Dental Implants Barrie, ON
Dental Implant Surgery
A permanent solution to missing teeth is dental implants. They provide a stable, reliable replacement and are the closest feeling you can get to your natural teeth. When you have implants you are able to enjoy eating, to feel temperatures of hot and cold foods, smile with ease and talk without worry of dentures slipping or making a clicking sound. The surgical procedure is performed by an oral maxillofacial surgeon and takes place over a period of 12 to 18 months.
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The Dangers of Tooth Loss
Anyone who has lost even one tooth knows how hard it can be to deal with. Suddenly, things that were easy to eat become painful or difficult to eat. It can be hard to pronounce words correctly with teeth missing. It can even do a number on your self-esteem, and make you significantly less willing to smile. While all of that is no fun, there are even dangers to tooth loss that make it very important to consider replacing your missing teeth right away.
When you lose a tooth, a chain reaction begins to occur. Firstly the neighboring teeth will begin to drift into the gap left by the missing tooth. Many people mistakenly believe that teeth are stationary in our mouth when in fact our teeth rely on their neighbors for support. When a tooth is lost the neighboring teeth are allowed to shift around in the mouth, and with this shifting, the bite can change.
When we mention your bite, we are referring to how the teeth on your upper jaw fit together with the teeth on your lower jaw. It may not sound like much, but your bite is a big deal! When your teeth fit together, you never notice your bite, but when they stop fitting together, it can drive you nuts! Take popcorn, for example. When you eat popcorn, and a kernel gets stuck in-between your teeth, it feels like a great, big object is mashing your teeth apart. That's a great example of how a tiny change can make a big difference in the way your bite feels. If your bite ceases fitting together properly, some oral health issues can arise, including TMJ problems.
The TMJ is the temporomandibular joint, which is the jaw joint. The TMJ is an impressively complex joint because its range of motions includes, up & down, back & forth, and side to side. If your bite changes the TMJ can be thrown off, and all kinds of negative side effects can follow. TMJ issues can easily lead to pain, discomfort, and loss of sleep. It can even make it difficult to eat!
The final and most dangerous issue that can follow tooth loss is bone loss in the jaw. Your teeth play a vital role in keeping your jaw healthy by providing constant, tactile feedback, which stimulates the bone to stay healthy. When a tooth is lost the bone in the jaw stops receiving the tactile feedback from the root of the tooth and will begin to atrophy. As bone is lost in the jaw, the surrounding teeth lose support and will eventually be lost.
Dental implants require a certain amount of bone in the jaw if they are to be successful. If you wait too long between when you lose the tooth and when you have the dental implant placed what's left of the bone in your jaw might not be able to support a dental implant.
How Dental Implants Restore Health
Because dental implants replace the whole tooth from root to crown, they allow you to keep your oral health. Dental implants are surgically placed into the bone of your jaw, and through a process known as osseointegration, they fuse with that bone. The posts that we place in your jawbone are made from titanium because it's a biocompatible material, which allows for osseointegration to take place. By effectively replacing the root of the tooth, dental implants provide feedback to the jawbone and help to maintain its health.
The Parts of a Dental Implant
Dental implants are made of three different parts that fit together to provide you with a fully functional tooth replacement. Dental implants are made of a titanium post, an abutment, and a dental crown.
The Dental Implant Post
As mentioned above, the implant post is made of titanium and looks a bit like a screw. This part of the dental implant replaces to root of the tooth and is meant to provide a solid platform for the rest of the prosthesis. Because titanium is a biocompatible material, it is usually accepted by the human body and is often used for all kinds of medical implants. Many hip and knee replacements are made of titanium.
The implant post is the first part of the implant to be placed and is placed during a surgical procedure. Many times we will require some recovery time following the placement of your implant post. This recovery time can last up to several months. The goal is to allow the bone in the jaw some time to fuse with the implant post so that it will be able to stand up to the pressures of eating foods.
The Implant Abutment
The implant abutment is the unsung hero of the dental implant. It is the go-between part that is screwed into the top of the titanium implant post and sits below the implant restoration. The purpose of the implant abutment is to provide enough surface area for the implant restoration to be attached. The abutment is not visible once the implant is topped with a dental crown, but it plays an integral role in keeping the implant stable and working.
