If left untreated, your missing teeth could result in irreversible and expensive damage such as receding gums, periodontal disease, and bone loss. To prevent these health conditions and have an improved cosmetic appearance, you can choose a dental implant procedure. The procedure will allow you to realize optimal functionality, improve self-esteem, and a beautiful smile. Moreover, when installed by a skilled oral dental expert like Northridge Dental Implant Center, the implant can last a lifetime. With many years of exceptional expertise, we have assisted thousands of patients to reclaim their smile and oral health.

What Are Dental Implants?

Notwithstanding improvements in the oral health industry, thousands of people suffer tooth loss as a result of injury, periodontal disease, and tooth loss. For many decades, the only available treatment options were dentures and bridges. Luckily, dental implants are available today.

A dental implant is a replacement root of a missing tooth. It offers a robust foundation for a removable or permanent (fixed) replacement tooth, which matches your natural tooth. It looks like a screw or cylinder. It is made of titanium or any material that does not cause an adverse reaction when it is attached to the gum tissue and jawbone.

There are two categories of dental implants, namely: subperiosteal and endosteal. Endosteal is the implant done in your bone. Subperiosteal, on the other hand, is an implant that rests on your jawbone under your gum tissue. Currently, subperiosteal implants are no longer placed on teeth because they are less durable compared to endosteal implants.

Who Are the Ideal Candidates for Dental Implants?

To qualify for a dental implant, you should have healthy gums and mature enough so that the jawbone has stopped growing. Additionally, you ought to have:

  • Enough bone to support your implant in your jaw (However, a patient who has lost a jaw bone can still get an implant but after the bone has been rebuilt), and
  • A dedication to take care of the implanted teeth as well as surrounding gums.

It is worth noting that the following individuals do not qualify for dental implants:

  • People whose jawbones haven't stopped growing
  • Expectant mothers
  • Heavy smokers- smoking reduces the chances of a successful procedure and slows down the healing process
  • Substance and alcohol abusers
  • Patients who have received high-dose radiation neck or head treatment
  • Individuals suffering from connective-tissue conditions, hemophilia, immune deficiencies, and diabetes

What to Expect During a Dental Implant Procedure

Dental implant surgery is not a surgery where you go to a theatre with missing teeth and leave with new pearly white teeth. The procedure involves out-patient care, and it involves several steps.

  1. Initial Consultation

First, you will require to meet your dentist for your first consultation. During the consultation, the dental expert will perform a detailed dental exam of the mouth as well as take your teeth's impressions. Then the dentist will discuss with you your treatment plan, healing time frame, and what to do before and during the procedure.

  1. Bone Grafting and Tooth Removal

The next step involves bone grafting and tooth removal. If you undergo a bone graft, it will take a couple of months before the jaw is ready for the implant. The time frame allows the bone to heal well.

  1. Implant Placement

Implant placement involves a metallic screw getting into the bone. It supports the entire prosthesis. The procedure could take an hour or two.

After the procedure, healing could take around five months and seven (7) months for the lower jaw and upper jaw, respectively.

  1. Placing a Healing Collar

Once the implant has fused with the jawbone, you will get a healing collar. Your doctor will place the healing collar (sometimes known as a healing cap) on the implant's head. It will guide your gum tissue in the right healing method. The collar is a round metallic piece that keeps your gums away from the dental implant. You will have the collar on for ten to fourteen days.

  1. Placing an Abutment

An abutment is a component that screws in the dental implant and supports the crown. After the abutment has been placed, the dental expert will take an impression of the abutment for all replacement teeth.

You will have a temporary crown installed as your tissues heal and form around the artificial tooth as with natural teeth. You'll have the temporary crown for approximately six weeks.

  1. Placing a Permanent Crown

Finally, you have the crown placed. The crown can either be cemented in place or screwed in the abutment. Cementing into place option looks more natural and better since there are no screw holes that can be seen from any angle.

Is the Dental Implant Procedure Painful?

As with any procedure, you will experience some discomfort. IV for oral sedation and local anesthesia are used to eliminate discomfort during the surgery. If you experience any discomfort, your doctor will prescribe medication.

How Long Does Dental Implant Surgery Take

Numerous factors determine the duration required for surgery. They include:

  • Your oral health
  • Number of teeth involved
  • The teeth replaced
  • Whether you will require tooth extraction before the implant procedure

The above factors will also determine how many times you visit your doctor during the treatment period.

Top 15 Benefits of Dental Implants

Today, dental implants are a popular choice for millions of patients in need of a tooth root replacement. This is because the procedure has numerous benefits like:

Prevents Facial Collapse and Makes You Look Younger

Typically, when you have a missing tooth, the bone that surrounds and supports the tooth stops receiving the stimulation it requires to rebuild. As a result, it diminishes in strength and size. In the initial years, after losing your tooth, the bone which surrounds the areas could reduce in width by approximately twenty-five percent. As time goes by, the bone loss could lead to sunken cheeks and lips, making you look older.

