Am I A Candidate for Dental Implants?
Dental implants are just one type of restoration option, but they are preferred by many patients and dental professionals alike. These have a significant advantage over other types of restorations that allow them to function better and be more visually pleasing. However, most patients have not heard much about dental implants until they are about to receive them. Here at Lehigh Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery we provide dental implant restorations and placement for our eligible patients.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants were first used over 50 years ago and traditionally one implant replaced one tooth. This is now known as a single tooth dental implant. However, advances in science and medicine have developed dental implant techniques that can replace more teeth on fewer implants, which is now known today as a multiple tooth dental implant.
Dental implants are secure, offering one of the best ways of replacing missing teeth. They are placed directly into the jawbone where they fuse with the bone to form a strong and permanent support for a dental crown, bridge, or arch of teeth.
What is the Preparation for Dental Implants?
We first need to determine if you are a good candidate to receive dental implants. Generally, we do not recommend this procedure for pediatric patients since their oral structure is still developing. Candidacy also includes a confirmation of sufficient bone strength and size to support the dental implants. In order to determine this, we use a variety of diagnostic imaging tests. If necessary, we may need to provide a bone graft first. The recovery period for a bone graft placement can be up to six months long. Finally, we must get any active infection under control prior to the surgery. This includes antibiotics and deep cleaning treatment.
Who Is A Good Candidate for Dental Implants?
Are you a suitable candidate for dental implants? Here are the details on what needs to be considered for successful implant placement. Find out more by speaking to one of our experts here at Lehigh Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.
Some circumstances may cause a problem for successful dental implant placement. These include:
Good health is more important to placing dental implants rather than age. Therefore, there is no need to be concerned that you are too old. There is no age limit to the treatment as good general health and meeting the other criteria are more important.
Loss of bone in the jawbone is a common problem. It is usually caused by advanced gum (periodontal) disease that has destroyed the bone tissues, as well as the gums. However, bone loss is also a side-effect of losing a tooth even if periodontal disease is not a factor. In these circumstances, a bone graft or sinus lift will augment the bone enough to allow a dental implant to be placed several months later.
Smoking inhibits blood flow, restricting the movement of nutrients and oxygen to the cells which are essential for healing. The failure rate of dental implants is much higher in people who smoke.
Heavy drinkers may also not be the best candidates because their habits have a detrimental effect on the body’s ability to heal, similar to that of smoking.
Do You Have a Metal Allergy?
Every dental implant regardless of size or specific treatment type is made of titanium. This material is quite strong, but patients with metal allergies or sensitivity would not be able to receive them. These implants are biocompatible, meaning that your natural tissues will grow around them without triggering an immune response.
The artificial teeth that are attached to the implants come in a variety of materials. For instance, some of our most used materials are glass ionomer, porcelain, composite resin, and metal. The most common metals are gold and amalgam silver.
How is Your Health?
Some chronic health disorders, such as diabetes, may make the procedure more of a problem, although this is not insurmountable if your diabetes is well-controlled, and you are prepared to spend the additional time ensuring your mouth stays hygienic.
What Are the Steps of a Dental Implant Surgery?
After we confirm your candidacy for the dental implant procedure procedure, you will have a consultation, and will then be scheduled for your surgery. On that day, our first step will be to administer anesthesia to ensure your comfort during the procedure.
Once the anesthesia takes hold, we can begin the surgery. First, our dentists will incise and lift the gum tissue to expose the jawbone. They will drill a hole into the jawbone and place the dental implants. The implants are then covered with a healing cap, and the gums are stitched back in place.
After we place a dental implant, we need to wait for the site to heal. Over the next few months, you will have several follow-up appointments and, when we confirm that you are completely healed, you will be scheduled to receive your dental restoration.
For restoration placement, our dentist will reopen the gum tissue to expose the implants. The healing cap will be removed, and we will attach the abutment and artificial tooth to it. Your artificial tooth will be attached to the implant using a series of clips and wires or dental cement. In some instances, bridges and dentures can be attached in a way that they are removable at will. Then, you will simply take care of your new tooth or teeth by brushing and flossing daily.
Lehigh Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery has a highly skilled team who are experts at placing dental implants. To find out if you are a suitable candidate for one of the dental implant procedures, contact us at (610) 435-6161 and schedule an appointment.