What is Implant Dentistry?
If you have missing or decaying teeth and want to improve your smile’s functionality and aesthetics, implant dentistry could be a great option for you. We have board-certified dentists and implant surgeons with decades of experience who are able to give you a brand new, confident smile you’ll want to show off.
Dental implants are surgical fixtures that are put into a patient’s jawbone, which are then used as the base to put a fake but realistic-looking tooth on top of. The fixture fuses with the bone within six months and replicates what the root of a tooth would be. Since they are made out of titanium, they will not be rejected by the body.
Types of Implant Dentistry
Depending on your needs and amount of teeth that need to be fixed, there are several different types of dental implants that can be used.
Single Tooth Dental Implant
The most basic kind is a single tooth dental implant, where there is one implant put in to replace a missing tooth. The titanium implant is put into the jawbone, and a titanium, gold or porcelain abutment is put over it. The dental crown is then put over, which is the visible, realistic-looking tooth.
There are also implant-supported bridges, in which the bridges attach to titanium posts instead of being supported by dental crowns put over adjacent teeth. While they typically require a longer implant process and recovery time, they don’t require alteration of surrounding healthy teeth, which may be needed with traditional single tooth implants.
Lastly, an implant-supported denture is a combination of implants and dentures. In this treatment option, the titanium implants are put into the patient’s jawbone, and after they fuse over several months, a special type of denture is placed over them. This option has many advantages, including preventing bone tissue loss, it doesn’t require an adjustment period, and is the same as taking care of real teeth.
While the implant process will vary slightly depending on what type of treatment you receive, the general process is more or less the same. You will first have an initial consultation with one of our dentists. They will do a comprehensive exam of your mouth and oral health, including x-rays and impressions, to determine what course of action will be best.
After deciding what time of implant is right for you, they may need to extract the tooth that needs to be replaced. Once the spot is open, the implant can then be placed within the same appointment, which will either be in the jawbone or under the gumline. After the implant is placed in, your jawbone and gumline will naturally grow in and heal around it. That process will take around 3-9 months.
When you return to the dentist after your jawbone heals, the abutment will then be placed over the implant. In a separate appointment after your gums heal, the artificial tooth will then be placed over the abutment. Depending on what kind of implant you end up receiving, the process may look a little different.
After the final surgery, you may notice some bruising and pain around the site of the implant, however it shouldn’t last long. It’s best to stock up on soft and liquidy foods, as well as icing the area for pain and to minimize any swelling. Make sure to pay extra attention to the area when brushing and flossing, as healthy hygiene habits will become even more important once you have an implant.
Before each appointment and step of the procedure, you can discuss sedation options with your dentist. It’s not uncommon for patients to opt for conscious sedation and a local anesthetic, but the decision is ultimately up to you and your comfort levels.
Benefits of Implant Dentistry
Dental implants are a great treatment tool and come with a slew of benefits, one of which being that they look very natural. Your dentist will match the exact shape and size of your natural teeth so that no one else will be able to tell that they’re implants. They will restore your naturally beautiful smile and leave you with renewed confidence.
They will also allow you to chew with more ease and you won’t have to worry about them coming out. Since they’re put into your jaw with titanium posts that mimic real tooth roots, they are strong and stable enough to withstand the same force of real teeth. Since they are screwed in, you also don’t have to worry about embarrassing slippage, like you may encounter with dentures or other tooth replacement methods.
With dental implants, you don’t have to worry about adapting to any lisps or speech impediments. Some tooth replacement options may make it harder to speak, but since implants mimic natural teeth so well, they will allow you to have a perfect smile without any impediments you have to overcome.
Another large benefit of implants is that they cannot get cavities. While they still need to be treated very well to prevent bacteria and infections, you can be rest assured that they’ll never need to be drilled.
Are Implants Painful?
You will most likely be put to sleep with a local anesthetic or an IV, so you will not feel anything during the procedure itself. During your consultation, you’ll discuss anesthetic options with your dentist so you know what to expect. While you might have some pain and swelling after the procedure, the pain can be managed with over-the-counter pain medications.
How Long Do the Implants Last?
An implant’s lifespan depends on how well you take care of them. Supreme dental hygiene is extremely important not only for your natural teeth but for your implants. If you have great natural hygiene, brush and floss adequately, visit your dentist twice a year, and take all necessary precautions, your implants should be able to last a lifetime. While the screw should stay put forever, you may need a crown replacement after about 10-15 years.
Why Do I Need More X-Rays?
Before getting your implants, you will need special additional x-rays done. Typical x-rays that your receive only show your teeth two-dimensionally, while special x-rays will show bone structure in a three-dimensional format. This will allow for better precision during surgery and a higher success rate for your implants.
Contact Us Today
If you have missing or decaying teeth and want to start feeling more confident about your smile, don’t wait to contact us today. At Dentart, we have performed everything from minor cleanings to whole mouth reconstruction. Our specially trained dentists, orthodontists, and implant surgeons aim to help every patient look and feel their best, starting with their oral health. For high-quality implant dentistry in Chicago, call to schedule your consultation.