Unlike dental bridges and dentures, dental implants are long-lasting tooth replacements that can last decades.
Mimicking the look and composition of natural teeth, dental implants consist of a root and a crown, just like your real teeth. The root of the dental implant is a durable screw the periodontist surgically places directly into your jawbone. The crown is made from durable porcelain or zirconia.
In a short time, your body accepts the embedded screw as its own and starts to grow new bone around the titanium. It forms the perfect foundation for the new, custom-made dental crown that closely resembles the look, stability, and feel of a natural tooth.
Time is allowed for bone to heal and grow around the dental implant. The bone bonds with the titanium, creating a strong foundation for artificial teeth. A support post (abutment) is then placed on the implant and a new replacement tooth (crown) is placed on top of the abutment. In many cases, a temporary replacement tooth can be attached to the implant immediately after it is placed. If all of your teeth are missing, a variety of treatment options are available to support the replacement teeth.
There are two main types of dental implants – Endosteal implants and Subperiosteal implants.
Endosteal dental implants are the most common type of dental implant made from titanium. Shaped like small screws, endosteal implants screw into the jawbone and protrude through the gum to provide a foundation for the crown.
For patients that do not have enough healthy jawbone to support an endosteal implant, the periodontist uses a subperiosteal implant instead. The periodontist places the subperiosteal dental implants on or above the jawbone rather than inside it. Another option for patients without sufficient jawbone is to use synthetic material or take a bone graft from another area of the body. This bone, or synthetic bone material, can provide additional support.
If Dr. Markle or Dr. Herman determined that you need dental implants during your initial consultation the procedure may go something like this.
Most patients who undergo a dental implant procedure find that they do not need time off work to recover and can get back to their normal daily routine very quickly. Expect some bruising, swelling, and tenderness. However, this is easily managed with pain medication and subsides on its own in a short time.
To keep the implant site clean, we recommend rinsing with saline solution several times a day. We also suggest avoiding mouthwash or anything containing hydrogen peroxide as these can irritate your healing gums.
To give your implants the best chance of healing, your periodontist may recommend a soft or liquid diet for the initial few weeks. Once the implants have bonded with your jawbone and your crowns have been fitted, you can begin eating and drinking as normal.
Because they are made from extremely durable materials, if taken care of properly, your dental implants can last 25 years or longer. To ensure the longevity of your implants, you should avoid bad dental habits like chewing ice. You should try to keep them free from staining by reducing your consumption of alcohol and tobacco. In the event that your crowns do become stained, they can be replaced.
Like most procedures, dental implants sadly aren’t suitable for everyone. The main reason why a person may be unable to get a dental implant is that they have a condition or are on a medication that may prevent osseointegration – the process where the implant fuses with the jaw bone.
Autoimmune diseases like diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis and some medications prescribed for depression and heartburn can reduce or stop bone growth and prevent osseointegration. If the implant does not fuse with the jawbone, then it has failed and will need to be removed. If for whatever reason, you are unable to proceed with a dental implant procedure, then there are a number of other dental procedures that Dr. Markle or Dr. Herman can discuss with you, including dental bridges and dentures.