Traditionally, several missing teeth would be replaced with a partial or full denture. Dentures may cause discomfort, and do not stimulate the jaw bone as regular teeth do. Without stimulation, the jawbone degrades, causing a caved-in appearance that is often associated with age.
Dental implants replace the function and appearance of your natural teeth in a more complete manner. Titanium posts are surgically installed in the jaw bone, taking the place of the roots of your lost teeth. These posts stimulate the jawbone and strongly secure your teeth in the same way your natural tooth roots would. The surfaces of the posts are provided with one or more treatments, prior to placement in the jaw, that helps them to integrate into the bone.
A crown is fitted onto the top of the titanium post that looks and feels like a natural tooth. Crowns are made in dental laboratories by trained technicians, and are custom-designed to fit the natural shape and color of your teeth. You are able to better regain your appearance than with full dentures that are at times overly white or artificial-seeming.Dental implants are artificial tooth replacements that were first developed half a century ago by a Swedish scientist named Per-Ingvar Branemark. Implants arose from the patientís need to secure loose-fitting dentures. Since the advent of the implant, engineering and enhancements to the implant have enabled dentists to expand the implantís usefulness, including the replacement of missing or lost teeth. Today, implant techniques provide a wide range of tooth replacement solutions including:
The root implantóby far, the most popularóis the most effective because it mirrors the size and shape of a patientís natural tooth. This implant is often as strong as the patientís original tooth. The implant or artificial root is placed into the jawbone under local anesthesia, then allowed to heal and integrate with the bone. Once the healing process is completed and the jawbone is attached to the implant, the patient returns to the dental office where the implant is fitted with the new tooth. This process generally takes anywhere from three to eight months.
Post Implant Care
A part of making the dental implant(s) surgery successful is to follow Dr. Lopez’s instructions during the post-operative care.
First Hours After Surgery
Bite down gently but firmly on the gauze that has been placed over the surgical site(s). If active bleeding persists after one hour, fold new gauze in a tight roll and place so biting applies pressure directly over the surgical site. Also, a moist teabag can be used in the area of bleeding by biting down firmly for one hour. Some bleeding may be present for up to 24 hours. Keep fingers and tongue away from surgical site(s) as much as possible.
The placement of dental implants generally does not cause a great deal of pain. For mild discomfort take Tylenol or Ibuprofen as directed on the bottle. For moderate to severe pain use the prescription given to you and take as directed on the bottle. You may find better pain control if you take your first pain pill before the local anesthetic wears off.
Some swelling should be expected and should not be cause for concern. Apply ice bags to the sides of the face for the first 12-24 hours (20 minutes on – 10 minutes off) to help minimize the amount of swelling. Ice should be discontinued the day after surgery. The greatest swelling will peak 36-72 hours after surgery and then should gradually subside.
Your diet should consist of soft foods and plenty of fluids for the first day. Over the next several days you can progress to solid foods at your own pace. Avoid foods such as nuts, sunflower seeds, and popcorn that may become lodged in the surgical site(s). Avoid chewing hard or sticky foods on the implant sites. Chewing forces on the implant(s) during the healing period can decrease the body’s ability to heal around the implant(s).
Keeping your mouth clean after surgery is essential to proper healing. Continue your regular tooth brushing starting the day after surgery but be careful not to disturb the surgical site with your toothbrush. After 7 days and during the remaining healing period brush the metal healing abutment(s) during regular oral hygiene. Do not smoke or use smokeless tobacco as these significantly inhibit healing of the implant(s). Do not rinse your mouth for the first post-operative day, or while there is bleeding. After the first day, use a warm salt-water rinse every 4 hours and following meals to flush out particles of food and debris that may lodge in the operated area. (One half teaspoon of salt in a glass of lukewarm water.).
Request an Appointment today for your implants Consultation with Dr. Lopez.