A dental implant is the best way to replace a missing or broken tooth. It restores your beautiful smile, is fixed and not removable, maintains the natural structure and shape of your face and mouth, and it prevents jawbone resorption and deterioration after a tooth removal. A dental implant is your best choice to replace a tooth, since it is fixed, aesthetic, and the most natural way to replace a missing or broken tooth. Despite the advantages associated with this tooth replacement method, the procedure can be prone to issues if not done correctly. Therefore, you need experienced specialists in dental implants, and Ganji Dental has the required experience and expertise for the successful implant you are seeking.

What is a Dental Implant?

A dental implant acts as the anchor for the crown needed to replace a tooth that is missing or has broken. The dental implant is a titanium post or screw that is placed into the bone. The bone secures the implant; hence, it cannot be seen once it is surgically inserted. Implants are made up of titanium. Titanium metal is preferred because it is a noble metal, just like gold or platinum. Titanium is also light, durable, and most importantly biocompatible; therefore, it is readily acceptable by the body. Additionally, since titanium is biocompatible, the process of osseointegration can occur enabling the fusion of the dental implant with the bone.

The implant is placed into and fused with a patient’s bone, and acts as the root for the missing tooth. Once the implant has healed, it becomes time to place a crown, so that the tooth can fully be replaced. A component known as an abutment screws into the implant, and supports and secures the crown, or bridge, or denture. This component is the part of the implant lying above and at the gum line. The exterior and visible component after an implant is known as the dental prosthesis that sits on top of the abutment. The most common prosthetics are crowns and bridges, which also operate as actual teeth. Moreover, crowns and bridges are permanently cemented onto the abutment and implant, so that they are fixed and do not come out. This allows patients to be able to eat and chew comfortably.

Also, a dental implant maintains a good jaw structure hence you can smile comfortably. They are also as comfortable as natural teeth. In the case you lose your tooth or teeth, and you do not replace it, the teeth may try to shift to cover the space left by the missing tooth. Dental implants seek to avoid the imbalance in teeth brought by the shift after a tooth falling out or breaking. 

Differences Between the Natural Teeth and Replacements

Natural teeth attach to the surrounding bones using periodontal ligaments that are made up of collagen fibers. The fibers connect to the tooth on one side and the bone on the other side. Also, natural teeth have the risk of getting periodontal diseases as well as being prone to decay. Such decay risks and periodontal infections often call for a root canal treatment.

On the other hand, the replacement teeth specifically the implant fuses directly to the bone. They also do not decay or get periodontal infections. Unlike in natural teeth where gum tissues attach to roots through collagen fibers, the gum tissues in replacements can only stick to the surfaces of dental implants. However, natural teeth and artificial replacement teeth through dental implants look similar in appearance – since each prosthetic device is chosen to resemble a person's natural teeth.

Who is an Appropriate Candidate for a Dental Implant?

If you have one or more missing teeth, you are an appropriate candidate for a dental implant. This will reduce the risk of your jaw losing shape through mouth shifts that occur after the loss of teeth.

If you have a jawbone that has reached full growth, then an implant would work correctly for you. Jawbones that have fully grown provide adequate space and strength for the implants. In turn, the implant will be secure and robust enough to support the crown, which increases the efficiency of the dental implant procedure.

The inability and the unwillingness to wear dentures can make you consider a dental implant. Dentures may sometimes cause some discomfort; hence, it is preferable that you choose dental implants.

Furthermore, some conditions can affect whether dental implants are right for you concerning the ability of the dental implants to fuse with the bone. Some of these conditions include cancer, smoking, alcoholism, uncontrolled gum disease, or even unchecked diabetes. For instance, smoking through the healing process affects the fusion of the implant and the jawbone, which can result in dental implant failure. Thus, it is essential to tell the surgeon performing the dental implant of all the conditions you have. Additionally, the surgeon should be aware of all your current medications so they can advise you on the drugs to use or avoid.

Finally, dentists can use x-rays to determine if you are a right fit for dental implants.

Reasons Why You Need a Dental Implant

One of the main reason’s patients choose to get dental implants is to fill the gaps caused by teeth falling out. After tooth/teeth loss, the teeth that are next to the gap tend to shift and slant. This makes the rest of your teeth unstable. This further leads to bone loss and loss of more teeth. Therefore, it is vital to have a dental implant to take care of such problems. A dental implant prevents the shifting of the other remaining teeth whenever there is a gap in the mouth caused by tooth loss.

