Replace Missing Teeth with Dental Implants
We can improve your bite, restoring function and your look, with the placement of a dental implant. Tooth implants are a great advancement in modern dentistry, allowing patients to have a tooth that not only looks real, but feels real.
Dr. Pickens, along with everyone at Pickens Family Dentistry, is here to provide you with healthy teeth and gums, so that you can continue to chew naturally, speak well, and feel comfortable in social situations. Dental Implants can give you that ability when a natural tooth has been lost. We would love to meet with you to discuss your needs and evaluate your situation.
Dental Implants Explained SimplyA dental implant is not the tooth itself, it’s the base. We take a biocompatible titanium post, which resembles a screw, and surgically implant it directly into your jawbone. This post will serve as a new root system for a tooth that is lost.
A safe biocompatible material for your bodyOnce this post is placed, your living tissue will begin to heal around it. This healing involves more than just healing, a process known as osseointegration occurs. This process is a fusing, your bone and tissue will grow around the implant, bonding it to your bone, making it part of it. This is because the implant is biocompatible, meaning that your body does not see it as a foreign object and instead grows around it, fusing it to the bone. Once this implanted post is fused, it is a solid firm foundation for a number of different dental prosthesis.
Choose the dental restoration that's right for youWith the implant solidly in place, we can then customize your dental appliance. You can have the post topped with a dental crown, for a single tooth restoration, or you can have it topped with a dental bridge or even a denture device. Depending on the health of your other teeth, we may recommend more than one post to be implanted. There is so much that we can accomplish with the placement of a tooth implant, we can restore your chewing, your bite, and your smile.
Why missing teeth need to be replacedWhat patients often do not understand is that missing teeth is actually a large problem. When you lose a tooth, whether due to injury or extraction, a number of problems occur, some immediate and some over time. This includes:
Bone Loss:The loss of bone is one of the largest problems after the loss of a tooth. Your teeth make hundreds of small contacts with each other every day. Though it may not seem like much, these small stresses constantly stimulate your jaw bone, prompting the bone to stay strong and rebuild continually. After losing a tooth, the stimulation stops, leading to the loss of alveolar bone. Studies show that there is a 25% decrease in width of bone during the first year. This loss continues over the next few years. This loss of bone is what we associate with having an older physical look.
Teeth Shifting:When a tooth is lost, it opens up room for your remaining teeth to shift. Though this may not sound detrimental, it can be quite problematic. Shifting teeth can affect how your jaw closes, and in some cases cause severe jaw pain. This can lead to a condition known as TMJ disorder, causing jaw pain, ear pain, and even migraines.
Function Loss:Patients with missing teeth adjust how they chew. Whether they are chewing on the other side, or avoiding certain foods, this adjustment can cause additional or uneven wear to other teeth, or just cause a patient to be constantly conscious of what they are eating.
Self-Conscious:Whether you no longer smile big, or you find that you are covering your teeth when you talk, patients who feel self-conscious about their smile make social adjustments that are unnecessary.
Preparation for Dental ImplantsPreparing the site is an important step in the long-term success of your dental implant. In most situations, this will require a bone graft procedure. When a patient loses a tooth, there is an immediate response of bone resorption, or atrophy. We will want to ensure that the patient has sufficient bone available for the implant.
The Dental Implant Procedure Explained
Patient Comfort:Your dental implant procedure begins with the appropriate anesthetic for your needs. We want to ensure your comfort during surgery.
Post Placement:Once you are ready, we then open the tissue at the surgical site. Using a specialized dental drill, we prepare the bone for implant placement. The implant is a titanium post that resembles a screw. The post is placed directly into the jawbone. With the post in place, we then suture the site closed.
Healing Process:Once the site is closed, there are two different routes we take depending on the individual patient. For some patients, we then send them home for a period of healing time. While they heal, a process known as osseointegration occurs. This is the process of bone and tissue fusing to the titanium post. This fusion is a natural response from the body that will make this post strong and firm. For other patients, depending on their situation, we may place their denture device or bridge immediately on the day of surgery. We will still want healing to occur, and the patient will be asked to refrain from eating a range of foods that may disrupt this healing process.
Final Restoration:Once your single or multiple implants posts are ready, we can then customize your dental crown, bridge, or denture for you. The end result will be a tooth that looks, feels, and functions as close to your natural teeth that you can get.
Caring for your new dental implantsKeeping your mouth clean is of the utmost importance. Brush your teeth the night of your surgery but be careful to avoid the surgery site. You can start saltwater rinses a full 24 hours after your implant surgery. Just swishing gently with warm salt water can go a long way in preventing bacterial buildup and keeping food matter from getting lodged where it should not be.
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