Understanding Dental Implants from Our Oral Surgeons
Dental implants can restore your smile if you’ve lost or damaged teeth over the years or due to an accident or Trauma. Permanent dental implants are now a preferred method for replacing missing teeth with a natural-looking, long-lasting solution. Anchored in the jawbone, dental implants function like your normal teeth and offer many benefits over traditional bridges and dentures. The surgical team at Northern Texas Facial & Oral Surgery wants to ensure you receive a replacement tooth that will look, feel, and function like your natural teeth, so call today for an exam.
What are dental implants?
Dental implants are a durable, permanent solution to tooth decay, replacing missing teeth or weakened bone structure with metal fittings and natural-looking tooth replacements blended to your remaining teeth.
Modern implants are usually made of a synthetic and sterile material like metal or ceramic. An implant structure typically consists of an implant and a tooth-shaped custom dental crown. The implant is the anchor made from a metal (usually titanium) screw that occupies the space where the root of the tooth used to be. Our surgeons secure it directly to the jawbone through a small incision. Once the incision in your gum has healed, we will create a custom dental crown, or false tooth, from a porcelain or acrylic composite that’s colored and shaped to blend in with your surrounding teeth.
All on 4 dental implants
If you’re missing one tooth, we can replace it with one corresponding implant. However, if you’re missing several teeth, the surgeons at Northern Texas Facial & Oral Surgery don’t have to anchor one implant per missing tooth. The All on 4 procedure allows us to anchor four implants to the jawbone that act as a foundation for up to a full upper or lower jaw of crowns, making the process of getting permanent restorative dental work much faster and less invasive.
Why choose a dental implant over dentures?
Before the development of dental implants, dentures were the only alternative to replacing a missing tooth or teeth. Now, permanent implants don’t require removal or cleaning beyond normal flossing and brushing, and there are no limits to your ability to eat, speak, and smile normally. Dental implants, unlike dentures, are a restorative solution that can curb bone loss and even encourage new bone growth. You’ll be able to keep your healthy existing teeth and give them support from the crowns to keep them in place, and the results are more cosmetically appealing thanks to customized fabrication techniques to match the rest of your teeth in size, shape, and color.
Candidates for dental implants
If you’ve lost teeth in an accident or due to illness or disease, implants can replace a single tooth or multiple teeth in a row or scattered across your upper and lower jaws. Sometimes, patients with chipped, cracked, or discolored teeth opt to remove the tooth and replace it with a stronger implant, knowing the result will be custom-made to blend in naturally.
A good candidate for dental implants must have a minimum level of bone density and a strong immune system. Your initial consultation visit at Northern Texas Facial & Oral Surgery will include dedicated time to examine whether your mouth and jaw can support a dental implant or if we can offer a different treatment option better suited to your needs.
The process of receiving a dental implant
To anchor the metal implant with a titanium screw to your jawbone, our surgeons use anesthesia and antibiotics to make a small incision in your gum at the site of the missing tooth or teeth. The implant replaces the missing tooth root and creates a stable base for the rest of the dental restoration.
A few weeks of healing is required to allow the bone tissue to fuse to the implant and create a foundation for a crown or prosthetic device. While you heal, we use a mold of your teeth and gums to create a custom dental crown or series of crowns to match your remaining teeth. These crowns will fit snugly on top of the screw or as part of a bridge (in the All on 4 method), and each one is customized to fit your smile comfortably and aesthetically.
Caring for new dental implants
Like any oral surgery or other dental procedure, it’s important to keep the area clean and practice good oral hygiene to prevent infection, speed up healing, and ensure the implants last for years to come. Brush two to three times per day and floss once each day to enjoy a healthy and happy smile!