The loss of even a single tooth disrupts the natural balance of the mouth. The teeth may shift. The bite may change. Without a root in place, the bone may begin to deteriorate. Bacteria can hide in new places and cause damage. The smile’s overall function and appearance change with a lost tooth. Dental implants can replace the missing teeth and restore the smile. In Rochester, Dr. John Aurelia and Dr. Dina Khoury explain the types of dental implants and techniques for those wondering what to expect from the dental implants process.
A: Our teeth have roots and crowns. The root is not visible and sits below the gumline. The crown is the visible part that people often think of when a tooth is lost. Dental implants are small cylinders that are used to replace missing teeth. Implants are securely positioned to replace the root. When the implant is connected to an abutment and topped with a crown, the result mimics the natural structure of the tooth. The structure mimics the function and appearance of a natural tooth. The placement in the jaw gives dental implants more stability than other restorations.
A: Dental implants can be of titanium or zirconia. Titanium is a lightweight, yet strong metal that has been considered the standard for dental implants. Zirconia implants are newer and are made of a ceramic material. With titanium, the implant and abutment are two separate pieces. For zirconia, the two are fused as a single structure. Regardless of the type, implants are long-lasting and durable. Both replace and restore the tooth’s function.
Dental implants may be used to replace a single tooth or multiple. For a single tooth, the implant, abutment, and crown form the structure, function, and aesthetic of a natural tooth. To replace multiple teeth or an entire arch, implant-supported dentures may be used.
Implant-supported dentures rely on a few precisely placed implants attach to a denture. These offer more stability than that found with traditional dentures and restorations. Implants are small titanium cylinders positioned in the jaw. The dentures are then connected to the implants with fittings or attachments resulting in a sturdy smile. Implant retained dentures are customized to fit, look, and act like natural teeth. Unlike traditional dentures, the upper jaw of implant-supported dentures does not cover the roof of the mouth making it more comfortable for patients. These dentures may be fixed or removable depending on the patient’s needs.
A: Our team works with specialists to ensure a smooth process. The dental implant procedure requires more than one visit. It is a precise process. During the initial placement, the implant is positioned in the jaw in place of the missing tooth. The area is given time to heal. The bone and gums accept the implant. This process is called osseointegration and is necessary for a successful treatment. The healing process takes a few months but forms the basis of a sturdy restoration. Once the mouth has healed, the abutment can be attached to the implant. The crown or denture is placed on top to complete the smile.
A: Following the implant placement, patients may notice discomfort as the anesthetic wears off. Any swelling or discomfort can be managed with ice packs and over-the-counter pain medication. Use care around the treatment area. Do not rinse, spit, or touch the site the day of the procedure. As the mouth heals, the side effects will begin to subside.
In the days that follow the procedure, the mouth may be sensitive and tender. Eat soft foods and do not chew on the side of the mouth that was treated. Also, avoid spicy foods and using straws which may irritate the treatment site. Our team will provide you with instructions on how to cleanse the area. Remember to follow good oral habits to help the implant heal and to prolong the life of the implant. With the right care, implants can last a lifetime.
To learn more about the types of dental implants and techniques, contact our office in Rochester to schedule an appointment with Dr. John Aurelia or Dr. Dina Khoury. Call [phone2].