Dental Implant FAQ
Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
|Dental implant placement can be a long procedure. However, in the end, dental implants are a fulfilling solution for lost or damaged teeth. Implants are a prosthesis placed deep in the bone or jaw. The implants interface with the jaw and are then covered with a dental crown, bridge, or dentures. The implants themselves are the roots that, once fitted, provide a support base for the replacement teeth. Our team at Total Smile Care first evaluates you to see if you qualify for implants.
A tooth implant is an artificial replacement tooth that once placed mimics the entirety of the tooth structure. It contains a firm, titanium, or zirconia root that is fastened into the jawbone and used to offer support for the crown, denture, or bridge. A dental crown looks, feels, and acts like a real tooth, and can ultimately last a lifetime if they are properly cared for.
The dental implant procedure will begin with a consultation and exam to see whether a dental implant is the best solution for you. Dental implants are necessary when you have severely damaged or missing teeth. They are also ideal when the patient does not want, or is unable to, wear dentures or bridges. You need to have enough jawbone to secure the implants.
After our dentists determine that the implant is what you need, the next stage is the preparation of the jawbone for the placement of the implant. If there is a damaged tooth, tooth extraction is performed at this point. If the jawbone is thin, then one might need bone grafting. After the area is left to heal, the implant is then placed in the jawbone.
At this stage, our dentist will usually allow you time for bone growth and healing around the implant. A temporary crown might be fitted while the healing process goes on. Finally, the artificial tooth is placed on top of the implant and cemented in place. This whole process of the dental implant procedure might actually end up taking several months and requires several appointments and visits to the dentist.
Who is Suitable for a Dental Implant?
The first step for many people when it comes to dental implants is to determine whether they are actual candidates for the implants. A physical exam conducted by our dentist will be able to determine whether you are a candidate for these restorations.
Dental implants are generally suitable for teeth that are decayed or destroyed and cannot really be salvaged. However, the general state and health of the mouth, especially the underlying jawbone, will also determine whether a dental implant will be suitable. It is also important to note that dental implants can be used to replace either a single tooth or multiple teeth.
How Long Do Dental Implants Last?
One of the biggest advantages that dental implants offer is the fact that they last a very long time. They are among the dental procedures with a very low failure rate. Dental implants can last a lifetime and will likely not need any form of replacement.
Dental implants last long because they are not susceptible to such common dental issues, including decay. However, dental hygiene and oral health are very important to the eventual outcome of the dental implant.
Once the implant has been placed into the jawbone and the area has healed, there has to be a conscious effort by the patient to take care not only of the affected tooth, or teeth, but also of the mouth in general. Furthermore, it is important to schedule regular checkups and cleanings.
The All-on-4® Treatment Concept is a trademarked treatment involving the replacement of the entire missing teeth within one or both jaws using only four implants in each jaw. The All-on-4 is beneficial to patients with minimal bone or who have lost much bone within the back areas of their mouth. These All-on-4 implants utilize a combination of prosthetics and implants to secure artificial teeth in place.
What are the Advantages of Dental Implants?
Apart from longevity, dental implants offer a wide range of advantages. First, they offer a base for the fitting of replacement teeth. The loss of teeth is an important health issue, one that not only has physical but also has important mental and aesthetic outcomes.
Secondly, losing teeth also results in further dental issues like crooked teeth and the loss of jawbone volume. When one loses teeth, the neighboring teeth might grow into the gap left behind, ending up with crooked or twisted teeth. Teeth also stimulate bone growth and when there are no teeth, the bone underneath ends up deteriorating. Dental implants prevent this from happening. In doing so, dental implants can prevent further issues like facial sagging or the appearance of a sunken-in face.
Without teeth, the lower section of the jaw starts sagging and collapsing, gradually closing the distance from the nose tip to the chin. These changes can easily result in excess wrinkles around the mouth area, thinning of lips, and a more pointed chin. This, then, makes the person look older than their age.
Thirdly, dental implants behave like natural teeth. One of the biggest advantages of an implant is that it restores the full and natural chewing power. Furthermore, for most people, there is little difference between natural teeth and implanted teeth. Patients can eat with these teeth comfortably and normally, and they look and feel just like natural teeth.
Can a Dentist Make Dentures into Implants?
Unfortunately, dentures, in most cases, cannot be turned into implants. Dental implants typically comprise metal posts screwed into the jawbone to anchor and provide support for artificial teeth. You can have implants fitted underneath existing dentures to help provide stability and support for the dentures. However, this may only be done if your existing dentures are otherwise in good condition. It is crucial you talk to our dentist to get the existing dentures thoroughly examined.
If you have lost a tooth, reach out to our dentist at Total Smile Care for a consultation to determine what kind of implants might be useful for your case. Call us at (310) 894-8301 today.