Replacing missing teeth requires you to make an important decision. There are dental bridges, dentures, dental implants and mini implants for you to consider as a replacement option. Of the three, dental implants are the only permanent choice as well as the most natural, which is what gives dental implants an advantage over dentures and other tooth replacement solutions. Implants are typically titanium screws that are surgically placed into your jawbone. As the area heals, the titanium screws fuse to your jawbone, becoming a natural part of your mouth. The fusing process, otherwise known as osseointegration, is what gives your implants the stability that is necessary to naturally support bridges, dentures or individual replacement teeth.
Choosing your Dental Implant Provider
Dr. Whipple has been a member of the American Academy of Implant Dentistry since 1994. Membership in the Academy of Implant Dentistry requires a residency in maxillofacial surgery and additional intensive training, including 27 days of continuing education each year.
A Natural Alternative to Missing Teeth
Missing teeth can be hard to replace with something that provides the same function as your natural teeth once did. Dental bridges and dentures are a viable option for many patients, but they might not provide the stability to chew on certain foods, talk as easily or smile with confidence. When implants are placed into your jawbone, it gives the replacement teeth a more natural appearance because they too become a part of your mouth, rather than a removable piece that slips while talking or eating. In general, patients find dental implants to be more physically comfortable as well as less damaging to their self-confidence.
Who is a Candidate for Dental Implants?
In order to be eligible for dental implants, we will need to evaluate your jawbone and gum tissue. Adequate jawbone is necessary to give the titanium screws a surface to fuse to; if there is a great deal of bone loss, the implants will be unable to stabilize. In addition, if your gums are affected by gingivitis, they may be too weak to accept the implants. Dr. Richard A. Whipple can evaluate the condition of your mouth and recommend any necessary treatments to get your mouth ready to accept this popular form of replacement teeth.
Why Dental Implants?
There are a variety of reasons that patients opt for dental implants. In some cases it is to replace just one missing tooth in order to eliminate a gap in the patient’s mouth as well as to promote proper oral health. Even one missing tooth can cause the rest of your teeth to shift or you to suffer from bone loss due to a lack of stimulation to the bone in that area. Other reasons that patients receive dental implants include to support over-dentures and dental bridges. Implants provide the stimulation that the bones in your mouth need in order to stay strong. They also offer the most natural appearance, allowing patients to have a high level of self-confidence despite their missing natural teeth.
All-on-4 Treatment Process
For those who have experienced extensive tooth loss, we have a fabulous solution called All-on-4. All-on-4 is designed to replace every tooth in the mouth with a implant-supported, permanent prosthesis.
Restorations for Dental Implants
Restorations for dental implants include anything from single tooth replacements like crowns, to multiple tooth replacement restorations like bridges and full arches.
Explaining the Dental Implant Process
The entire dental implant process takes place over several appointments in our Tigard office. We need to break the entire process down into steps in order to allow your mouth adequate time to heal and for the replacement teeth to look as natural as possible.
Implant Site Preparation
The first step in the process is preparing the bone area where the implants will be placed. We will open your gums to expose the area and determine if there is adequate bone to allow the titanium screws to fuse. If there is a great deal of bone loss, a bone graft might need to be performed in order to bulk the bone back up, giving the implants a solid surface to adhere to before placing them. If the area is ready or after your bone graft has healed, a special drill is utilized to prepare the area for the implants.
Placing the Implant
Once the area is properly prepared, we are able to place the implant into your jawbone. The titanium screws are securely placed into the bone and the area is sutured. After this process is complete, we will remove the sutures within 7 to 14 days, but your mouth will require 3 to 6 months to heal. This allows ample time for the implant to fuse with your jawbone.
Attaching the Post
Once your gums have thoroughly healed, we are able to attach the post to the implant. This is what will support the porcelain crown that will eventually be placed in your mouth. In general, we are able to attach a zirconium abutment, which gives the crown the appearance of a natural tooth and is the reason that dental implants are so popular.
Placing the Crown
Once your mouth is ready for the crown, we will take impressions that will be sent to the lab. The technicians will create a porcelain crown that is customized for your mouth including the exact color of your surrounding teeth. Once the replacement tooth is made we can attach it to the post, giving you a natural smile once again.
Dental implants are not a plausible solution for every patient, especially for those that smoke. Before you undergo the preparation for this process, we will provide an evaluation to determine the likelihood of dental implants being a successful solution for you. Call our Tigard Dental Implants office to schedule an appointment: (503) 620-6133