Dental implants are artificial tooth roots made of a metal screw-like device that replaces damaged or missing teeth. They are fixed into your jawbone through surgery and are a long-term solution for dental gaps.
Replacing a lost tooth can bring multiple health benefits, including the patient's self-esteem. Dental implants are medical devices that replace missing teeth and comprise the following structure.
- Dental implant body: This piece is surgically inserted into the jawbone and replaces the tooth's root.
- Dental implant abutment: It is connected to the implant body and extends from the gum line into the mouth, where the artificial tooth will be placed.
- Crown: This piece connects with the implant abutment and works as the artificial tooth.
Gum disease, cavities, or injuries can cause teeth gaps. Dental implant devices can fix speech impediments, jaw pain, and biting difficulties while focusing on the smile aesthetic.
In most cases, anyone who wants to close a teeth gap with good oral hygiene is a candidate for dental implants. Patients are expected to have a healthy bone structure and gums strong enough to hold down the inserted implant.
However, heavy smokers, people with bone-healing health conditions, diabetes, or heart diseases, need to be personally evaluated. Your dental implant process will depend on your needs, the state of your oral health, and Dr. Sunitsch's recommendation for your particular case.
Compared to other teeth replacement procedures, implants offer an ideal solution. Some of the benefits of this dental procedure include the following:
- Maintaining bone levels
- Returning the ability to chew and eat
- A stable and long-term solution for teeth replacement
- Returning to regular activities (laughing, smiling, and talking) with confidence
Dental implant surgery can take a few months to a year, depending on the complexity of your case. Dr. Sunitsch will review your specific case to offer an individualized treatment plan.
During your consultation, Dr. Sunitsch will ask questions about your medical conditions and any medications you take. Once he has reviewed your medical history, dental X-rays and 3D images will be taken.
After determining if you are suitable for dental implant surgery, a tailored treatment plan will be structured.
Dental implant surgery is developed in multiple stages that need healing time between each one. The process is as follows.
- Damaged tooth removal
- Jawbone preparation (grafting), when needed
- Dental implant placement
- Abutment teeth placement
- An artificial tooth or "crown" placement
Your doctor will apply anesthesia to control pain during surgery. It can be local, sedation, or general anesthesia. You may need bone grafting if your jaw isn't thick or strong enough to support the implant.
Sometimes, a minor bone grafting is done simultaneously with implant surgery. When healed, the metal implant that will replace your tooth root will be drilled into the bone.
Once it fuses with your jaw, the connector or "healing abutment" is attached to the implant.
When your gums have healed, Dr. Sunitsch will take new impressions of your mouth for making the crown (the artificial teeth) that will be placed after your jaw is strong enough to support it.
You can choose between removable or fixed crowns that will blend in with the rest of your natural teeth.
Mild discomfort is expected, as in any other surgical procedure. You may experience the following:
- Face and mouth swelling
- Local pain
- Minor bleeding
After surgery, you might feel some soreness in your mouth. You can manage the pain with over-the-counter painkillers like acetaminophen and Tylenol. Eating soft foods and cleaning your wound regularly while your gums heal is also recommended.
While it may take 3 to 6 months for your jawbone and gumline to heal completely, it just takes a couple of days for you to go back to your regular activities after surgery.
Dental implants are meant to be a long-term solution for missing teeth. You can expand the lifespan of your implants if you:
- Have an excellent oral hygiene
- Visit your dentist for constant check-ups
- Avoid chewing hard items
- Avoid grinding your teeth
- Avoid teeth-staining drinks or habits like coffee or tobacco
Like any surgical procedure, dental implant surgery poses some health risks. Complications are rare, and they can be easily treated if they do show up. These include:
- Injury to surrounding teeth or bones
- Implant failure
- Implant or abutment fracture
- Receding gums
- Swelling around the implant
At Pine Desert Dental, we offer dental implants to patients who need a permanent solution for missing or damaged teeth.
Dr. Zach Sunitsch and the Pine Desert Dental team can handle all your dental needs. He is an active member of the American Dental Association, the Oregon Dental Association, and the Academy of General Dentistry. We offer comprehensive dental services, including restorative dentistry.
If you need a dental implant or would like a personal case evaluation, call us at (541) 549-01-09 or request an appointment online. You can also visit us at our clinic in Sisters, Oregon.