For over 30 years, dental implants have been improving the lives of those who have sought the treatment. Designed to provide a foundation for replacement teeth that look, feel, and function like natural teeth, dental implants allow patients to laugh, speak, and smile with confidence.
Our doctors at Austin Oral Surgery in Central Texas have had extensive training in dental implant surgery and are capable of everything from the simple placement of a single dental implant to comprehensive treatment requiring multiple implants, associated grafting, and reconstructive techniques. With dental implants, a person who has lost teeth can regain the ability to eat virtually anything, knowing that teeth appear natural and that facial contours will be preserved.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are titanium root replacements that are gently placed into the jawbone where teeth are missing. These anchors act as tooth root substitutes. The underlying jawbone bonds with the titanium, creating a strong foundation for artificial teeth. Once the implants are ready to be restored with artificial teeth, small posts are attached to the implants, which provide stable anchors for artificial replacement teeth. Implants also help preserve facial structure, preventing bone deterioration that occurs when teeth are missing.
Benefits of Dental Implants
Once you learn about dental implants, you finally realize there is a way to improve your life. When you lose several teeth – whether it’s a new situation or something you have lived with for years – chances are you have never become fully accustomed to losing such a vital part of yourself. Dental implants can be your doorway to renewed self-confidence and peace of mind. Implants are recommended over other reconstructive techniques for several reasons. It is not beneficial to sacrifice the structure of surrounding teeth to bridge a space. Removing a denture or a partial at night can be inconvenient. Dentures that slip can cause discomfort and embarrassment. Because dental implants are gently placed into the underlying jawbone, the recovery from the procedure is often associated with minimal discomfort throughout recovery.
Our team of board-certified oral surgeons can ensure your dental implant procedure is comfortable, quick, and hassle-free.
Types of Dental Implants
The type of dental implant treatment you can receive depends on your unique oral condition. Dental implants can be used to replace a single missing tooth or help replace and restore multiple teeth that have gone missing. Our restorative dental implant treatments can be performed to meet a wide variety of needs, and our doctors can recommend the ideal solution to help you achieve the best possible results.
A dental implant is an ideal option for replacing a single missing tooth due to the permanence of the procedure. The restoration itself is most similar to your natural tooth because it replaces the missing tooth in its entirety from the root to the crown. Once the custom tooth is created and placed onto the implant, you’ll have a permanent tooth replacement that seamlessly fits into the rest of your smile.
If you have multiple missing teeth in a row that you want to be replaced, an implant-supported bridge could be the perfect solution. The bridge implant treatment involves two implant posts secured at both ends of the gap of missing teeth, acting as anchors. A row of artificial teeth will be affixed to one another, and the teeth at each end will be secured onto the implant posts to hold them in place. This is a great way to replace multiple missing teeth adjacent to one another without receiving an implant for every individual tooth.
When you are missing a significant number of teeth, an implant-retained denture is a great replacement solution. Implant-retained dentures eliminate the discomfort and inconveniences associated with traditional dentures because they are secured to strategically-placed dental implants in your jawline. Implant-retained dentures are an excellent option for those who seek a more permanent solution to traditional dentures.
To prepare for this type of oral surgery procedure, follow these guidelines:
For most patients, the placement of dental implants involves two surgical procedures. First, the implants are gently placed within your jawbone. For the first three to six months following this procedure, the implants beneath the surface of the gums gradually bond with the jawbone so that there will be a stable anchor for the artificial tooth. During this period, you should be able to wear temporary dentures if desired and progress to eating a normal diet with time.
After the implant has bonded to the jawbone, the second phase begins. Our doctors or your restorative dentist will uncover the implants and attach small posts to the implants that will act as anchors for the artificial teeth. When the artificial teeth are placed, these posts will not be seen. The entire treatment process usually takes six to eight months, and most patients experience minimal disruption to their daily life.
There are even situations where the implants can be placed at the same time as a tooth extraction, further minimizing the number of surgical procedures. Advances in dental implant technology have made it possible, in select cases, to extract teeth and place implants with temporary crowns all in one visit. The procedure, called immediate provisionals, has dramatically simplified the surgical process.
Dental Implant Maintenance and Aftercare
Your body’s healing abilities will determine the time necessary for implants to heal to the underlying jawbone. There isn’t much that can be done to speed up the process, and it is recommended to allow the implant at least three months of healing prior to placing the final artificial tooth. The great news is once the restoration process is complete, there are no special requirements to maintain your dental implants other than routine brushing, flossing, and dental cleanings. With proper dental hygiene habits, dental implants are a long-term solution offering more stability and overall health compared to more traditional options.
When the quality and quantity of bone is inadequate for the placement of dental implants, the deteriorated bone must be replaced.