Regular dental checkups are still necessary to ensure your implants are in top shape. Your habits are also important, as caffeine can stain your teeth and chewing hard food and grinding your teeth can damage implants and remaining teeth.
There are also a couple of options once the abutment is inserted and your gums heal. These include:
• Removable prostheses: The artificial tooth is mounted on a metal frame and attached to a pink plastic that simulates the gum. The implant snaps in place and can be removed for cleaning. This is a more affordable option than multiple dental implants if several lower teeth are missing.
• Fixed prostheses: The artificial tooth or crown is permanently fixed, either by screwing it in or cementing it to the abutment. It cannot be removed to be cleaned and stays in place even when you are asleep. Several missing teeth can be replaced in this manner, although the expense may be prohibitive for some.
Your implants will last a lifetime if you care for them, compared to maybe 10 years for a traditional dental bridge.2 The advantages you can expect include:
• The function of natural teeth: After it heals, most people can’t tell their implant from their natural teeth. It is just as functional and enables a person to chew normally. Eating is not a problem, and one is also able to brush and floss the same way, too.
• A natural look: The crown of an implant is shaped and colored by your dentist in Irving to match the surrounding teeth. It does not look any different and is just as stable. The implant is permanently fused with the bone.
• Stability: When a tooth is lost, it leaves a gap. This space, while it may not look appealing, is even more substantial when you consider how easily adjacent teeth can shift toward it. Shifting teeth further affect your biting and chewing ability, can make it hard to reach food particles and tartar, and lead to pain and temporomandibular joint problems.
• Bone preservation: Bone deterioration is a common result of tooth loss. In one year, you can lose 25% of bone volume in that area,3 a process that continues without treatment. Loose dentures rub against bone and can cause additional wear. Implants stimulate bone growth, so are generally the better option.
• Gum protection: Gaps and shifting, crooked teeth trap food and bacteria, leaving you vulnerable to gum disease. Dental implants fill these gaps. Therefore, your dentist in Irving, TX can prevent gum problems from occurring in the first place.
• Easy speaking: Dental implants are a natural fit. You can, therefore, communicate as you normally would, without having to worry about shifting dentures. Speaking ability does not change with a tooth implant.
• Safety: Dental implants are safe. They are made of a biocompatible material that fuses with the bone as it grows into the implant material. The surgery is one of the safest procedures in the dentistry field. Plus, it’s the only restoration procedure that can stimulate the jawbone.
Implants also have a positive effect on your lifestyle. Their look and function improve self-esteem, so you’re not as concerned about what others think of you, or of appearing or speaking in public, at work, or on a date. You can eat just about anything. An implant does not reduce eating efficiency and, when healed, does not cause pain when eating. There are also no time-consuming routines other than normal brushing and flossing, so your day isn’t taken up by removing, cleaning, and applying dentures.
• Options: Another advantage concerns the options available from our dentist in Irving. Endosteal implants are placed directly into the bone and look like small screws or cylinders; sometimes they have a plate-like structure. Subperiosteal implants are inserted under the gum but not into the bone itself. They’re more suited for patients who can’t or don’t want to have additional bone procedures or who have a shallow jawbone.
Different sizes, heights, and widths of implants are available to accommodate different patients. Single- and multi-tooth implants are made, as has been mentioned, and alternative techniques are available. The typical process takes a bit of time, but newer methods include minimally invasive procedures, placing the implant and temporary crown in the same day, and smaller diameter implants for patients not candidates for traditional procedures.
Speak with your dentist on which procedure is best for you.
Advantages Over Dentures and Bridges
When a dentist in Irving places implants, they remain fixed. They won’t slip or move. Another advantage over dentures is there’s no plate covering the roof of your mouth, which can interfere with speaking, eating, and tasting food. Even implant-supported dentures don’t necessarily need a palate and, aside from the hardest of foods, there are no limitations of what you can eat with dental implants.
Dental implants will not shift, click, or get in the way when you eat. They eliminate the maintenance requirements of dentures. You don’t have to remove implants, clean them at night, use adhesive, or worry about them slipping when you eat, talk, smile, or laugh.
Full and partial dentures can cause discomfort and pain. Implants fuse with the bone and do not irritate the jawbone, nerves, or gum tissue. They are also easier on your facial muscles. Loose dentures put a strain on muscles that try to hold them in place, which can also slur speech.
Even properly fitting dentures don’t work naturally. On average, a denture-wearer eats at 15% to 20% efficiency.4 This is reduced even more as jawbone is lost. By contrast, chewing efficiency with dental implants is just about equal with your natural teeth.
Dental bridges are also not as efficient as natural teeth, either. Bridges are false teeth and may last only five to ten years, requiring you to spend more on additional dental work. They require adjacent teeth to be altered and capped. There’s also no root support, so bone loss is still a possibility. On the other hand, an implant has no effect on surrounding teeth and is a more affordable option.
Dental implants are a long-term solution. If you properly care for them, they never have to be replaced, and damage is normally not a concern. Occasional adjustments may be needed. By visiting your dentist regularly, any issues can be spotted early, but often the implant and crown never need to be fixed or replaced.
Visit Smiles Family Dental for Long Lasting Dental Implants in Irving, TX
A member of the Texas Dental Association and American Dental Association, Smiles Family Dental is experienced in the most modern advancements in dental implants and implant supported dentures.
If you need dental implants, Irving, TX is the place to be. Our experienced team includes Dr. Angelie Zamora, DDS, MAGD, who prioritizes patient satisfaction and comfort. We offer digital x-rays, same day dental crowns and bridges, and laser gum treatment, among many other services.
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