Another reason why you need a dental implant is to enable you to chew faster, properly, and comfortably after losing your teeth – chewing properly allows for nutrients get absorbed faster by the body, which in turn, accounts for proper health.

Implants also enable you to gain confidence when smiling or laughing since the structure of your jaw is not disfigured, which further increases your self-esteem. This is because your jaw structure will remain intact and your teeth will not slant trying to fill the gaps left in the mouth. Since the fitted teeth resemble natural teeth, nobody will know that your teeth are replacements.

If you are seeking aesthetic beauty, dental implants will help. The prosthetic devices, crowns, are custom selected to add beauty. In fact, some people consider removing a tooth or teeth and replacing them with beautiful crowns.

Dental implants are also very reliable. They can last the rest of your life without the need for you to replace them but you should take proper care of them to ensure that they can be long-lasting. Your dentist will offer oral hygiene tips for the new tooth/teeth in order for you to maintain them.

Dental implants do not affect the other surrounding teeth. Other dental procedures require grinding down of surrounding teeth. But with dental implants, there is no bone reabsorption, which keeps your jawbone intact.

The Dental Implant Procedure

A successful dental implant procedure may require the input of a periodontist, a general dentist with advanced training on dental implants, a restorative dentist, a dental laboratory technician, and/or an oral surgeon depending on the nature of your situation. The restorative dentist plans and places the tooth restoration, and the dental laboratory technician fabricates the teeth. The periodontist or a dental implant doctor examines oral inflammation conditions and periodontal diseases and determines suitable candidates for a dental implant. On the other hand, an oral surgeon is responsible for performing the implant procedure. The following are the steps that these specialists use to perform dental implants:

  • The damaged tooth is removed. In exemption of cases where a tooth falls off naturally or when you remove the damaged tooth before visiting the dental implant clinic, the first step by these specialists will be to remove the damaged tooth/teeth.

  • Plans are made by the team of professionals to address your specific needs. They make sure to check if your jawbone will support an implant. They also ensure to choose a color that looks like the natural teeth in your mouth. They ensure that they make adequate plans to provide a high success rate for the procedure.

  • The jaw bone is prepared for surgery, which may sometimes involve grafting. Grafting is required if your bone is soft since soft bones cannot support an implant. Bone grafts can create a more solid base for the implant. The process of grafting involves getting a piece of bone from another part of the body, for example, the hip. An artificial bone can also be used. It takes a few months for the bone to grow.

  • If grafting is done, the dentists waits until it heals. If they find out that your jawbone can support the implant, they place a titanium post into the slot of your mouth. An oral surgeon makes a cut to open your gum and expose the bone. He/she then drill holes into the bone where the metal post will be placed. The post is planted deep into the bone since it will serve as the tooth’s root. A temporary crown can be placed on the gap and can be removed for regular cleaning. It takes eight to twelve weeks for healing. The dentist gives you antibiotics to ensure that infections are prevented as the site heals. The dental implant becomes durable because of the natural bonding process that occurs during the process of healing. As the jawbone grows, it provides a solid base for the new artificial tooth;

  • An abutment is then placed. The surgeon re-opens your gum to expose the dental implant. The abutment is then attached to the dental implant. The gum tissues are then closed around the implant, but not over the abutment;

  • Once the site has healed, a dental crown is placed on the top. There are two types of artificial teeth: removable and fixed. The removable teeth are similar to dentures. They contain artificial white teeth that are surrounded by pink plastic gums. They are then mounted on a metal frame that is attached to the implant’s abutments. It then snaps securely into place and can be removed for repair and daily cleaning. Fixed artificial teeth are permanently screwed/cemented onto an individual implant abutment. Fixed teeth are usually preferred vs removable teeth because they save the patient from subsequent replacements; for instance, dentures (which are removable teeth) are replaced every decade.

What Happens After the Procedure?