The Implant Restoration
The implant restoration could be a few different things, like a dental crown, a dental bridge, or even a full arch restoration. Full arch restorations that are placed on top of several dental implants are essentially permanent dentures. All of these implant prostheses are permanent and give you back the ability to eat and speak like you did before tooth loss. Because implant restorations are permanent, you need to take great care of them, brushing them as often as you would your natural teeth and flossing as well.
What Occurs in Dental Implant Surgery
The dental implant surgery is where we place titanium posts in the existing jawbone. In some cases, before this can be done, bone grafting is necessary to build the area up enough to accept the implants. Once there is adequate bone, the posts are placed, and the healing process begins. The reason titanium posts are chosen is the body's ability to fuse with it, which is what provides your mouth with a stable surface to hold the artificial teeth down the road.
The Two Dental Implant Surgeries
There are typically two surgeries that occur with dental implants. The first surgery is the process of placing the screws in the jawbone. After this process, your mouth needs time to heal. This process typically takes 3 to 6 months. At this point there is nothing above the gumline; everything is underneath the gums — no one will be the wiser. Once the healing is complete, the second surgery takes place. During this surgery, the implants are revealed, and posts are attached. These are the posts that the artificial teeth will eventually be attached to in your mouth. You will again need time to heal — typically 6 to 8 months. Then the artificial teeth can be permanently placed on the posts.
The Types of Artificial Teeth
Dental implants can be used to replace just one single tooth, several teeth, or an entire mouth. If one tooth is being replaced, a crown is placed on the implant. If you are missing more than one tooth, but not a full mouth, a bridge is used.A bridge typically requires several implants to hold it in place. If we are replacing all of the teeth in your mouth, quite a few implants will be necessary. The number will depend on the type of replacement you choose — whether overdentures, which are removable teeth or permanent teeth, which cannot be removed.
Types of Sedation
Many patients have questions about the type of sedation necessary for the dental implant procedure. While it is surgery, it is typically one that can be performed right in the office. In most cases, we can use a local anesthetic and keep the patient comfortable. In certain situations, other forms of sedation are necessary and are available. These forms of sedation may include nitrous oxide or IV sedation. The type used during your procedure will depend on its severity and length.
Determining if You Are a Candidate
Before you have dental implant surgery, it is imperative that you have a consultation with the surgeon to determine your candidacy for the procedure. While it is the most favorable way to replace missing teeth, it is not the right procedure for everyone. During your consultation, you will discover whether your jawbone has adequate support for implants or if you have suffered subsequent bone loss, especially if you have been missing teeth for a long period. The longer your jawbone goes without stimulation, the more likely it is that it will begin to resorb into your body, leaving you with nothing for the implants to bond with during the procedure. We will discuss your options with you and help you discover the best way to replace your missing teeth, to help you gain the smile you love back once again.
Dental Implant Home Care
Just because dental implants are not real teeth, does not mean that they can be ignored or forgotten when it comes to oral hygiene. Dental implants represent a significant effort and cost and can suffer, even fail, if they are not taken care of properly. So, what does good oral hygiene for dental implants look like? What should you do at home to keep your dental implants in great health? For the most part, applying common sense will be your best friend when it comes to keeping your implants clean and healthy.
The biology of your mouth stays the same after you have your implants placed — this means that plaque and tartar will continue to build up on the surfaces in your mouth the same way it did when you had your natural teeth. While your new prosthesis cannot become infected by these bacteria, the surrounding tissues in your mouth still can. Your gums and existing natural teeth still must be cared for, and if you neglect your implants, there is a danger that they could fail. We will go over home care with you following your dental implant placement procedure to ensure that you fully understand how to take care of your implant, and know how to ensure their long life in your mouth.
A soft-bristled toothbrush should be used at least twice a day to remove plaque and food particles from your teeth and the prostheses. Make sure to get every angle possible while brushing to ensure that all surfaces of the prostheses remain clean. Rinsing your mouth with water following meals that you cannot brush (like lunch) can go a long way in the fight against bacterial build-up.
Some antimicrobial mouth rinses can help to cut down on the risk of infection where it is difficult to clean, like where the implant meets with the gumline. Sometimes we will recommend that you pick up an oral irrigator or a water flosser to help you get into the cracks and crevices that would be uncomfortable or impossible to reach with standard floss.
Please call us today at 705-302-0357 to schedule your no obligation consultation today. We look forward to seeing you smile!