Losing permanent teeth can negatively affect your oral health and quality of life, but it doesn’t have to. Thanks to dental implants, it’s possible to restore your smile. At Chesterfield Dentistry, cosmetic dentist Melba Akinwande, DDS, and the team specialize in placing and restoring dental implants. They can provide most people with a custom and affordable treatment plan in a comfortable environment. To make an appointment, call the office in Chesterfield, Missouri, or book online today.
A dental implant is a titanium post that replaces your natural tooth root. Your Chesterfield Dentistry provider inserts the implants into spaces in your jaw where your permanent teeth used to be.
The rise of dental implants over the past 10-15 years has been phenomenal. According to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry (AAID), over 3 million Americans currently have dental implants. This is set to increase to around 500,000 per year moving forward. There are several reasons for this.
First, with the internet’s rising popularity, there’s far more information available, and people have a better understanding of how implants work. Secondly, there are more dental offices offering dental implants. So now, virtually anyone anywhere in America can have implant treatment done locally. Lastly, improved payment plans allow patients to spread the cost over time, making implants more affordable.
Unlike conventional dentures that sit on the gum line, dental implants are anchored directly into the jaw bone, making them stronger and more durable.
What’s more, if cared for properly, implants can outlast conventional dentures by as much as three times. They’re also more lifelike and easier to maintain than dentures as they don’t require you to remove them from your mouth and soak them.
Perhaps the most significant advantage of dental implants is that they help prevent the bone loss that occurs when you have missing teeth. This is something that conventional dentures can’t do.
Most people know that dental implants replace a missing tooth on a one-for-one basis, but they might not know that they can also be used as a stand-alone support for a bridge and retaining a denture. In addition to replacing missing teeth, dental implants provide a solid base to support a wide variety of prosthetic teeth. The process is completed in several stages.
During the consultation, Dr. Akinwande performs a series of examinations such as CT scans and/or X-rays to evaluate your bone density. You’ll also be asked questions regarding your past medical history and lifestyle. This ensures the best chances of implant success. Based on his findings and your needs and goals, Dr. Akinwande personalizes a treatment plan unique to you.
The next step in the implant process is to undergo surgery. Provided that you have sufficient jawbone and a healthy mouth, the Chesterfield Dentistry team will place the implant. This is done with a mild to moderate anesthetic so you remain awake.
The procedure is relatively quick (normally 1-2 hours) and pain-free. First, Dr. Akinwande drills a small hole into the jaw and inserts the titanium rod (this is the implant). Next, a crown is placed on the implant to protect it, and the gum area is enclosed to fit around the implant.
The next stage is osseointegration, where the surrounding bone tissue fuses with the titanium implant over time. This is a vital part of the process and gives the implant its strong and durable nature. This typically takes between 3-6 months to complete, and in the meantime, patients can carry on with their daily lives. In the case of multiple missing teeth, patients may also be issued temporary dentures.
Once the bone tissue has successfully fused with the implant, the abutment can be fitted. This is the second stage of surgery.
Again a local anesthetic is administered, and Dr. Akinwande attaches the abutment. The abutment connects the prosthetic crown and the titanium implant and acts as a shock absorber when biting down on the tooth, so it’s a vital part of the process.
Some weeks later, you return to the office where your temporary crown is removed and replaced with a permanent restoration. Generally, the whole process takes between 4 and 9 months to complete depending upon the individual. However, the process can often take longer if you require a bone graft before placing the implants.
If you’re considering dental implants, you might be worried about the process. Dr. Akinwande and the Chesterfield Dentistry team can explain the procedure in detail.
Your treatment plan will outline what treatments you need and when so you know what to expect. We can also put you in touch with people who have had the process completed if you wish to give you peace of mind. You can always ask any questions or voice any concerns that you have at any stage during the process.
Because the implant process involves a surgical procedure, it’s normal to feel a small amount of discomfort and/or swelling and bruising afterward. This depends on the treatments you’ve endured. For instance, it isn’t uncommon for a person who has had a straightforward implant to return to work the very next day with little or no signs of bruising/swelling. Conversely, a patient who requires multiple implants may take longer to recover.
That said, any pain or discomfort should be minimal and is usually manageable with over-the-counter pain relievers. You may also be asked to eat softer foods for the first 2-3 weeks.
The bottom line is that dental implants can make a whole world of difference in your everyday life. Implants can restore your smile, confidence, and appearance.
To learn more about dental implants, call Chesterfield Dentistry or book an appointment online today.