People usually don’t think of dental implants as a solution to their oral healthcare problems, when in fact, dental implants are replacing dentures all across the country. You may be asking yourself, “What are dental implants and what do they do?” There’s a lot of reasons as to why one would get dental implants.
What Are Dental Implants?
If you’re missing a tooth, a lot of things can happen. It can affect your oral healthcare. Even if you’re perfect at brushing your teeth, flossing, and using mouthwash, you can still get a cavity and lose a tooth. It happens to the best of us. Dental implants make it as if that tooth was never missing in the first place.
When you get a tooth removed, you’re getting the roots removed from your jaw and/or skull depending on which tooth you’re getting pulled. It shifts your teeth around in a negative way. A dental implant is a surgical item that affixes to either your jawbone or your skull, and makes way for a dental crown or a bridge to be placed, all without messing with your alignment. It’s the foundation to your new tooth/teeth, and it’s extremely necessary for a number of reasons.
When you visit your periodontist, one of the first things they’re going to look at is the alignment of your bite. A lot of Americans don’t have s perfect bite. If you have a misaligned bite, it could be due to a number of reasons. One of the more common is that you have a missing tooth somewhere in your mouth, and your teeth are shifting in one direction. This completely throws off your alignment, and can lead to a lot of negative things.
You Just Miss the Tooth
If you’re someone who pays extreme attention to your oral healthcare, then there’s no doubt that you miss that tooth. Oral hygiene is nothing to take lightly, and sometimes, infection or cavities are unavoidable. That being said, you don’t have to carry on with that empty space in your mouth. A dental implant, and later, a dental crown, can help you.
With any dental procedure, there is associated risk. However, having an open hole in your mouth after the tooth has been removed can lead to infection, but a dental implant can fill that space and avoid infections heading down to your jawbone. If your tooth was removed due to an infection that led down the root and went to the jawbone, it’s bound to happen again if you aren’t careful.
How Long Does it Take to Heal?
The healing process can take six weeks up to twelve weeks. You would feel discomfort after a short while, and then you would feel a lowering threshold of discomfort as time goes on. Since the titanium fixture is being affixed to your jaw, it’s a big deal. It’s a foreign object that your body is trying to accept as an extension of you, so the process can be a bit unpleasant.
How Much do Dental Implants Cost?
It varies on the specific case. You have to remember that the cost is not directly associated with the cost for a crown after the implant has some time to heal. The cost could be relatively low for one single implant, and scales upward per additional implant. In some cases, if you are receiving more than one at a time, your periodontist can work out discounted prices for each additional implant.
Can Multiple Implants Be Installed on the Same Day?
It depends on your case, and if there is an associated infection with the site. For implant surgery, you will most definitely be put under general anesthesia. If you’re going in for multiples, the total procedure can take up to a year in order to allow multiple sites to stop swelling, and to become ready for additional implants to be placed.
Why Do You Need a Periodontist Over a General Dentist?
When you’re getting dental implants put in, you’re almost always referred to a periodontist. A gene4ral dentist is there to ensure the health of your teeth, while a periodontist is there to ensure the logistics of your teeth. Is your bite aligned, are your teeth being worn down, do you have gum disease—these are all questions that a general dentist cannot answer, and hence, they refer you to a periodontist.
Periodontists also have all of the training that general dentists do, but they continued their education experience. While they understand all of the components that make up perfect dental hygiene, they focus on the areas around your teeth. For this, they are a better match to properly place dental implants in your mouth. They understand how the logistics are going to play out with every little detail that general dentists alone aren’t trained for.
Your Periodontist Will Tell You If You Should Get Implants or Not
Periodontists take close attention in your potential periodontal disease, (more commonly referred to as gum disease). If your gums aren’t healthy enough to foster the new implants, then they will not recommend that you get them. When you go to a general dentist, even if they have prior knowledge and suggest dental implants, they could possibly be wasting your time and money by sending you along to a specialist without knowing.
You can skip all that mess and save time by going straight to your periodontist to discuss your options for dental implants. In most cases, your gums will not be healthy enough right away to get dental implants, since most Americans suffer from gum disease. However, with due diligence and the care provided by your periodontist, you can both ascend your oral health to a level where you will be able to receive dental implants.
Your Next Periodontal Visit
When you want to ensure complete accuracy and attention to detail, there’s one single periodontist for you. Call Walker Periodontics & Implant Dentistry at (972) 462-9800 to schedule your consultation and discover what dental implants can do for you.
Stephen S. Walker, D.D.S., M.S.
Dr. Walker is a Diplomate of the American Academy of Periodontology. He grew up in Dallas and attended Baylor College of Dentistry. While at Baylor, he was a member of the Odontological Honors Society and was selected to receive the Oral Biology Award and Merritt-Parks Award in Periodontics.