Certain conditions may cause extensive damage to the teeth. Often in these cases, certain teeth may not be able to be saved. In these situations, periodontists recommend the placement of dental implants. At Specialty Dental Care, we have years of dental implant experience here in Omaha, and are happy to highlight the basics of these procedures.
What are dental implants?
When teeth require removal due to a variety of conditions, they are replaced using dental implants. Essentially, a dental implant is a titanium post that is surgically inserted into or applied to the jaw. The dental implants provide a solid, sturdy foundation on which crowns can be attached.
Who needs dental implants?
Those who have poorly-fitting partials, dentures, or missing teeth are good candidates for dental implants, so long as their jawbone and gum tissues are relatively healthy. If the jawbone is not dense enough, the surgery can risk failure. In these cases, periodontists may recommend bone grafting in order to strengthen the implants’ foundations. Dental implant placement also helps maintain bone level and helps to distribute pressure from chewing thereby extending the lifespan of existing teeth.
What types of implants are available?
There are two main types of dental implants that are typically used by periodontists: endosteal and mini. With both types, the periodontist will be working under the gum tissue, directly with the jawbone.
Endosteal: This type of dental implant consists of a metal post or screw that is directly implanted into the jawbone. Eventually, after a period of healing, an extension is added to the original post so that replacement teeth may be attached.
Mini: This is a smaller version of the dental implant, and is generally used to help retain existing or planned prosthetics like partials and dentures. These are a smaller and less expensive alternative to standard implants, but are typically only an option for prosthesis retention rather than single tooth replacement.
What to Expect
First, any irreparably damaged teeth will need to be removed in order to proceed with implant dentistry. Your periodontist can perform these extractions in order to reduce the damage that may occur to the socket/bone during the extraction process.
Your jawbone will then be prepared, which may require bone grafting if the bone is not dense enough to support the dental implants. In bone grafting, a piece of bone from another location in the mouth (or artificial or cadaveric bone) is transplanted to your jawbone. The bone will need time (at least 60 days) to grow strong enough to support implants.
When the time comes to place the dental implant, your periodontist will make a small incision into the gums in order to expose the jawbone and implant the necessary pieces of hardware. After this process is complete, you will wait the appropriate amount of time needed for osseointegration (when the bone grows around the implant) before the extension and replacement crown(s) are put in place. This process can take up to a few months in certain patients.
As with any surgery,, swelling, bruising, and minor bleeding are common. Your periodontist here at Specialty Dental Care will give you instructions regarding care and pain management so that your healing process will go as smoothly as possible.
Throughout the process, you will need to strictly follow instructions given to you regarding food consumption and oral home care instructions, particularly while the surgical sites heal.
A Safe, Life-Changing Option
Dental implants can have monumental impacts on your quality of life. Here at Specialty Dental Care, we are grateful for the opportunity to provide this life-changing service to patients in the Omaha, NE area.
Here is our FAQ on Dental Implants
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