When a patient is missing teeth on the upper or lower arch of the mouth, their smile can be negatively affected in several ways. In terms of function, chewing can be difficult, and the jaw may start to feel sore if the bite pressure isn’t evenly distributed. Without the support of a tooth root, the jawbone will slowly lose bone mass and become weaker over time. This can result in additional tooth loss as well as changes to the face’s appearance. The cheeks may start to look sunken in due to the loss of bone volume, and wrinkles can start to develop in areas where the skin has sagged downward. A patient may also experience self-consciousness about the appearance of their smile and feel too embarrassed to smile in public. In all of these situations, implants can greatly improve the patient’s quality of life by restoring the functions of their smile with artificial teeth that look and function like real ones!
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are artificial tooth root that is placed in your jawbone and used to support a crown, bridge, or denture. Unlike dentures, which are removable, an implant is permanently anchored into the jaw. This means that you can enjoy all your favorite foods without having to worry about your teeth slipping out of place or falling out at an inopportune moment. For patients who are looking for a more permanent option, implants are the way to go!
Dental implants are an ideal solution for replacing missing teeth because they help to preserve bone structure by preventing bone loss in the jaw. They also restore function to your teeth so you can eat and speak normally again. They look very natural, so no one will be able to tell that you have artificial teeth. They can last for decades if properly cared for.
What Is the Process of Dental Implants?
The implant has three steps in its process:
Inserting the base: An implant is surgically embedded into the jawbone. During a process called osseointegration, the implant fuses into the jawbone. In the first couple of days, there might be slight tenderness and swelling. So, it is better to prefer a soft food diet such as cold foods and warm soup while healing.
Attaching the post: Once the implant fuses into the jawbone, an abutment or post will be attached to it. Enough time is given for the gums to heal around the post. A second surgical procedure connects the replacement teeth to the post. The implant and post serve as a foundation for the new tooth.
Placing the crown: A customized crown will be attached to the crown. Due to its shape, size, and color, it blends easily with natural teeth. The crown gets permanently attached to the implant post.
What Are the Advantages of Implants?
The benefits of dental implants are many. Implants are a permanent tooth replacement option, meaning you will never have to replace them again once they are placed in your mouth. Traditional crowns and bridges only last between five to seven years before they need to be replaced, while dental implants can last a lifetime. Additionally, they are easier to clean than traditional dentures or partials, so you won’t have to worry about removing them to clean them each day. As your implant dentist in Santa Clara will tell you, dental implants also improve your oral health by preserving and stimulating healthy bone in the jaw. The gum tissue will also stay healthy around the implant – not receding as it does with removable dentures. People with missing teeth can also experience improved speech after getting dental implants. Lastly, they look more natural than any other final restoration for a missing tooth.
What Happens After Getting Dental Implants?
After having your dental implants placed, our dentist will give you specific instructions for aftercare at home. The main part of your recovery will be to allow the implants to heal and integrate with the jawbone. This process can take several weeks, and during this time, you will be sent home with a set of instructions to follow. The dentist will give you a timeline for your expected recovery period based on your individual needs. The healing time can vary based on your oral hygiene and health history. Some patients who smoke or chew tobacco may not heal as quickly as a patient who doesn’t engage in these habits.
Most patients find that their gums are a little tender after the procedure. You will need to eat soft foods and avoid chewing directly on the implant site in order to allow the area to heal properly. While you are healing, you will need to use special mouthwash that is designed to kill bacteria and clean your mouth without causing irritation to your healing gums. You will also need to use warm salt water rinses to clean the area around the implants. These rinses will flush out any food particles that may get stuck in between your teeth and gums. You should continue to brush and floss your teeth as you normally would. Continue to schedule regular dental checkups and cleanings with your dentist to ensure that your teeth are healthy and your implants are properly in place.
Call us at (408) 988-7788 or schedule an online appointment with Dr. Lee for a consultation at our office in Santa Clara, CA.