Lake Oswego, OR
Millions of Americans suffer from tooth loss despite improvements in dentistry – most often due to gingivitis, tooth decay as a result of gum disease, and even due to injury. Up until recently, the only option for those dealing with tooth loss were dentures or bridges. However, recent advancements have given these patients an aesthetically pleasing and functional alternative. Dental implants are replacement tooth roots that are designed to serve as a sturdy foundation for a removable or permanent prosthesis; custom made to perfectly match existing teeth. Dental implants offer a tooth replacement option for patients that restores the patient’s mouth function – including chewing, speaking and eating.
What are dental implants?
A dental implant has three parts: the titanium root (or post), an abutment, and a crown (that attaches to root) or restoration like a bridge or full arch. The use of titanium is an important feature of dental implants because the metal is naturally compatible with human tissue. Therefore, after being inserted into the jawbone, the artificial tooth root will naturally fuse to the bone and gum tissue. The result is a durable base structure for the crown to be attached.
Bridge vs Implant
What to Expect With a Dental Implant Procedure
The Examination and Treatment Plan
Before beginning the dental implant procedure Dr. Nicholas Dose, along with his trusted team of professionals, will customize a treatment plan that is right for you based on your oral health and history. Once your individual treatment plan has been developed and the process thoroughly reviewed with you, the procedure itself may then begin.
Single Implant (Anterior Tooth)
During the examination, we will look for certain indicators to make sure that your oral health meets the requirements for a dental implant. We will take a digital impression of your mouth that we will use to build your treatment plan and your dental restoration.
One of the key factors that we look for is found with the help of comprehensive X-rays of your mouth and jaw. We look for plenty of healthy bone in your jaw because the dental implants need good support to help you eat properly. If we find the appropriate levels of bone in your jaw, we can start the implant process fairly quickly. If we find that you have experienced significant bone loss in your jaw, we may need to schedule a bone graft to bring you bone levels to a place that will support implants.
Single Implant (Posterior Tooth)
Why You Might Need a Bone Graft
Tooth loss can result in a lot of unwanted oral health complications, one of which is bone loss. When any part of your body doesn’t receive the stimulus it ought to, it will begin to atrophy. When the bone in your jaw stops receiving feedback from teeth that have gone missing, it will often begin to recede. To prevent bone loss in your jaw, you should replace teeth with dental implants as they are lost. By replacing teeth as they are lost the likelihood of further tooth, and bone loss is greatly diminished.
Bone Graft Procedure
If we find that your jaw does not have adequate bone levels to support a dental implant we can usually perform a bone graft to give you a more healthy bone tissue to support your implants. A bone graft is a surgical procedure that involves making a small incision in the areas that you lack bone structure and placing a bone graft or bone tissue into the site. Once placed, we will suture the site closed and allow it to heal. The graft will encourage bone growth and can provide enough structural integrity to support a dental implant.
Dental Implant Post Placement
The next step in a dental implant procedure is to place the implant post. We will make an incision in your gums to expose the bone of your jaw where the implant will be placed. We will then prepare the bone to receive the dental implant with a special dental drill. Once the implant site is prepared, Dr. Dose will carefully insert the titanium dental implant post into the socket of the missing tooth where it will be sutured closed and left to heal. Over approximately a 6 to 12 week period, the titanium post will fuse together with the jawbone and gum tissue securing it into the jaw.
Dental Implant Abutment Placement
After the healing process is complete and the implant has successfully fused to the jawbone you will return for the remainder of the procedure. A small connector post – referred to as an abutment – will be attached to the implant itself, which will serve as a connector for the tooth replacement. The abutment is usually screwed into the top of the implant post once we expose the implant post and remove the healing cap. The abutment is fixed in place permanently with a dental adhesive.
Dental Implant Restoration Placement
A dental implant restoration will be custom fabricated to perfectly match your bite, to fit naturally between existing teeth and to blend in with natural teeth. We refer to it as a restoration because dental implants can support a wide variety of tooth replacement options – single tooth crowns, multiple tooth bridges, even full arch solutions that can replace every tooth on the top or bottom (or both) arch of your mouth.
Dental implant restorations are made to look and act just like your natural teeth. They allow you to chew whatever foods you would like and restore your facial structure to it’s former “filled out” aesthetic. Tooth loss often leads to a sunken appearance in the cheeks, but dental implant restorations prevent this.
Dental implant restorations are permanently fixed in your mouth to the abutments using a special dental adhesive. Some patients may choose to have a special attachment secured to make for use with a removable denture or bridge.