Also, a person who uses dentures for long will eventually experience facial collapse when their lower jaw deteriorated. The facial collapse will change your face's shape as well as make you look older than you are. Luckily, a dental implant can provide you with a solution that suits your smile and preference.

Matches Your Natural Teeth

Dental implants come in different sizes and shapes. Your doctor will work with you to choose an implant that complements the neighboring teeth as well as fits in the gap perfectly. No one will tell which teeth are implants other than you and your doctor.

Dental implants resemble natural teeth because dental porcelain mimics the translucent characteristics found in your tooth enamel. Normally, the translucent hue changes in density from the crown's base to the top; the ceramic material is thinner in the crown's biting surfaces. As a result, this offers an even natural look that looks like the changes in translucency found in your natural teeth.

Dental Implant Prevents Bone Loss

Long-term tooth loss can result in loss of tissues in the jawbone. It could also cause your remaining teeth to move out of place and change your facial appearance by making your look sunken-in.

This is because your jawbone requires stimulation to hold its density and shape. The teeth offer stimulation through biting and chewing. Also, the regular teeth movement inspires your jawbone to rebuild and grow hence supporting your teeth. That means after losing a tooth, the jawbone stops receiving stimulation, thus causing your jawbone to lose volume, height, and width.

So how does a dental implant stops bone loss? Since a dental implant is placed in the jawbone, it stimulates your nerves, just like your natural teeth roots. Therefore, after the procedure, the chewing movement will restore bone density and volume for optimal dental health.

Moreover, the procedure will prevent further bone atrophy from taking place.

What About Patients Who have Already Lost their Jawbone?

Patients who have missing teeth for a long time will most likely experience some level of jaw bone degeneration. For many years, patients with this condition did not qualify for the procedure in question. Luckily, there are various options today when it comes to dental implants for people with this health condition.

First, you could benefit from all-on-4 treatment. The option involves the placement of a fixed denture with four (4) implants per arch. This technique permits your dentist to maximize the existing bone in the jaw. Consequently, in most cases, a bone grafting procedure is not necessary.

Second, regenerative therapy can be used to regrow your bone tissue. The sinus lift or bone grafting procedure prepares the foundation required for implant placement and increases your eligibility for dental implant surgery.

Dental Implants Affect How You Eat

One of the complaints from Northridge residents with missing teeth is the inability to eat and chew their favorite foods.  Dentures have been reported to slip and slide while eating, whereas bridge can break when you chew crunchy, sticky, or raw foods.  People with dentures don't chew food properly hence swallow bigger food bites. Not only does this lowers your enjoyment of food, but it also puts a burden on your digestive system.

Fortunately, a dental implant is an option that permits you to consume whatever you want without the fear of the implant falling out or moving.

The implant is inserted in your jawbone. As a result, the implant creates a secure and permanent bond with your jawbone and works as the natural tooth root hence increasing your chewing abilities.

Moreover, with a dental implant, you can use all your taste buds. Taste buds are found both on the tongue and your mouth's roof. Patients who use upper dentures have a plate that covers the roof of the mouth hence affecting their tasting senses.

Boosts Natural Speech

One of the challenges you are likely to experience when you have a missing tooth involves your speech. Losing even a single tooth will immediately change the way you speak, especially when the tooth is in the front part of the mouth. The facial muscles become tense when trying to hold your teeth in place. As a result, you will experience slurred speech, clicking noises, or mumbling. Also, those around you will find it challenging to understand what you are saying.

Additionally, your teeth assist you pronounce sound like "ch'', ''sh'', ''th''and ''z'' sounds. When you have a missing tooth, it can be difficult or impossible to make the sounds well. By replacing the missing teeth with a dental implant, you not only get rid of all gaps these empty tooth sockets have created but also restore your natural speech.

Prevents Gum Disease and Cavities

Cavities are also known as tooth decay. Tooth decay occurs when bacteria in your mouth create an acid that eats away your tooth. If left untreated, tooth decay could result in infections, pain, or even loss of the tooth. It is unnoticeable to the eye at first and then starts to attack different layers of the tooth progressively.

Missing gaps in the mouth increase your risk of getting cavities. It is difficult to brush and floss your teeth properly when they are near empty sockets. Also, empty gaps can trap bacteria, plaque, and food particles. It can also cause oral health conditions like periodontal if plaque is left untreated. The most effective method to maintain good dental health is replacing the missing teeth with dental implants and practicing good oral hygiene.

Your Dental Implant Will Keep your Adjacent Teeth Stable

When you have a missing tooth root, the neighboring teeth drift towards the gap gradually, shifting their positions hence affecting your capacity to chew and bite. Additionally, the tooth on the opposing arch can be impacted because it no longer gets counterpressure whenever you bite down. It could result in issues with the temporomandibular joint (TMJ).  A dental implant preserves the structure and bone to the dental arch hence keeping your teeth alignment intact. Misaligned and clustered teeth are difficult to maintain and clean. 

