Tooth loss impacts your entire life. From smiling to speaking, missing even a single tooth can make your life more challenging. Luckily, dental implants (also called tooth implants) can replace missing teeth and restore your oral function for a lifetime. But, if you’ve never heard of dental implants, then you might be wondering what they are and what the process is like.
The team at Lakewood Dental Group is here to help. Using contemporary technology and top-quality materials, Drs. Mihir Patel and Shaun Sigurdson provide dental implants for patients living in Dallas, TX, and the surrounding areas. If you’re ready to talk to our caring team, then schedule your consultation now by calling (214) 827-1885 or by requesting it online here.
Meanwhile, let our trusted team tell you everything you need to know about tooth implants. Using this information will help you know what to expect so that you can better navigate the dental implant procedure.
What are dental implants?
Dental implants are tiny (yet sturdy!) metal posts that our team surgically places directly into the jawbone. These posts take the place of the missing tooth’s root and act as an anchor upon which an abutment and lifelike restoration sit.
Restorations can replace one missing tooth (like with a dental crown) or several missing teeth (like with an implant-supported bridge or dentures). Regardless of the restoration, patients can feel confident that their dental implants will keep the device securely in place.
As a result, dental implants allow patients to permanently restore their speaking, chewing, and smiling abilities. Not only that, but tooth implants dramatically boost patients’ self-esteem and enhance their overall appearances, too.
Due to their longevity and stability, tooth implants are a popular restorative option among patients. In fact, data suggest that dental professionals place approximately three million dental implants every year. And, with a nearly 98% success rate, it’s no wonder why dental implants have earned their place as the superior tooth-replacement solution.
Who qualifies for tooth implants?
Ideal candidates for tooth implants are patients with healthy teeth and gums. But, that’s not all. Patients should also have sufficient jawbone volume. Otherwise, the implants cannot penetrate deep enough into the bone tissue, which can lead to an unstable foundation or failed procedure.
So, aside from being free from cavities and gum disease, patients should have healthy, strong jawbones, too. But, if they don’t have adequate jawbone tissue, then it’s not necessarily a deal breaker. A preparatory procedure–known as bone grafting–reverses bone loss, which can help patients get implant-ready.
Bone grafting is a procedure in which our team uses donor tissue to reinforce areas of weakness in the jawbone. Generally, the tissue comes from the patient’s own body, a cadaver, or an animal (like a pig or cow). Dental bone grafting has a high survival rate of over 90%, making this procedure a safe and effective way to qualify for tooth implants.
What can I expect from the dental implant process?
First, a comprehensive consultation with our Dallas dentists will help us determine if dental implants are right for you. If our team believes that you may need a bone graft before qualifying for dental implants, then we will recommend that procedure before continuing. Patients must fully heal from their bone grafting procedure before our team can place their dental implants.
If a patient is an ideal candidate for tooth implants, then our team will begin the process by carefully mapping out their mouth. We take x-rays and use 3-D imaging technology to gather topographical information about the underlying bone tissue. Then, we use this information to intricately plan each step of the implant procedure.
Using a fully-guided computer system, our team can calculate precisely where to place tooth implants for ultimate comfort, stability, and success. As a result, patients spend less time in oral surgery, encounter fewer complications while healing, and get their tooth-like restorations faster.
Patients must fully heal from implant surgery before our team can place their restoration. Typically, patients are ready for their restorations within six months of their surgery. However, a thorough dental exam with our trusted Lakewood dentists will confirm that the patient is ready to complete their smile.
How do I care for my dental implants?
Caring for dental implants is just like caring for natural teeth. So, patients should continue their regular oral hygiene practices, such as:
- Twice-daily brushing
- Once-daily flossing
- Rinsing with an alcohol-free mouthwash
However, there are other things that patients can do to ensure the health and lifespan of their tooth implants, such as:
- Using a soft-bristled toothbrush only
- Using non-abrasive toothpastes (avoid whitening toothpastes!)
- Limiting sugary and acidic foods and drinks
- Drinking plenty of water
- Visiting our Dallas dentists at least every six months for regular checkups and cleanings
How long will my tooth implants last?
Dental professionals intend for tooth implants to last a lifetime, and they typically do. This is because the jawbone grows around the dental implant as it heals. In doing so, the dental implant becomes one with the bone tissue, making it a permanent installation in the mouth.
However, the restoration that sits on top of the dental implant is subject to damage over time. So, if a restoration cracks, breaks, or falls off, then patients must replace them. But, restorations are fairly strong, as they are crafted with high-grade dental ceramic. Therefore, most patients can go 15 to 20 years before replacing their implant-supported restorations.
Ultimately, proper care is key to the survival and success of both the implant and restoration. So, we recommend regular dental visits, good daily oral hygiene, and avoiding damaging behavior (like nail-biting or ice-chewing) to protect your smile investment.
Schedule Your Dental Implant Consultation Today
Dental implants are the most reliable tooth-replacement option on the market today. If you’re ready to see if you qualify for tooth implants, then contact the friendly team at Lakewood Dental Group today. We can help you get the strong and healthy smile that you deserve.
To schedule your consultation, simply give our Dallas dental office a call at (214) 827-1885 or send our team a message online here.