Your smile is important and the state of your teeth affects your entire body. When your teeth are in good condition, your overall health is better. A missing tooth can affect your bite, chewing capacity, and your confidence in your smile. Dental implants can rejuvenate both your smile and your oral health. Reach out to our office; we are your Southern Utah dental implant specialists.
A dental implant is a synthetic root which provides support for replacement teeth such as crowns, bridges or a full set of teeth. Dental implants are the standard of care for missing teeth made from biocompatible materials such as titanium or ceramic. There are three parts to a dental implant: the implant (root replacement), the abutment (a connector) and the final restoration (crown, bridge, denture or full set of teeth). Once a dental implant is placed, it takes time for the bone to fuse, which is called osseointegration. After the implant has healed, it is ready for final restoration.
For non-smoking patients with good oral health, the rate of dental implant integration is 90-95% over a ten-year period. An ideal implant candidate should have a sufficient amount of good-quality bone in the jaws as well as healthy gum tissue. Throughout the healing process and beyond, maintaining excellent oral hygiene is the key to long-term success.
Implants are versatile. If you are only missing one tooth, one implant plus one replacement tooth will do the trick. Since placing one or two implants takes less time than multiple implants, local anesthesia is generally used. If you are missing several teeth in a row, a few strategically placed implants can support a permanent bridge (a set of replacement teeth). Another case we see frequently is when someone is missing many teeth, we can strategically place implants.
A bridge is a tooth replacement option where the two surrounding teeth are shaved down to replace the one missing tooth. Over time, as bone loss occurs, bacteria can cause decay and the bridge to fail. Basically, a one tooth problem becomes a three teeth problem. Clinically, bridges last 5-10 years, where an implant can last a lifetime. At the Oral & Facial Surgery Institute, we are your St George dental implant specialist.
Consider your replacement teeth to be the same as natural teeth. They require the same daily brushing and flossing, and an equal number of regular checkups. Like your natural teeth, the better you take care of your implants, the longer they will last.
In many cases, a dental implant can be placed the same day a tooth is extracted. However, if there is infection or inadequate bone, Dr. Davis will perform a bone grafting procedure to create an ideal environment for a future implant. In these instances, the dental implant will be placed at a later appointment.
Bone loss occurs over time due to missing teeth. Ridge augmentation is a bone graft procedure that restores the natural contour of the gums and jaw in preparation for a future dental implant.
Often, when upper back teeth need to be replaced with a dental implant, the bone is too short due to the location of the sinus cavity. The sinus is an air-filled space and dental implants need to be surrounded by solid bone. A sinus lift augmentation/bone graft is a surgical procedure to create enough bone for the dental implant to be placed.
When a tooth needs to be removed due to infection, it is not uncommon to have lost bone around the infected tooth. In these cases, various types of bone grafting can be done at the same time the tooth is removed to facilitate the placement of a dental implant at a later date.
Our facility has special software that allows us to evaluate your dental CT scan in three dimensions for bone quality and quantity, enabling the best possible placement of your dental implants. This also allows us to work closely with your restorative dentist to ensure an ideal result where your dental implants are concerned.
Once your dental implant restoration is complete, it is important to keep the area clean and infection-free. Dental implants can accumulate plaque and tartar just as teeth can. Whether you have just one tooth replaced by an implant or several, a professional cleaning schedule will be necessary to keep your implants healthy. The time interval for these professional cleanings will be determined by your individual needs.