Your teeth may be a small part of your body, but they have several essential jobs. Your teeth are responsible for biting and chewing your food, starting the digestive process. Your teeth break down your food so that your body can easily access the nutrients it needs to stay healthy and strong. They allow you to form certain words and sounds when you speak. They provide you with a beautiful smile. Traditionally, bridges, partial dentures, and full dentures have been used to replace missing teeth. At Oak Park Dental, we are proud to offer the latest alternative to these tooth replacement options—dental implants.
Traditional Tooth ReplacementFor many years, your options for replacing missing teeth were very limited. One missing tooth often meant the use of a fixed bridge. This option consists of your replacement tooth set between two crowns. Much like a crown procedure, both adjacent healthy teeth need to be trimmed so that the bridge can fit naturally into your smile. Several missing teeth meant a partial denture, a removable prosthetic device that is supported by your gums, with the added support of metal wires. Missing all of your teeth meant full dentures. Full dentures are removable false teeth that rest directly on your gum tissue. While these options are still available today, they have many disadvantages that make them less than desirable.
What are Dental Implants?Dental implants are the latest option for replacing missing teeth. They consist of three major parts—the implant (a small titanium rod), the abutment (a connector that attaches your teeth to the implant), and your false teeth (often made of ceramic).
Implants are unique to any other restorative option in that they involve a surgical procedure. The small titanium rods are inserted into your jawbone. They rely on a process known as osseointegration to become strong stable supports. Successful osseointegration means that your implants become like the roots of your natural teeth, and hold your replacement teeth securely, and permanently, in place.
Types of Dental ImplantsDental implants are customizable and can be used to replace any number of missing teeth. There are several types to suit just about every need:
How Implants are PlacedImplants, like any other tooth replacement option, begin with a consultation. During this consultation, we will assess your candidacy for implants. We visually inspect the inside of your mouth and also take some digital images. These images allow us to assess the condition of your jawbone, making sure that you have sufficient bone mass to support the implants in the first place. Images also allow us to create a customized treatment plan that will provide you with the best possible results.
If you are deemed a candidate, we then go ahead to the next step—the surgical procedure. We administer a local anesthetic to the surgical sites. If necessary, we can also provide you with sedation, so that you can remain calm and relaxed throughout the procedure.
Once the anesthetic kicks in, we make incisions in your gum tissue and expose the jawbone. From there, we drill holes into your jawbone and insert the titanium rods. Finally, we stitch your gums closed around the implants, leaving just a small amount of the titanium rod exposed above the tissue. We then provide you with a set of temporary replacement teeth to use while you heal.
Healing from dental implant surgery can take anywhere from several weeks to several months, depending upon how many implants you were given (along with other factors). You will be provided with a set of instructions to follow while you heal. They will include how to handle common post-surgical issues such as pain, swelling, and bleeding. It will also provide you with details on what to eat, and what to avoid eating, to facilitate healing. We will see you frequently to monitor your healing progress, but it is essential that if you have any questions, or feel something is wrong, that you contact us right away.
Once you have healed from implant surgery, we begin the process of creating your permanent teeth. We place the abutments on your implants and take impressions of your mouth. These impressions are then sent to a lab, where your custom ceramic teeth are created. When they are ready, you will come back one last time, and your implants will be screwed into place.
Caring for Your Dental ImplantsTaking care of your dental implants is no different from taking care of your natural teeth. The ceramic crowns can and should be brushed on a daily basis. You should also maintain regular, twice yearly visits for cleanings and exams. Even if you have an entire mouth of ceramic teeth, these oral hygiene habits are important. Ceramic may be impervious to tooth decay, but it can still collect plaque and bacteria that can promote gum disease. Moreover, gum disease can lead to implant failure.
Along with regular brushing and flossing, it is also important to avoid biting down on anything that is exceptionally hard. This includes things such as ice, your fingernails, and pens. Ceramic is strong, but not indestructible. Even tiny microfractures can cause your replacement teeth to eventually chip or shatter.
Benefits and Disadvantages of Dental ImplantsDental implants come with numerous advantages:
If you have experienced tooth loss, contact Oak Park Dental at (971) 600-0211 to schedule your consultation and find out if dental implants are right for you!
Serving Salem Keizer Community since 1987
We provide dental services for the entire family from children to older adults. Our entire team of caring Doctors, hygienists and support staff pride ourselves on a high level of patient care.
Using the latest in modern dental technology our services range from sealants to complex implant surgery. Our goal is a comfortable experience for our patients with beautiful results.
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