In case you get a denture or bridge to replace the gap, the restoration will depend on the surrounding healthy teeth for support. With time, this puts pressure on the adjacent teeth and could eventually make you lose them. Also, to create space for the denture or bridge, the dentist could make modifications to the surrounding teeth, which could hasten the speed at which the teeth weaken. Since the artificial root in the jawbone supports your dental implant, the implant will not exert pressure on the adjacent teeth.  The implant will also not trigger oral health issues in the future.

Easy to Maintain

Care for a dental implant is the same way you would take care of your natural teeth. Good oral hygiene is essential to prevent infections and diseases around your implant. With proper home care and regular professional check-ups, the implant can last a lifetime.

All you need is:

  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush- Soft-bristles are less likely to damage the gums and cause bleeding.
  • Brush your teeth twice a day-Brushing after waking up, eradicates morning breath as well as removes bacteria, which built up in your mouth at night. Brushing before bedtime, on the other hand, assists remove bacteria, which built up in the day and lowers the risk of tooth decay and plaque build-up overnight. It is also advisable to brush after meals to remove bacteria and food debris.
  • Use a low-abrasive toothpaste- Make sure you use toothpaste that does not have abrasive ingredients like stain-remover agents and baking soda. These ingredients could wear on acrylic or remove the porcelain glaze.
  • Floss regularly- Use an unwaxed tape or a floss specifically for dental implants. Flossing protects the neighboring tissues. To be safe, make sure you check with an experienced dental expert about the type of floss to use for your implant.

Dental Implants are a Permanent Solution to Tooth Loss

A dental implant is a metallic piece that is inserted into the jawbone and can last through a lifetime provided it is well taken care of. The abutment and crown are more prone to damage than other parts. It is because they are heavily used in chewing and biting.

Your crown may have wear and tear signs over time. Fortunately, it can be replaced easily. The dental implant remains in place in your jaw, while the abutment and crown can be replaced if necessary. They are tailored to withstand chewing and grinding for more than fifteen years.

Also, the mouth location plays a huge role as far as how long an implant lasts is concerned.  A dental implant that replaces a molar is more likely to require replacing after a couple of years compared to a dental implant near your mouth's front. Molars are used to chew and grind food more hence absorb more stress over their lifetime.

You do not Want to Remove and then Clean Your Denture

When you've dentures, you should clean your tongue, mouth, and gums thoroughly after taking your meals. You are also required to brush the dentures, remove them overnight, and then soak them in a unique solution.

An implant remains in the mouth, and you will brush and care for your dental health the same way you would do for your natural teeth. Best of all, you wouldn't be required to remove the teeth when going to bed.

Prevent Embarrassing Slippage

People with dentures are always conscious when laughing, eating, or speaking. Dentures can easily slip in the mouth, leaving you embarrassed in front of your peers. A dental implant, on the other hand, is reliable, firm, and well-anchored in place hence allowing you to consume any food you want.

Dental Implants are Pocket-friendly in the Long Run

A dental implant is an investment as far as long term advantages are concerned. As previously mentioned, with proper oral health care, the implant does not require daily visits to the dentist or replacement. The same can't be said for dental bridges or dentures.

High Success Rate

As a result of constant development in the dental field, the success rate of dental implants has gone up.  A well-integrated implant with the required biomechanical loads may have a success rate that ranges from ninety-three to ninety-eight percent and ten to fifteen years lifespan for the fixture and prosthetic teeth, respectively.

However, various factors influence your dental implant's success rate. They include:

  • Quantity and quality of the available bone- Implants inserted into stronger and thicker bone have a higher success rate.
  • Case complexity- Healthy and young patients with simple restorations like one tooth missing have a high success rate.
  • The more competent the dentist is, the higher the success rate.
  • Compliance with dentist's instructions and oral hygiene- The success rate of a dental implant will drop if you fail to comply with oral hygiene measures.

You Can Customize the Implant

Another benefit of a dental implant is the fact that you can customize it to suit your needs and preferences. That way, you will get your desired look for an elegant smile.

Also, the color of your dental implant could be customized to your preference. While most implants are white, you can get a different color shade. You can also customize the implant to take on your teeth's color hence giving you a natural look.

Improves Your Self-Confidence and Oral Hygiene

Practicing oral hygiene and self-confidence are closely related. When an individual feels confident and healthy in their appearance, they are more likely to take self-care more seriously. Concerning aesthetics, a dental implant provides a comfortable and natural appearance to patients with missing teeth. It is also a boost for people who are embarrassed by their smile.

Consequently, following a good oral hygiene routine becomes a priority to patients who have been given another chance.

Moreover, these patients can eat different foods confidently. Indirectly, the body can absorb minerals and vitamins. These nutrients play a huge role in keeping your gums and teeth healthy.  

Find a Qualified Northridge Dental Implant Near Me

At Northridge Dental Implant Center, we have discovered that dental implant procedure can boost the quality of life for our patients in Northridge, California. The dental implant procedure is a perfect option to replace missing teeth and has numerous benefits. Best of all, the implant can improve your general health while assisting restore the confidence that comes with an elegant and natural smile. For more information about dental implants and our experience, please contact us today at 818-925-9181.