Those who are missing one or more teeth can often regain their smile with the help of dental implants. Today’s implant and prosthetic tooth technology has advanced to the extent that it’s nearly impossible for the casual observer to tell the difference between natural teeth and their implant-supported prosthetic counterparts. If you’re considering implants in Tulsa, OK, here’s what you need to know:
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are titanium alloy posts that support prosthetic teeth. They are made from titanium alloy because that material has particularly high biocompatibility with human tissue, making it more likely that it will bond with the bone matter in the jaw. This process is known as osseointegration and is an essential part of successful dental implant installation. Osseointegration takes anywhere from three to six months to complete. After this, the titanium post will be stable enough to support prosthetic teeth such as crowns or bridges.
Can the Bone Tissue Reject an Implant?
Because of the high biocompatibility rate of titanium alloy and human bone tissue, chances of the body rejecting an implant are extremely low. However, it has been known to happen in rare cases.
What Are the Advantages of Having Dental Implants?
Dental implants look and feel almost as natural as natural teeth, making them an excellent option for those who want to retain the appearance and functionality of their former smile. Prosthetic teeth also aren’t subject to tooth decay and other damage caused by a buildup of plaque and bacteria. Nonetheless, it’s still essential to practice good oral hygiene if you have implants if you want to prevent the onset of gum disease.
Do Dental Implants Have Any Safety Risks?
Dental Implants have few safety risks for the vast majority of patients. If not properly cared for, they may become infected during the healing process. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, such as tenderness, swelling, or pain, make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible.
Are Dental Implants Painful?
Dental implants are installed while the patient is under local anesthesia, so there is no pain involved in the surgery itself. In cases where the patient requires full-mouth implants, the dental surgeon may elect to use general anesthesia. There may be some minor pain and discomfort after the anesthesia wears off, but this is easily managed by taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pain medication. See your dentist in Tulsa, OK, if pain persists or if you suspect the area has become infected.
It’s important to follow your dentist’s guidelines on what to eat and drink after dental implant surgery in order to minimize the chances of infection. Soft, nutritious foods are typically recommended as well as drinking plenty of water to remain well-hydrated.
Can Anyone Get Dental Implants?
Those in good general health and who don’t have gum disease or other serious oral health issues are usually considered good candidates for dental implants. Those with compromised immune systems and/or uncontrolled diabetes may not be able to have implant surgery, so be sure to talk with your dentist about any concerns you have and explore alternatives that may be available to you.
Bone It’s also important to have adequate bone tissue in the jaw to support the titanium posts; however, it’s not impossible for those who don’t have this bone tissue to get implants. A procedure known as bone grafting can replace the lost tissue to the extent where the titanium posts will be able to be successfully installed.
Can Children Get Dental Implants?
Children generally are not considered candidates for dental implant placement because their bone tissues have not yet stopped growing. Installing implants in children may result in the implants shifting so far out of place as the bone material continues to grow that all functionality and aesthetic values of the implants are completely lost. In certain cases, however, implants may be used as a part of an orthodontic treatment plan.
What is Bone Grafting?
Bone grafting is a procedure designed to increase the amount of available bone tissue in the given area — in this case, the jawbone. Some patients require only minor bone grafting, and in these cases, the grafting and the implant installation can be done at the same time. For those who need more extensive grafting, however, it’s a separate procedure. Bone grafts are taken from another part of your body, from donor tissue, or from synthetic material containing the biological components of natural bone tissue. The third option is becoming increasingly common due to convenience and non-invasiveness.
How Long Do Dental Implants Last?
Dental implants can last for 40 years or longer provided they are well cared for and that the titanium allow has fused to the bone properly. Brushing and flossing at least twice per day should continue to be a regular part of your dental hygiene routine. Keep in mind that gum disease may affect the amount as well as the quality of bone tissue that you have, which in turn could cause difficulties with your dental implants.
Do Dental Implants Require Special Care?
As mentioned, your dentist may recommend specific brushing and flossing materials designed specifically for those with prosthetic teeth depending on what material they’re made out of. Porcelain crowns, for instance, will need a low-abrasive cleanser rather than normal toothpaste. It’s also essential to guard against the development of gum disease and to see your dentist at the first sign of it. Always rinse your mouth if brushing and flossing is not a possibility, avoid sticky foods and beverages, and use an antibacterial mouthwash after you’ve brushed and flossed. Some dentists recommend at-home oral irrigation systems for those with dental implants.
It’s also important to see your dentist on a regular basis, usually once every six months for a thorough checkup and cleaning. As with the majority of other dental issues, problems with implants that are detected early enough are usually fairly easy to resolve but waiting until issues become major may involve serious complications. Please feel free to reach out to our office in Tulsa, OK, at your convenience to find out more about dental implants and whether they’re a good solution for you.