How to Restore Your Smile with Dental Implants
Written by Dr. DeAngelis
When was the last time you smiled without hesitation? Does it feel like a lifetime ago?
Loose, decaying, and missing teeth don’t just compromise your confidence. They make it difficult to perform even the most basic tasks like chewing and talking. If you’re one of the 178 million Americans missing at least one tooth, you know exactly how much this diminishes your quality of life.
Fortunately, you do have control over the condition and appearance of your smile. Dental implant technology makes it possible to replace your missing and compromised teeth with nearly identical replacements.
Here’s everything you need to know about restoring your smile with dental implants and reclaiming your joyful confidence once again.
What Are Dental Implants?
A dental implant is an artificial tooth that looks exactly like (or even better than!) your real tooth. It’s made of three individual pieces that fit together to replace your missing tooth: the screw, abutment, and crown.
The implant itself is a titanium screw placed deep into your gum tissue, where it fuses permanently with your jawbone. By replacing missing tooth roots and bonding with the jawbone, the screw creates a sturdy base that supports the other parts of the implant.
An abutment is then placed on the titanium screw as the connector between the screw and the custom-made crown. The crown is the part of the dental implant that you can see and feel since it looks and functions exactly like a real tooth. Every crown is customized to fit your smile perfectly.
Dental implants make it possible to replace an individual tooth, a few teeth, or your entire mouth if necessary! By working with your dental implant specialist to evaluate the best solution for your oral needs, you can determine the best implant arrangement.
Are Dental Implants a Good Match For Me?
The best candidates for dental implants are seeking a tooth replacement solution that’s more permanent and durable than standard dentures. This includes the willingness and ability to commit several months to the multi-step surgery and recovery process.
However, not everybody meets the baseline requirements for implants. Due to the invasive nature of the dental implant procedure, it’s essential that your mouth is healthy enough to sustain the implants.
Make sure you meet these minimum qualifications and talk to your dentist about any concerns you have:
- You have at least one missing tooth
- Your jawbone is strong and thick enough to secure implants
- If your jawbone isn’t strong enough, you are eligible for bone graft surgery
- Your oral tissues are healthy
- You don’t have a chronic illness that may compromise bone healing
- Want to improve your speaking and eating abilities
- You don’t use or smoke tobacco
If you don’t meet the parameters outlined above, you may need additional dental work and healthcare before your dentist can initiate the implant process. For example, you may need to quit smoking, receive aggressive treatment for periodontal disease, or address an underlying health condition like diabetes.
This is why the dental implant procedure is often a team effort between you, your dentist, and your doctors. The healthier your mouth and body are before your implant procedure, the better the outcome!
What Should I Expect During the Implant Procedure?
Dental implant surgery occurs in stages to allow for healing time between each step. Depending on the number and type of implants you receive, the entire process may take months. You can expect to undergo the following steps:
- Damaged teeth are properly removed
- Jawbone is strengthened with grafting if needed
- Titanium screws are placed into the gum tissue and jawbone
- Gum tissue and jawbone take time to heal and bond with implant
- Abutments are placed
- Artificial teeth (crowns) are placed
Despite the invasive nature of this procedure, your dentist will use the appropriate form of anesthesia to ensure you don’t feel any pain. Swelling of your gums and face, bruising of the skin, and minor pain and bleeding are common but temporary. Pain medications and antibiotics can resolve most side effects.
The Top 4 Benefits of Dental Implants
The benefits of dental implants can truly change your life. It’s no wonder that more than 3 million people in the U.S have implants.
Implants Last a Lifetime
Implants aren’t like standard bridges, dentures, or veneers that must be replaced every 10-15 years due to damage or wear and tear. As long as you properly care for your implants, they can last the rest of your life! The titanium implants fuse with your jawbone to create a permanent base, and the durable crowns can endure any normal eating, talking, and biting activity.
Implants Look and Feel Natural
Your implants will look so real that you might forget they’re not! The entire implant procedure is designed to restore the natural appearance of your smile. You will look and feel like an even better version of yourself by the time your implant process concludes.
Implants Protect Your Facial Bones and Oral Health
This is a benefit of dental implants that most people don’t realize. In addition to improving your aesthetic appearance and restoring the functionality of your mouth, dental implants also protect your jawbones from sinking and dropping inward.
Without a full set of teeth, your jawbone doesn’t receive the stimulation it needs to remain strong. Over time, an unstimulated jawbone becomes too weak and damaged to maintain the healthy structure of your cheeks and jaw. Implants prevent this problem from occurring and keep your jawbone strong and durable.
Implants Restore Your Confidence
When all of these benefits combine, you’ll rediscover a sense of confidence you thought you had lost forever. You’ll be able to smile without hesitation, choose your favorite foods without any difficulty, and embrace a truly beautiful smile.
Where Can I Get Dental Implants?
Not every dentist offers dental implant restoration. You need to find a specialist who knows exactly how to perform the dental implant procedure to give you the best results possible.
At Deangelis Family Dentistry in Carlsbad, CA, Dr. DeAngelis offers expert dental implant restoration services to help her patients reclaim the smiles they once had. Call (760) 444-5507 today to schedule your consultation and stop hiding your smile.