The results of a dental implant procedure can either be positive or negative. Positive results mean that the site heals within the projected period – if it does not heal within that period, it does not mean a dental implant failure. In this case, it is advisable that you maintain regular visits to the dentist, avoid chewing hard foods, and practice oral hygiene to ensure the dental implants are long-lasting. Otherwise, you may experience several discomforts after the procedure. These discomforts may include swelling of gums or face, minor bleeding, pain at the implant site, and bruising of your skin and gums. Visit your dentist immediately if these conditions persist. Regardless of whether you notice positive or negative results, it is prudent to regularly check-in with your dentist, who will examine your situation and advise accordingly.

Are there Risks of Dental Implants?

The dental implants may also bring some risks. You may get an infection at the implant site, an injury/damage to the surrounding structure {e.g. teeth and blood vessels}, nerve damages that cause pain, numbness or tingling in your natural teeth, gum, lip or chin. Moreover, you may experience sinus problems that are mainly characterized by breathing difficulties due to nasal congestion. Sinus problems occur when the implants protrude into one of your sinus cavities when placed in the upper jaw. Your dental implant specialists will possibly explain the risks associated with implants; however, a correct procedure and the use of advanced equipment will minimize the chances of such risks.

Is the Dental Implant Painful?

Many people fear that the teeth will cause them discomfort after a dental implant. The drilling and placement of titanium can cause a little pain. However, the artificial teeth are not uncomfortable because they are just like natural teeth. The only pain experienced is during the dental procedure because of the injections and the incisions done. The dentist will give you antibiotics and painkillers during this procedure; the antibiotics will kill the germs, and the painkillers will reduce the pain.

Can I Get Dental Implants When I Don’t Have Teeth?

Dental implants are applicable whether you have missing teeth or your teeth are damaged. Dental implants which include single tooth replacement, fixed-multiple tooth replacement, and supported tooth replacement are good options for those missing teeth. In a single tooth replacement, an abutment joins the implant and the crown. The dental lab will fabricate a personalized crown that matches with the natural teeth. The crown is cemented on top of the abutment, keeping the crown in place permanently. After fixing the crown, it should not be distinguishable from natural teeth.

For the fixed-multiple tooth replacement method, a temporary healing cap may be placed on several implants until the site heals. Permanent abutments are applied to the implant after the healing process. Then, a custom-bridge replaces multiple teeth that are cemented on the abutments. This process does not disturb the adjacent teeth and the bones are not altered.

The last replacement that can be applied are supported tooth replacement. This method applies when you have all your lower teeth missing, and between two and six implants can be used to support the lower denture depending on the design of the removable restoration. In case all the upper teeth are missing, at least four implants can be used to support the upper denture. To replace extensive teeth, bone, and gum tissue, removable dentures are used. Hence, they provide support to the facial skeleton, lips, and cheeks.

Alternative Tooth Replacement Methods for Those Missing Teeth

There are several options for implant tooth replacement. These methods differ depending on the comfortability, cost, and how long they can be used. It is advisable to choose the best option that best suits your needs.

Fixed bridges are common replacement methods. They act as bridges to the gaps between one or more missing teeth. It takes time to customize the bridge and placing the bridge in the location of the missing teeth. Once the bridge is in place, a fixed bridge feels and functions like natural teeth. They do not require removal for cleaning.

Another option for tooth replacement for missing teeth is a resin-retained bridges. It can be a good alternative for missing front teeth since they cannot endure as much pressure. They attach on to the neighboring teeth on each side. Hence, they are cheaper and durable.

A removable partial denture is another option for tooth replacement for missing teeth. They are essentially applied for a small section of missing teeth and look and function as the normal teeth. They are great for chewing and gives an aesthetic appeal. However, they are less durable and uncomfortable when worn for long periods of time.

A complete removable denture is another tooth replacement option. They can be relatively invasive and require multiple trips to the dentist. They are used for aesthetics and functional purposes. Additionally, removable dentures are very comfortable and are not worn all day.

A new denture can have attachments that clip into place on the implants. A custom made, milled bar can also be fabricated to create additional strength and support for restoration.

Find Dental Implant Services Near Me

If you are facing dental problems or you want a dental implant done in Hawthorne, CA, Ganji Dental is ready to help you. Our dentists are equipped with the required skills and expertise to fix any of your dental problems. We have helped patients throughout Hawthorne and understand what it takes to have a successful dental implant and we believe you will not have a different experience. Reach our Hawthorne dentist today at 310-643-8045 for a free consultation and receive customized dental implant services.