A dental implant is actually a replacement for the root or roots of a tooth. Like tooth roots, dental implants are secured in the jawbone and are not visible once surgically placed. They are used to secure crowns (the parts of teeth seen in the mouth), bridgework or dentures by a variety of means. They are made of titanium, which is lightweight, strong and biocompatible, which means that it is not rejected by the body. Dental implants have the highest success rate of any implanted surgical device.
Following your consultation, you will be provided with a personalised treatment plan, taking into account each stage of treatment and associated timescale, along with a complete schedule of costs. Laguna Hills dental implant specialist offers the latest technology and equipment in order to address all dental implant cases, from the simplest to the most complex.
Why do patients require implants?
There are a variety of reasons as to why tooth replacement may be required, including:
- Trauma resulting from an accident.
- Failed root canals.
- Tooth decay.
- Dental defects resulting from a genetic condition.
- Complications arising from gum disease.
- Tooth loss and associated misalignment.
- Excessive wear and tear.
- Since implants fuse to your jawbone, they provide stable support for artificial teeth. Dentures and bridges mounted to implants won’t slip or shift in your mouth — an especially important benefit when eating and speaking. When bridges are not mounted to an implant, some of the bone that previously surrounded the tooth begins to deteriorate.
- The secure fit helps the dentures and bridges — as well as individual crowns placed over implants — feel more natural than conventional bridges or dentures.
- For some people, ordinary bridges and dentures are simply not comfortable or even possible, due to sore spots, poor ridges or gagging. Dental implants are still an option for such patients. A question may arise as to after implant, how long should one wait before you can place braces. In this case, orthodontics has to be consulted. Once the implant is placed, it may generally take several months of healing depending on your health conditions. Healing in the bone is essential before placing caps or crowns, bridges, or dentures which are used to support. Your dentist and the surgical specialist will develop a plan designed to produce the best possible outcome in a reasonable period. Dental implants may take up to six months before the bones grow around and get attached to this anchor. The fitting process may require several months before a proper fit is finalized.
- Ordinary bridges must be attached to teeth on either side of the space left by the missing tooth. This requires that adjacent teeth be grounded down to support the cemented bridge. Dental implants do not need this support. It can replace teeth without sacrificing the health of neighboring teeth.
- In the long term, a single implant can be more aesthetic and easier to keep clean than a bridge. Gums can recede around a bridge, leaving a visible defect when the metal base or collar of the bridge becomes exposed. Resorbed bone beneath the bridge can lead to an unattractive smile. And, the cement holding the bridge in place can wash out, allowing bacteria to decay the teeth that anchor the bridge.
- Dental implants are made of titanium, which is lightweight, strong and biocompatible, which means that it is not rejected by the body. Titanium’s special property of fusing to bone, called osseointegration, is the biological basis of dental implant success.
- Along with replacing lost teeth, implants help maintain the jawbone’s shape and density. This means they also support the facial skeleton and, indirectly, the soft tissue structures — gum tissues, cheeks and lips.
- Because they become part of you, implants eliminate the discomfort of removable dentures.
Am I a candidate for dental implants?
Generally speaking, if you have lost teeth you are a candidate for dental implants. It is important that you are in good health, however, as there are some conditions and diseases that can affect whether dental implants are right for you.
- Uncontrolled diabetes, cancer, radiation to the jaws, smoking or uncontrolled periodontal (gum) disease may affect whether dental implants will fuse to your bone. It is important to let your dental surgeon know all about your medical status (past and present) together with all medications you are taking, whether prescribed, alternative (herbal) or over-the-counter.
- You gum should be in healthy condition.
- There should be adequate bone to support the implant. If there is not enough bone to support the implant, bone graftingprocedure will be first done before to create a more solid base for your dental implant.
How and why is bone lost when teeth are lost?
