What Are Dental Implants?
Millions of Americans suffer from tooth loss. Sometimes, this is the result of tooth decay or periodontal disease. In other cases, it may be the result of facial trauma. Regardless of the cause, tooth loss that is left untreated may result in jaw pain, difficulty chewing, and even the loss of bone volume.
Dental implants provide a long-term solution. Dental implants are essentially artificial replacement roots, often resembling the shape of a screw. When securely attached to the jawline, a dental implant can serve as a reliable foundation for artificial teeth or crowns. Associated Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons are pleased to provide dental implants to patients in Pekin, IL.
How Dental Implants Work
When dental implants are placed in the jawbone, they bond with the underlying bone, resulting in a stable, secure fit. Once this bonding takes place, an abutment is added to the implant. This is essentially a connector, allowing one of our doctors to secure the crown.
It is important for patients to know that these crowns are all custom-made, individualized to each patient. They are made to resemble the shape and color of your natural teeth, and also to fit comfortably within your mouth. The end result of the dental implant process is a restored smile, and teeth that both look and function just like your natural teeth.
Benefits of Dental Implants
Dental implants offer numerous benefits for those who lost their natural teeth.
Prevent Bone Loss and Deterioration
When you lose a tooth, it leaves an empty space in the jawbone. Over time, this can actually cause that bone to deteriorate due to lack of stimulation. In fact, if you lose a tooth and do not replace it, you may experience up to 25 percent loss of bone volume within a year’s time. Dental implants allow you to avoid this.
Look and Function Like Natural Teeth
Once you have dental implants and crowns in place, you may have a hard time distinguishing your artificial teeth from your natural teeth. That is because implants provide both the appearance and the feel of a natural, healthy smile. You will be able to chew, brush, and floss just like normal.
Long-Lasting and Reliable
There are a number of solutions available for replacing lost teeth, but not all of them offer the longevity of implants. For example, a dental bridge may last only a decade. By contrast, implants will generally last a lifetime. This is because the implants wholly integrate with the underlying bone; they are accepted by your body, not rejected.
Improved Ability to Chew
If you leave a lost or broken tooth unaddressed, it can quickly have an effect on the surrounding teeth. Specifically, these teeth may become crooked or slanted, making it difficult or uncomfortable to chew. Dental implants will allow you to avoid this discomfort, and to once again enjoy teeth that are fully functional.
Ideal Candidates for Dental Implants
The best way to determine whether dental implants are right for you is to come in for a one-on-one consultation with one of our doctors, here at Associated Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. Generally speaking, the best candidates in Pekin, IL for dental implants meet the following criteria:
- You are missing one or more teeth.
- You do not have any underlying gum or periodontal diseases.
- You maintain proper oral hygiene and are consistent in cleanings.
- You do not smoke.
- You do not have any illnesses that prohibit you from healing properly.
The Dental Implant Process
The dental implant process may vary slightly, depending on the needs of the patient. Generally speaking, however, the steps in the process are as follows.
One of our doctors will thoroughly evaluate your teeth and consult with you about the number and type of implants needed. We will also ensure you are qualified for a safe, effective procedure.
If you have teeth that need to be removed, our doctors will extract them, using anesthesia to ensure minimal discomfort. Unless the tooth is fractured, extraction is usually quick.
Implants are inserted into the jawline, where they are then left to bond with the bone. In the absence of sufficient bone mass, a bone graft may also be performed.
Once the implants have bonded with the bone, the abutment is placed, and crowns are either screwed or cemented into place. This completes the restoration of your smile.
What is the Recovery for Dental Implants Like?
There is no set recovery time for a dental implant procedure, as it can vary from one patient to the next. However, most patients feel back to normal and can resume their regular diet within 7 to 10 days after the procedure.
During this recovery period, it is usually best to stick with liquids and soft foods. Patients should anticipate a few days of minor discomfort: temporary swelling of the face and gums, some minor bruising, and minor bleeding around the implant area. Some patients also feel pain related to their surgery, so our doctors will provide pain medication recommendations to help manage that additional discomfort.
If you are ready to schedule a dental implants consultation, contact our office today.