Steps to Successful Tooth Implants

Dental implants are artificial roots and teeth placed directly into the jaw (by a periodontist).  Dental implants are great for people who are in good health, but, who have lost teeth due to any number of misfortunes.  Implants are very natural looking and feel almost exactly like "regular teeth" when you bite or chew food.

With normal conditions and proper patient maintenance, dental implants can last a lifetime.  Since they are connected to the gums and bone in your mouth, a periodontist will be the primary member of any tooth implant team (as they deal with gums).  They will usually give you an initial consultation, and let you know where the implant will be placed.  Depending on the type of implants you wish to use, and, your mouth's current condition, the periodontist will create a custom tailored treatment plan.  Many things can alter this plan.  For instance, will you be replacing a single tooth, or several teeth?

Single tooth replacement can be carried out with an implant and a dental crown.  This procedure replaces not only the tooth, but also the tooth's root.  It also carries a number of advantages over other options; it looks like a natural tooth, and, the implant can be placed in the mouth without harming neighboring teeth.  Since the dental implant replaces the root in addition to the crown, your bone usually remains intact.  In the long run, a single tooth replacement can be easier to keep clean than a dental bridge, and, your gums will not recede around the metal.  Single tooth implant is a great option.

When replacing multiple teeth or an entire mouthful, a dental bridge is usually necessary.  These bridges will replace both your lost and natural teeth, and, many of the roots.  First, implants that look like screws are placed within your jaw and left to heal.  A few months later, the implants and bone will have usually bonded
together.  Next, abutments (small metal posts) are installed to complete the foundation.  Your gums are then allotted a few weeks to heal before the process continues.

Finally, bridges (or replacement teeth rows) will be created for you, and installed by your periodontist.  These replacements are attached to the before mentioned abutments.After your implants have been installed the recovery process begins.  Full recovery and healing usually takes about 3-6 weeks - this of course, will depend on the number and type of dental implants used in your procedure - the more implant, the longer the healing time.  To combat the pains of healing, one should avoid smoking cigarettes and drinking through a straw.  Doing either can decrease blood supply to the tooth area and potentially cause dry socket.  It can also be beneficial to use ibuprofen, which will decrease swelling and ease pain.  Proper oral hygiene and the use of a mouthwash will keep the implant areas clean and sterile while you heal.