Bone needs stimulation to maintain its form and density. In the case of alveolar (sac-like) bone that surrounds and supports teeth, the necessary stimulation comes from the teeth themselves. When a tooth is lost, the lack of stimulation causes loss of alveolar bone. There is a 25% decrease in width of bone during the first year after tooth loss and an overall decrease in height over the next few years.
The more teeth lost, the more function lost. This leads to some particularly serious aesthetic and functional problems, particularly in people who have lost all of their teeth. And it doesn’t stop there. After alveolar bone is lost, the bone beneath it, basal bone — the jawbone proper — also begins to resorb (melt away).
How can bone be preserved or re-grown to support dental implants?
Grafting bone into the extraction sockets at the time of tooth loss or removal can help preserve bone volume needed for implant placement. Surgical techniques are also available to regenerate (re-grow) bone that has been lost, to provide the necessary bone substance for anchoring implants. In fact, a primary reason to consider dental implants to replace missing teeth is the maintenance of jawbone.
Bone needs stimulation to stay healthy. Because dental implants fuse to the bone, they stabilize it and prevent further bone loss. Resorption is a normal and inevitable process in which bone is lost when it is no longer supporting or connected to teeth. Only dental implants can stop this process and preserve the bone.
How are dental implants placed and who places them?
It takes a dental team to assess and plan dental implant placement and restoration — the fabrication of the crowns, bridgework or dentures that attach atop the implants and are visible in your mouth. The dental team consists of a dental surgical specialist — a periodontist, oral surgeon, or a general dentist with advanced training in implant surgery; a restorative dentist, who plans and places the tooth restorations; and a dental laboratory technician who fabricates them.
Placing dental implants requires a surgical procedure in which precision channels are created in the jawbone, often using a surgical guide. The implants are then fitted into the sites so that they are in intimate contact with the bone. They generally require two to six months to fuse to the bone before they can have tooth restorations attached to them to complete the process.
Dental Implant Procedure: A Step by Step Guide
A dental implant is a permanent tooth restoration that could last for your entire life. Unlike dentures, which could slide around in your mouth, dental implants are placed directly in your jaw. This allows an implant to look and function much like the natural tooth it replaces. If you’re considering dental implants, here is some more information on what you can expect from the entire process.
Laguna Hills dental implant specialist will evaluate your mouth to see if you’re a good candidate for a dental implant. Not all patients are strong candidates for dental implants. You need a certain degree of healthy bone material to place a dental implant. If you don’t have enough bone material, your dentist could recommend a smaller mini dental implant or bone grafting to improve the jawbone at the procedure site.
If you have many missing teeth, a traditional dental implant may not be the only option you have. In addition to implants restorations there are many other procedures that your dentist may recommend, including implant-supported dentures.
To improve the amount of healthy bone at the implant site, your dentist may recommend a bone graft. In most cases a graft is placed at the time the tooth that is to be replaced has been extracted, this is done to preserve the site for the coming implant. At times, this is required after a tooth has been missing for an extended period of time and some bone loss has occurred. There are different types of bone graft materials that can be placed and this will be discussed with you prior to your procedure. After placement, the bone graft will need time to heal before the implant is placed.
Dental Implant and Temporary Crown
Next, your dentist will place the dental implant and possibly a temporary crown. The procedure takes around an hour or so to complete for a single implant. Over the counter pain relievers are usually enough to manage any discomfort that you may experience during the first few days after the procedure.
Waiting and Healing
Before permanent crowns can be placed, your mouth needs time to heal. For many patients, this period lasts for several months. However, it is possible that it could take six months or longer for your jaw to heal enough to finish the dental implant procedure. Laguna Hills dental implant specialist will assess your progress to make a determination about when to schedule the final appointment.
Abutment and Crown
During the last appointment, your dentist will remove your temporary crown, attach an abutment to the dental implant, and place a permanent crown. When this is completed, you’re finished with the procedure. Your dentist might give you additional instructions on how to best care for your new dental implant.
What are the options for implant tooth replacement in Laguna Hills?
