According to research, one of the most common dental issues faced by adults is tooth loss. This can be caused by a variety of things including genetics, oral hygiene habits, lifestyle habits, health conditions, and more.
Thankfully, you do not have to live with your tooth loss. Covington Complete Dentistry offers several options, including dental implants. However, there are several things to consider in order to determine if you qualify for this tooth replacement option.
What are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are designed to be a permanent tooth replacement solution. This restorative dental option consists of 3 pieces: implant, abutment, and crown. Dental implants look, feel, and function the most like natural teeth. Not only do they replace missing teeth, but they also improve the health of your jawbone, gums, and remaining teeth.
If you are missing one or more teeth and already seeing signs of jawbone deterioration or shifting teeth, it’s not too late. Schedule your consultation with Dr. Baptista Kwok to learn more about dental implants.
Advantages of Dental Implants
Dental implants offer several advantages over other tooth replacement options, including:
- Enhance your natural smile: implants look just like your natural teeth. Therefore, unless you tell them, most people won’t know the difference.
- Look younger: implants preserve jawbone structure, which helps retain facial shape
- Improves confidence: implants are inserted into your jawbone and are fused in place through the process of osseointegration. This means you don’t have to worry about them slipping around when you’re talking, laughing, eating, or kissing.
- No dietary restrictions: implants function like natural teeth, so you don’t have to worry about dietary restrictions.
- Proven to be successful: research shows that with proper care/maintenance, implants have a 90% to 95% success rate.
- Saves money: implants are designed to last a lifetime. While more expensive initially, you’ll save money in the long run because you won’t have to replace them.
Dental Implant Procedure
There are several steps involved in getting dental implants. The process typically takes several months to a year or more to complete.
- Consultation: At Covington Complete Dentistry, the first step to any procedure is the consultation visit. At this time, we will do a comprehensive exam and take x-rays. We will also discuss your goals and expectations for treatment. This will allow us to create a timeline. Our office staff will contact your insurance provider to determine your coverage and provide you with a quote for your portion of treatment.
- Implant placement: If we move forward with treatment, we will start by placing the implant. This involves making an incision in the gum and drilling a small hole in the jawbone. Then, the implant is placed, and the site is closed. Most patients are able to go back to work/school the following day.
- Osseointegration: After implants are placed, the healing process will begin. During this time, osseointegration will occur. This is when the jawbone begins to heal around and fuse with the implant, making it a permanent part of your jaw. This typically takes several weeks to a few months.
- Abutment placement: Once osseointegration has taken place, a small connector piece will be placed on the implant to hold the prosthetic tooth/teeth securely.
- Crown placement: The final step is to place the crown. This will look and feel just like your natural teeth and is permanently fixed in place. For patients getting dentures or a dental bridge, this prosthesis may be fixed or removable.
Eligibility Requirements for Dental Implants
There are certain criteria that must be met in order to be eligible for dental implants. First of all, it’s important to note that you must be willing to undergo invasive oral surgery and you must be willing to invest the time required for the process.
Below, we’ll explore the 4 factors that impact your eligibility for dental implants:
Your gums need to be healthy to support the crown portion of the implant. Healthy gums are firm, pink, and don’t bleed when brushing/flossing. If your gums do bleed a lot or are receding, you may have gum disease. Patients with active gum disease do not qualify for dental implants. However, once the condition is under control, implants might be an option.
In order to be successful, your jawbone must fuse with the implant. This means that your jawbone must be healthy. Your jawbone begins to deteriorate within a few months after tooth loss, which is why it is important to address the problem as quickly as possible.
At Covington Complete Dentistry, we require that patients be at least 18 years old to get dental implants. This is because children under the age of 18 are still growing and developing. We do not have an upper age limit- but it is important to note that older adults are more likely to have osteoporosis, which makes the jawbone too weak to support implants.
The process of osseointegration can take up to 6 months. Smoking can significantly slow down the healing process. Therefore, you are encouraged to quit smoking prior to surgery so that you can heal properly.
Do You Need Dental Implants?
If you are missing one or more teeth, schedule your consultation today with Dr. Baptista Kwok and the team at Covington Complete Dentistry. We can help you learn more about dental implants and your eligibility. We look forward to helping you get your smile back.