Dental implants are quickly becoming the preferred method for replacing missing teeth and restoring their function. The implants support a dental prosthesis and together they fill the gap left behind by a missing tooth or teeth. The implant fuses to the jawbone, stimulating the jawbone and preventing bone reabsorption while also creating a strong base for the dental prosthesis. Depending on how many teeth need to be replaced, traditional dental crowns, bridges, and even dentures can be mounted onto the dental implant to restore both look and functionality.
Did You Know?
There are two main types of dental implants including:
- Endosteal Implants: These are the most commonly used type of dental implants and are composed of titanium screws fastened into the jawbone.
- Subperiosteal Implants: Not as commonly used, this type of implant sits below the gum line, but above the jawbone.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What are dental implants made of?
Dental implants are made of three connected parts: the implant, abutment, and dental prosthesis. The implant is the part that is embedded into the jawbone and is made of a titanium screw. The abutment, also made from titanium, serves as the connector piece between the implant and the dental prosthesis. The dental prosthesis is the visible part of the dental implant and is either a dental crown, bridge, or denture made of ceramic, porcelain, or zirconia.
How long do dental implants last?
Dental implants provide one of the most permanent restoration solutions for missing teeth. Most dental implants can last for around 10 years, however some are able to last longer than that. The longevity of your dental implants will depend on a number of factors including the type of implant, the dental prosthesis attached, your treatment plan, and your oral health.
To extend the longevity of your dental implants, you will want to properly maintain them. Part of this is simply keeping up with your dental routine of brushing twice daily, flossing once daily, and visiting Dream Dental at least once every six months for your dental checkup and professional teeth cleaning. Another part of properly maintaining your dental implants deals with avoiding potentially damaging habits such as smoking, teeth grinding, or chewing hard candies.
Will dental implants work for me?
Dental implants may work for you if you have missing teeth that you want to replace. Endosteal implants will also require that you have adequate bone mass to properly support them. To find out for sure if dental implants will work for you, schedule a consultation with Dr. Paul H. Kim today!
Will dental implants work for me if I don’t have adequate bone mass?
If you don’t have adequate bone mass, you will need to discuss your options with Dr. Paul H. Kim. One possible option he may offer you is a bone graft. Bone grafts are performed to increase the amount of bone tissue in a specific area by placing a synthetic material or bone tissue from your own body. Once placed, the new tissue will essentially grow new bone in that area, increasing the bone mass so that dental implants can be properly supported.
One common type of bone graft performed in coordination with dental implants is a sinus lift. A sinus lift is a bone grafting procedure that supplements bone in the upper jaw, just below the maxillary sinus. Sinus lifts are required in cases where the upper jaw is lacking in bone to both ensure the stability of the dental implant and to prevent damage to the maxillary sinus.
How are dental implants placed?
Dental implants are placed by first making an incision in your gums to reach your jaw bone. Once your jaw bone is visible, Dr. Kim will use a series of specialized dental drills to carve out a space for the dental implant. The final drill will create a texture in the space for the dental implant to grip. Then, the implant will be placed in the space and secured accordingly. Depending on your treatment plan, the abutment may be attached at this time. After the implant has been placed, your gums will be stitched up and you will be able to return home to rest.
How long will recovery from dental implants take?
After your dental implants have been placed, they will need to undergo a process called osseointegration. During this process your jawbone will form new tissue that fuses the implant into the bone, effectively securing it in place much like a natural tooth root. Osseointegration is an essential process for the proper functioning of your dental implants and will take approximately 3-6 months.
While your implants are fusing to your bone, you will need to take special care not to exert too much pressure on them or move them too much. Because of this, you will need to eat soft foods until your implants are fused into place. Foods such as eggs, pasta, steamed veggies, fish, applesauce, soups, yogurt, tofu, and oatmeal are recommended because they are both soft and nutritious.
In the days directly following dental implant placement, you may experience some swelling and discomfort. However, this will quickly fade and can usually be easily alleviated with over the counter pain medication. You will also want to keep your mouth clean to avoid infection and will be provided with special instructions from our office.
Dream Dental is committed to providing an exceptional dental experience to patients in Torrance, Palos Verdes, Gardena, and the surrounding South Bay areas. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Paul H. Kim today!