Did you know that the majority of American adults over age 35 are missing, at least, one natural tooth? What’s more is that 1 in 4 seniors age 74 and older are missing all of their permanent teeth. Although dentures and bridges are a prosthetic option, they do not provide the same benefits available with dental implants. Implant dentistry prevents others from recognizing teeth as ‘false,’ and it also prevents the jawbone from disintegrating and any remaining natural teeth from shifting.
Dental implants are devices inserted into your jaw bones to provide structural support for artificial teeth like crowns or bridges. Implants can improve your ability to chew, your cosmetic appearance, and your jaw bone health.
You may be a candidate for dental implants if you are missing one or more teeth. You will need a complete surgical consultation with X-rays to determine whether you are in good health and have adequate bone structure to support dental implants. We will also ensure that you do not have any existing health conditions such as gum disease that could complicate the procedure. In some cases where the bone is not dense enough to support an implant, surgical bone grafting may make it possible to support one in the future.
If your oral surgeon determines that dental implants are right for you, expect the procedure to require multiple visits over the course of several months. The first treatment visit is the one when implants will be surgically placed within your jawbone. You’ll be sedated and under anesthesia during the process to ensure your comfort. Once the implants are in place, an impression will be taken and used to form crowns or dentures that will be secured to implant abutments above the gum line.
The implants will need to heal for a period of 6 to 9 months before you can have your final crowns or dentures placed. During this time, it is common to experience some swelling and soreness, as well as bleeding and minor bruising near the surgical site. Your oral surgeon will recommend eating only soft foods during the first several days following implant surgery. It is also important to follow all instructions for post-surgical care, including cleaning the surgical site and using any medications as prescribed. Be sure to contact your surgeon if you experience any fever or discomfort that worsens after a few days.