Tooth loss occurs due to trauma and decay. Advanced technology in dental implants can provide you with a fully functional replacement tooth. They are custom manufactured to match your own natural teeth.
What is a dental implant?
Dental implants are strong, functional replacement teeth made from titanium. Titanium is a metal that works well with your gums and jaw bone. Dentists place implants into the gums, then fit a crown over them. A dental implant can also hold a bridge or partial denture in place. They can be used to hold high-quality false teeth as well, restoring your smile and returning the functionality of your natural teeth. A good quality implant can repair your bite for decades. When you lose a tooth, the gum and bone around the missing tooth shrinks. Dental implants help to support the surrounding structure and decrease the amount of bone loss.
You gain not only a better-looking smile, but bite strength as well. Dental implants also prevent premature deterioration of dental integrity for your whole mouth.
What happens during the procedure?
Your dentist will take x-rays and perform a full examination of your mouth. The goal is to make sure you have enough bone density to support your new implant. We will then assess your overall oral health and suitability for the implant.
When you are ready for the procedure, we’ll administer a local anesthetic to numb the area. We’ll help you stay calm and relaxed with a plentiful stream of nitrous oxide. You can also talk with your dentist about sedation dentistry if you would like to sleep through your procedure. We can discuss those options with you before we begin fitting your implant.
Your dentist will create a small hole in the location of your missing tooth.
Your implant fits in this newly created space. After careful placement of your implant, we will provide you with stitches to help you heal. Your implant will bond with the surrounding bone and tissue.
The length of healing time varies between patients.
Your dentist will be able to advise you on how long your recovery process will take. You’ll receive a temporary covering, usually a bridge, during your healing period.
Once healed, your dentist will schedule an appointment for you to come back. During your second appointment, we will fit a crown to your implant to mimic the shape and feel of a natural tooth.
How do I care for my dental implant?
Immediately after your surgery, you should:
1. Stop Smoking
When you smoke, the amount of oxygen in your blood decreases. Oxygen-rich blood circulation to the mouth is critical to healing.
2. Temporarily Avoid Exercise
You need to hold off on any heavy exercise until your implant is fused with your mouth. The motion of exercise can irritate your gums and nerves and compromise the healing process.
3. Take Your Medicine
Take any anti-inflammatories and antibiotics provided to you. Bacteria and irritation will reverse the results of your surgery and could lead to more serious problems.
4. Maintain Your Oral Hygiene
To excessive decay, keep a habit of brushing at least twice a day and flossing once a day. You may feel discomfort for the first few days, but keeping the area clean is necessary for healing.
5. Watch the Foods You Eat
Avoid any type of hard, sticky foods, such as tofu, ice and taffy. They are highly adhesive and can pull your dental implant away from the areas to which it is trying to fuse. Be sure to follow any other post-care instructions that your dentist gives you. Fill in your missing tooth today and get your bite back. If you live in San Antonio, contact us to schedule an appointment for your consultation with Dr. Cappetta today!