Dental implants are the most modern teeth replacement option in Dentistry. This treatment uses advanced and meticulous skills, state-of-the-art technology, and impressive artistry to create a natural-looking and perfectly functional tooth.
If you have a missing tooth and want to learn more about dental implants, carry on reading as we explain everything you need to know about them. We will also let you in on a short guide on how the dental implant process goes at Sierra Dental in SW Calgary.
What is a dental implant?
A dental implant is a fixture that acts as a replacement for a tooth root.
It is composed of three parts:
- Screw – usually of a titanium material, an implant screw is surgically embedded into the jawbone. Over time, the bone will heal around the implant and help with structural and functional support.
- Abutment – this is placed on top of the implant once it has healed. An abutment is used to attach the screw to the future dental prosthesis. This also allows the gum to grow over the implant screw, creating a more natural smile.
- Crown/bridge/denture – lastly, the tooth attachment will depend on the number of teeth you are missing. Crowns are for one missing tooth, a dental bridge for 3 – 5, and a denture for a few or a full set of missing teeth.
When is a dental implant recommended?
Sierra Dental recommends a dental implant for all patients with a missing tooth. Because of the advancements in dental technology in our clinic, we can create an implant tooth that looks and functions exactly like your natural tooth.
However, not all patients are implant candidates. Ideally, our dentists screen patients to determine if they have a healthy body and lifestyle. Patients with habits, conditions, or medications that may impede the success of the implant healing are advised to go over other treatment options for more predictable results.
Dental Implant Process
The process of getting dental implants usually involves five main steps. It starts with getting a consult with our highly-trained implant dentist, then the implant surgery, and getting your artificial tooth done.
First, our dentist must thoroughly examine your mouth and overall health to determine whether you are a good implant candidate. X-rays will also be assessed, along with necessary scans. These are also used as guides for evaluating how many implants are needed and their proper placement.
Once through with your consultation, your dentist will explain the process moving forward. They will create a personalized treatment plan to address your specific smile concerns.
Dental Implant Surgery
Then, you will be scheduled for dental implant surgery. At Sierra Dental, we utilize top-of-the-line implant technology for accurate and precise implant positioning. This also helps minimize and prevent surgical complications and facilitates optimal healing afterward.
If you are missing just one tooth, then one implant fixture is enough. But for those with a few missing teeth, several implants are strategically placed along the jawbone to hold up a bridge or denture.
After surgery, your implant will take around 4 to 6 months to heal. At this time, the bone will fuse with the implant in a process called osseointegration. This stage of the treatment will determine the success or failure of the implant surgery.
To encourage better and faster healing, the surgical area must remain unbothered. Be extra careful when eating anything too hard, cold, or hot. Infection is also something you should be wary of. If you see or feel anything out of the ordinary, call your dentist immediately so they can take a closer look and determine if there is anything to worry about.
With good healing, you should be back in the dentist’s office after a few months and this time for minor surgery to place the abutment. This is tightly locked over the implant and left to heal for another few weeks.
Aside from the positioning of the future prosthesis, an abutment is vital for good gum support around the implant and a more natural look.
Lastly, once the abutment has healed, you will be scheduled for your dental prosthesis. This is placed over the implant abutments to complete your smile makeover.
At Sierra Dental, we have several materials to choose from for your dental prosthesis. For example, if you have a dental crown attached to your implant, you may opt for a metal-porcelain, Emax, or zirconia crown. Our dentist will gladly review these options with you to help you decide.
Bone Grafting in Dental Implants
Aside from the usual implant surgery, your dentist may also recommend other adjunct treatments for optimal treatment results. Such is with bone grafting. This procedure is done before implant surgery to add density, height, and width to your jawbone. With better bone support, there is a higher long-term implant success rate.
Bone grafting for dental implants is ideal for those suffering from a flat bone ridge which is typical for older patients. If it has been a long time since you lost your tooth, your bone may also be less thick to accommodate an implant. But with this treatment, we can alter your bone for an ideal implant placement.
Sinus Lifting in Dental Implants
Aside from bone grafts, your dentist may also recommend you undergo a sinus lift if you are getting an implant done for your upper molar teeth. With lost teeth, the lining of your sinus, which is a hollow, air-filled space above your mouth, may drop. If it is too dangerously close to the implant site, a break on the sinus may occur. This may cause a sinus infection.
This is where an X-ray plays an important role. The lining of your sinus is visible through an X-ray which can help your dentist plan if a sinus lift is needed in your treatment.
Discover Dental Implants in SW Calgary
Missing teeth can take a toll on your confidence. Let our dentists help with that! At Sierra Dental in SW Calgary, we have invested in the latest technology in implant dentistry to deliver global standards of care for our patients.
Book a visit for your implant consultation today to get you on the road to a better, brighter, healthier smile.