about dental Implants
Dental implants are artificial tooth roots that are placed beneath your gums as a base for a replacement tooth. Implant dentistry is a safe, surgical practice that allows you to use the artificial tooth naturally. Tooth loss can be concerning for many reasons, primarily when it affects the overall function of your mouth, including the way you talk and chew. Studies show that once you lose your teeth, you lose most of your chewing power. In cases of total tooth loss, your chewing efficiency diminishes from 100 percent to just a mere 25 percent. In most cases, dental implants can return up to 80 percent of normal chewing efficiency for our patients. Dental implants also allow you to naturally taste and chew foods again, which also means better digestion and other health benefits.
Tooth loss also means bone loss, which can result in a lack of support for your gums. When dental implants are placed into the site of a missing tooth or multiple missing teeth, you can save your bone and stop it from disappearing or absorbing away.
How Implants Work
Dental implants are small titanium natural tooth prostheses that go into the bone. They mimic a natural tooth root and provide stability. Some are threaded, and some are not. Here at Searcy Family Dental, most of our dental implants are of the threaded variety.
Dental implants allow for a variety of attachments (such as to dentures or crowns) and are a wonderful cosmetic solution for missing teeth. In the case of denture attachment, they help provide stability and preserve bone. Perhaps the best part? They look, function, and feel extremely similar to your natural teeth.
Implant Care and Maintenance
Dental implants must be cared for and maintained for the life of the implant. Just like natural teeth, they should be brushed at least twice daily. Additionally, new studies show the importance of using a water flosser, such as a Waterpik, on a regular basis. Water flossing provides gentle, pulsating water pressure to blow the food, debris, and bacteria out from around dental implants, keeping the surrounding tissue, bone, and implant itself the healthiest that it can be.
What To Expect
Under typical conditions, and with proper care and maintenance, you should expect your dental implants to last for decades. Some of our patients have dental implants that have lasted for forty years, and they’re going strong. It is important to understand that dental implants are a medical device and the length of success varies from patient to patient, but they are one of the most successful things that we do in dentistry.
The surgical procedure to place dental implants is extremely safe and minor, and most patients opt for local anesthesia only. Most procedures take around one to three hours to complete, and Dr. Barker will help you fully understand the plan and process unique to your own dental implants. In the case of multiple dental implants, replacement and recovery time could take slightly longer than average.
Following your procedure, most patients find relief from any residual discomfort with over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen. We do advise that patients eat a soft diet for a short time following the placement of their dental implants to ensure their success and adhesion to the bone, and all post-operative instructions will be thoroughly covered both before and after each procedure.