While tooth loss is something people usually associate with kids or the very, very old, it can happen at any age. Maybe gum disease has destroyed so much bone that some teeth no longer have the support they need. Maybe they got knocked out in an accident. Maybe a root canal tooth is so infected that it must be taken out.
Regardless, those lost teeth need to be replaced. Appearance is just a part of it. Where there are gaps, adjacent teeth can drift, throwing the bite out of balance. This, in turn, can lead to TMJ troubles and chronic head, face, jaw, neck, and upper body pain.
But what to replace them with? Bridges and dentures can certainly get the job done, but the option that’s most like natural teeth in both look and function? Dental implants.
How Dental Implants Work & How They Are Placed
Dental implants are permanent fixtures that are surgically placed into the jawbone to act as artificial roots for replacement teeth. They can support crowns, bridges – even full dentures!
The first step is a thorough examination to determine if you’re a good candidate for the procedure. (Most people are.) We’ll take x-rays and take impressions of your teeth to develop your own custom treatment plan.
The surgery itself involves cutting a small opening in your gum tissue to expose the bone, then drilling a hole for the implant. We screw the implant into place and cover it with a protective cap. This phase of treatment typically takes a couple of hours.
Although your initial recovery time will be fairly short, the full healing period lasts several months, giving the implant every opportunity to fuse with the jawbone in a process called osseointegration. This waiting time is essential for the implant to be stable and function properly.
But not to worry: You’ll have temporary restorations throughout this waiting period, so your smile will look fine and you’ll be able to eat without problems.
Once osseointegration is complete, we attach an abutment to the implant. This small connector rises above the gumline and provides a secure attachment point for the replacement crown, bridge, or denture. Once we attach it and we review how to properly clean and care for your implants – your ongoing care for them is essential for their long-term success – you’re good to go! You can smile, laugh, talk, and chew again with confidence.
Placing Dental Implants the Biological, Biocompatible Way
But while plenty of dentists place implants these days, you don’t just want any dentist doing the procedure. There are important differences between conventional dental implants and those placed by a biological practice such as our own Holistic Dental Center.
For instance, where most dentists opt for titanium implants, the ones we place are 100% zirconia, never metal. These ceramic implants are strong, durable, and biocompatible. They will never corrode, nor can they conduct an electrical charge. This means a lower risk of bacterial growth on the implant and a lower risk of peri-implantitis – a condition similar to gum disease, only the inflammation surrounds an implant rather than a natural tooth.
We also use plenty of medical grade ozone during our surgical procedures. It can be used to cleanse the implant before we set it into the bone, ensuring that it’s free of any contaminants. We can apply it directly to the surgical site to stimulate wound healing and tissue regeneration. Along with platelet rich fibrin (PRF), ozone also means less post-op pain and discomfort for you.
More, PRF/IPRF (injectable PRF) uses your own blood plasma to enhance the body’s natural healing abilities and regenerate tissue and bone. Because it comes from your own blood, it’s 100% biocompatible, delivering growth factors and cytokines directly to the surgical site to promote faster – and more comfortable – recovery.
If you’re considering getting implants, we encourage you to reach out to us now to schedule a consultation. Our dentists are highly-skilled at placing ceramic implants and will ensure your dental experience is minimally invasive, safe, and pleasant.