Single Tooth Replacement
Immediately (at the same time an implant is placed) or after a period of healing, an abutment is attached to the implant. This is a device that “abuts” or joins the implant to a tooth form called a crown, which replaces the tooth part you see in the mouth. It will hold a custom-made crown that the dental laboratory will fabricate and match to your existing teeth. The custom crown is cemented or screwed onto the abutment to permanently keep it in place. Once the crown is in place, it should be indistinguishable from your natural teeth.
Fixed Multiple Tooth Replacement
As with single tooth replacement, temporary healing caps or abutments may be placed on multiple implants until the healing phase is complete. After healing, permanent abutments are attached to the implants. They can attach to custom-made crowns or bridgework that a dental laboratory will fabricate to match your existing teeth. In the final step, the custom bridge, which will replace multiple teeth, is cemented or screwed onto the abutments. The teeth have been replaced without disturbing the healthy teeth next to them, and bone loss has been halted.
Removable Implant-Supported Tooth Replacement
If all of your lower teeth are missing, depending on the design of the removable restoration, two to six implants may be used to support a lower denture. If all of your upper teeth are missing, a minimum of four implants may be used to support an upper denture. Removable dentures are often used to replace extensive tooth, bone and gum-tissue loss, thus providing support for the facial skeleton, lip and cheeks. A new denture can have attachments that snap or clip it into place on the implants or a custom made, milled bar can be fabricated to create additional strength and support for the restoration. Design variations are often related to your bone density and number of implants present; Laguna Hills dental implant specialist will discuss these options during your consultation. A significant advantage of a removable denture is facilitating the cleaning of the dental implants.
How do implant tooth replacements differ from teeth?
Natural teeth and dental implants may look the same, feel the same, and even function in a similar way, but they are very different. The most important differences are in the way they attach to the surrounding bone, their response to dental disease, their maintenance, and repair.
Teeth attach to the surrounding bone by a periodontal ligament (“peri” – around; “dont” – tooth) made up of collagen fibers that join into the tooth on one side and bone on the other. Dental implants fuse directly to the bone.
The gum tissues also attach to the root of a tooth with collagen fibers as described above. However, gum tissues can only stick to the surface of dental implants.
Teeth are susceptible to dental decay as well as the need for root canal therapy; dental implants are metal and do not decay or need root canal. Teeth may also be susceptible to periodontal (gum) disease, while dental implants may be susceptible to peri-implantitis, an inflammatory response to bacterial biofilm of the tissues surrounding the implant, which can result in disintegration of the bone to the implant.
What type of maintenance do dental implants require?
Implant crowns and other prosthetic (false) tooth replacements are made to be remarkably failsafe systems. They are removable and replaceable (only by your dentist), so that if damage or wear necessitates replacement, this can be accomplished without affecting the implant(s) or attachment to the bone.
Nevertheless, implants do require maintenance. It is important to practice good daily oral hygiene, including brushing and flossing to control bacterial biofilm. It is also important to see your dentist and dental hygienist. Special instruments are necessary to clean dental implants that will not damage their metal surface beneath the gum tissues. Laguna Hills dental implant specialist will need to monitor your implants to make sure the integrity of the osseointegration is stable, and that the implant crowns, bridgework or dentures are functioning adequately.
How long will a dental implant last?
If proper care is taken dental implants like our natural teeth can last a lifetime. It is highly recommended that regular visits to the dentist are made to get routine examinations and cleaning done. This gives life-long longevity to dental implants.
Cost of dental implants in Laguna Hills
Dental implants are the closest you can get to healthy, natural teeth. Modern dental implants have been used successfully for over 30 years. They are the strongest devices available to support replacement teeth. They allow you to live the way you want to – confidently eating, smiling, laughing, talking and enjoying all of your everyday activities without worrying about your teeth.
Implants are usually more expensive than other methods of tooth replacement. You can visit Laguna Hills dental implant specialist to discuss about your financial options. However, over the longer term, implants are usually a more cost-effective and satisfactory option.