Dr. Miranda Hutchison is specially trained in cosmetic dentistry and able to offer dental implants for individuals who wish to replace missing teeth or significantly damaged teeth. Dental implants are an effective long-term solution providing greater structural support and last longer than either dental bridges or dentures. Dental implants are essentially an artificial root to which new teeth are bonded. They are typically constructed of titanium, a strong and safe material that effectively attaches to bone. The procedure to insert dental implants will typically involve three steps: 1) the implant insertion, 2) a healing period for the jawbone, and 3) the attachment of the restoration or new tooth.
Types of Dental Implants
The most popular form of dental implant is the root implant. This type of dental implant is very effective and matches the size and shape of a patient’s natural tooth. This implant can be as strong structurally as the original tooth’s root. The dental implant is inserted into the jawbone with care and precision and is allowed to heal from three to eight months, the jawbone firmly attaches itself to the dental implant. Once healing is complete, the patient returns to the dental office, where the dental implant is fitted with the new tooth. The dentist may also recommend another form of implant dentistry know as the plate form implant. This dental implant is ideal in situations where the jawbone is not wide enough to properly support a root implant. The plate form dental implant anchors into thin jawbones. The insertion process is the same as for a root implant, but in certain cases, plate dental implants are immediately fitted with the restoration without waiting for the healing period. The last type of dental implant used for implant dentistry is the subperiosteal implant and are used when the jawbone has receded to the point where it cannot support a permanent implant. These dental implants are placed on top of the bone and embedded in the gums (not in the jawbone as with the other types of dental implants). Using the impression of the patient’s mouth and jawbone, a dental lab constructs implants to custom fit the patient’s jaw. On the second visit the dental implant is inserted above the jawbone allowing the gums grow up and around the implant over the next month.
Dental Implant Risks and Recovery
Complications for implant dentistry are rare and just like any cosmetic procedure can include infection, slight damage to nerves, and mild discomfort. Although very unlikely, any infection of the gums or jawbone can usually be treated through antibiotics or another medication. Surgery to the upper or lower jawbone can result in mild nerve damage. Nerve damage typically subsides in several weeks but can persist for longer periods of time. As the jawbone heals, patients may experience some discomfort. Discomfort should normally subside within seven to ten days.
Maintaining Dental Implants
Although patients should always practice proper dental hygiene, this is especially true for patients with dental implants. If teeth and gums are not properly cleaned, bacteria can cause the gums to swell and the jawbone to gradually recede. Recession of the jawbone can weaken dental implants and eventually necessitate their removal. Patients should visit their dentists’ offices at least twice a year in order to ensure the health of their teeth and dental implants. With proper care, dental implants should last 25 years or longer.
If you are interested in learning more about dental implants and implant dentistry or other cosmetic dentistry procedures, please call us at 303-337-0047.