A missing tooth can be a huge burden. Not only can it change the way you eat, it can also make a big difference in how you smile. If an incomplete smile is making you feel embarrassed or self-conscious, Salt Lake City dentist Dr. Keith Warr can enhance your appearance with dental implants.
Dental implants have a number of advantages over other tooth replacement options. To find out more, please call Warr Dental today at 801-355-5385 to schedule your initial consultation with our Salt Lake City implant dentist.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are prosthetic tooth roots used to fill the gap left by one or more missing teeth. A completed implant consists of three parts:
- A titanium post that replaces the root
- An abutment raised above the gum line
- A dental crown, bridge, or other restoration that connects to the abutment and replaces the visible portion of your tooth
Dr. Warr will perform oral surgery to place the dental implant directly into the bone beneath the gum tissue. Once the jaw and gums have had time to heal, which can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, a natural-looking restoration will be attached to the abutment to complete the implant procedure.
Candidates for Dental Implants
This restorative treatment can be ideal for many adult patients who want to achieve long-term results from tooth replacement. To be a good candidate, a patient should: Have sufficient healthy bone density to encase the dental implant or implants Optimal gum health and strong gums to adequately secure the implant abutment Be a non-smoker Have good oral care habits Understand that it can take a full year for implants to fully integrate into the jawbone
Benefits of Dental Implants
The key advantage of a dental implant is its ability to restore the entire look and function of a missing tooth. Once the implant is surgically placed, it bonds with the jaw bone, providing exceptional stability.
Other advantages of dental implants include:
- Over 95 percent success rate
- Longest-lasting tooth replacement option
- Optimal stability means you can eat, smile, brush, and floss with confidence
- Tooth-colored restorations connected to the implant retain your smile’s natural appearance
Dental implants are also an effective treatment for some of the most common issues people with one or more missing teeth can face, including:
- Restrictions on what foods you can eat
- Bone loss in the area where the tooth used to be
- Shifting of surrounding teeth
Are there any risks to Dental Implants?
Dental implant treatment is safe and effective. The treatment process has become the gold-standard over the past several decades. Only a fully trained dentist with experience in all facets of dental implant treatment should conduct this procedure. Using precise measurements and imaging, the implant dentist plans the most appropriate size of implant posts and position of each post to restore the bite fully.
How can I prepare for Dental Implants?
Usually, patients do not need to do much before their dental implant procedure. It is important to tell your implant dentist what medications you are taking. These include prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, and supplements. To reduce risks, you may be advised to switch or stop taking certain drugs. If you have a chronic health condition, alert your dentist.
You may need to take prescription antibiotics beginning before your appointment to prevent infection. Getting dental implants is a streamlined, well-planned process. The procedure is performed using a local anesthetic, so you will not be able to eat right away after your appointment. To avoid unnecessary disruption to your implants, you can stock up on soft foods before the day of your appointment.
Your dentist can discuss when you may resume eating foods that require more chewing and biting so you are fully informed about what to expect. While there is no real downtime after the dental implant procedure, you may want to schedule one or two days off. Any minor surgery is taxing on the body. A few days of rest can optimize your healing phase of treatment.
The Dental Implant Procedure
The dental implant procedure is performed in the office after we have administered a local anesthetic to the treatment area. Once your mouth is numb, Dr. Warr completes your dental restoration via the following steps: The dentist makes a small incision in the gums to access the jawbone.
He utilizes a small instrument to create an opening in the jawbone and inserts the implant. The gum tissue is replaced over the area of the implant and tissue is secured with a stitch. This initial phase of treatment is followed by a second once the implant has become encased in the jawbone. The second appointment involves the placement of a crown, bridge, or denture onto the secured implant or implants.
What is recovery like after Dental Implants?
The recovery time after the dental implant procedure is shorter than many patients expect. Many people are ready to return to work after a day or two of rest at home. The day of the minor surgical procedure, aftercare focuses on managing bleeding and comfort. There are no nerves in the bone, so pain is much less than most people expect. An over-the-counter medication may be taken to alleviate mild soreness or tenderness. Patients may be given specific aftercare instructions regarding how to brush their teeth during the first 24 hours of healing. After the first 24 to 48 hours, the gums are typically well-healed and comfort is significantly improved. At that time, patients are usually back to their normal oral care habits, taking care to brush and floss gently around the treatment area.
What to expect from your results
The results of dental implant treatment are rewarding. This treatment is the most popular method of tooth replacement primarily because patients want their replacement teeth to feel just like natural teeth. Dental implants provide the secure foundation to achieve this. With dental implants, you can eat normally without sensations like unstable teeth or irritation to the gums.
How long do Dental Implants usually last?
Dental implants integrate into the bone and can remain stable indefinitely. Gum health and bone health are integral to the longevity of these restorations. Patients are advised to avoid smoking and tobacco use, habits that strongly contribute to periodontal disease. Good oral care is also necessary to maintain healthy gums. With these few strategies, we expect dental implants to last many years.
How Can Dental Implants Help Me?
Dental implants are natural-looking alternatives to dentures and other types of restorations used to repair or replace missing teeth. Sometimes the procedure can be used as part of a full mouth restoration to correct aesthetic and functional aspects of a patient’s mouth. Although highly effective, the treatment is not right for everyone, so it's important to determine if you are a good candidate for dental implants.
To learn more about how dental implants can replace missing teeth long-term and restore your ear-to-ear grin, please contact Warr Dental online or call 801-355-5385 today to schedule a consultation with our implant dentist. You can also schedule a virtual consultation. Dr. Warr serves patients in or around Salt Lake City, Draper, Midvale, West Valley City and other nearby areas of Utah.