How Dental Implants Work
Dental implant posts are surgically inserted into the jaw and are made of titanium because of its unique ability to be accepted by the human biology. Titanium is a biocompatible material, which means that the body will not reject it and grow around it, forming a strong mechanical bond through a process known as osseointegration.
Dental implants are unique and valuable when compared with other tooth replacement options like full or partial dentures because they perform all the same functions that your natural teeth would. When you chew food using dental implants, the implant posts stimulate the bone in your jaw, which encourages the bone to stay happy and healthy.
Preparing for Dental Implant Surgery
A certain degree of preparation is required before any surgery to ensure that the procedure goes well. Depending on the level of sedation that you will be receiving we may ask that you refrain from eating or drinking several hours before your scheduled surgery. General anesthesia is sometimes followed by dizziness or a feeling of nausea, so we like take precautions to ensure your continued comfort before and after the surgery. Be sure to make plans with a friend or family member to drive you home following your procedure as it can take a few hours for the effects of sedation to wear off. It would be wise to make plans with them to accompany you for a few hours following the surgery so that they can help make you feel comfortable.
We always provide pre-surgery and post-surgery instructions to all patients before and after the appointment that are specific to the surgery you will be undergoing.
Post-Surgical Care Instructions
It’s very important that you take good care of yourself and your mouth following the placement of dental implants to ensure their success. When you wake from sedation, take it easy and listen to the signals that your body sends you. It’s fairly common to experience dizziness and nausea following sedation. If you feel dizzy or nauseous, let us know, and we will do our best to make you comfortable. It may take some time for these sensations to subside and we are happy to give you all the time you need. Hydration is important following sedation of any kind as sedation often causes dehydration.
Before you leave our office following your dental implant surgery, we will give you care instructions as well as a prescription for pain medication. It is common for patients to deal with minor pain or discomfort with over the counter pain medications like Advil or Tylenol. If you find that you need relief from significant discomfort, feel free to take the prescription pain medication according to its instructions. With any medication always follow warning labels and dosing instructions. If you are unsure of anything regarding medications we prescribe you, please feel free to give us a call at (503) 765-7300.
It is important that you take it easy following your dental implant placement surgery. Over-exertion can result in a rise in blood pressure that can adversely impact the healing process and cause bleeding at the implant site. You will go home with some gauze placed over the surgery area and some extra gauze to change it out. There is a good chance that you will need to stick to a soft food diet following surgery. Foods like gelatin, pudding, soup, and applesauce can help you to keep your strength up while staying hydrated in a day or two following surgery.
NOTE: These instructions do not represent the medical advice of our dental office, always refer to your personalized pre or post-op instructions given to you by Dr. Dose or call us at (503) 765-7300 for dental advice.
Taking Care of Your Dental Implants
Because dental implants are not biological, you don’t have to worry about getting cavities, needing root canals, or even flossing! That doesn’t mean that you don’t have to take care of them. If you have dental implants, they must be cleaned with a toothbrush to avoid plaque and tartar buildup. You are still susceptible to bad breath and gum disease that poor oral hygiene can lead to. It’s important to continue coming in to see us for a regular examination and cleaning twice a year so that we can evaluate your oral health.
The biggest cause of dental implant failure is tobacco use. If you smoke or chew tobacco, the probability of implant failure grows tremendously. We strongly recommend that you cease using tobacco products before dental implant surgery as it can lead to high rates of infection and implant failure.
The health of your gums is very important to the long-term success of your dental implants. When you brush your implant restorations and teeth, make sure to also brush the gums and the base of the restoration/teeth. This will help to keep your gums healthy and the implant stable.
Benefits of Dental Implants
Dental implants can be used to replace just one or many missing teeth successfully. Dental implants are preferred by most patients over removable dentures because they provide a structured prosthesis that functions similar to natural teeth.
Dental implants look and feel like natural teeth. Therefore, they improve speech, appearance, self-esteem and functionality for the patient. Additionally, they are much more comfortable, durable and convenient when compared to dentures or bridges. Implants can add tremendous value in the form of health benefits. By replacing missing teeth with dental implants, you get to:
|•||Eat whatever you want whenever you want
|•||Avoid denture adhesives and upkeep
|•||Promote bone growth in the jaw
|•||Enjoy the confidence that comes with a beautiful smile|
At Nicholas Dose, DMD - Family Dental Care, we are committed to giving you a smile you’ve always wanted and helping you to keep it healthy for years to come. Remember to come in to see us at least twice a year for your annual examinations and professional cleanings so that we can help you to keep your mouth healthy.
Dental implants are not an option for everyone. They require adequate bone and tissue health. If you have one or missing teeth and are considering dental implants call us today at (503) 765-7300 to schedule your exam where Dr. Dose will determine if you are a good candidate for implants.