Losing your teeth can be a heartbreaking experience for most. It can feel frustrating and unfair, as you lose the ability to lose many foods that you love! However, this doesn’t have to be the case for many senior citizens across the globe. Dental implants can make a world of difference. If you’re interested in learning more about dental implants, their cost, and the benefits, continue reading.
What are dental implants?
This implant surgery replaces the lost tooth root with a strong metal post. This post looks and works like a screw and can replace damaged and missing teeth with artificial ones that can function like normal teeth. You can eat with them, speak with them, and even brush them like real teeth. This surgery is a remarkable alternative to dentures. You won’t have to take the implants out every night and clean them like you would with dentures.
These implants are placed surgically in the jawbone and serve as the anchor for missing and unhealthy teeth. Dentists will use titanium to ensure the implant does not slip after installation. This material will also prevent decay, making it the perfect long term solution.
Senior citizens with the following issues can make great candidates for dental implants.
- If the patient has missing teeth
- If they have a jawbone that does not have adequate bone to secure implants
- If they have unhealthy oral tissues
- If the patient is unable to wear dentures
- If the patient wants to improve their speech
- If the patient is willing to commit several months for the healing process
- If the patient does not chew or smoke tobacco
Who should get dental implants?
Dental implants aren’t reserved for simply seniors. These implants are an excellent option if someone has been in a car accident that has caused the individual to lose their teeth. If your teeth are weak, and it hurts to chew your food, you can also look into having this procedure done.
Common questions on dental implants
However, if you still have questions regarding dental implants, here are some of the most common questions, outlined and answered!
What are the risks of dental implants?
There are quite a few risks associated with the procedure.
For example, if you get these implants, consider the fact that you can get an infection at the implant sire. You can also risk developing sinus issues. When dental implants are placed in the upper jaw, it can protrude into the sinus cavities and cause long-term issues.
Additionally, you risk injuring surrounding structures in the mouth, like other teeth and blood vessels.
The surgery can also cause nerve damage. However, these risks are worst-case scenarios, as the surgery is a relatively safe procedure! Especially when you work with a highly qualified surgeon. However, this is not a procedure that you can schedule a walk in appointment for. Since it’s such as involved procedure, you’ll need to set a date (perhaps months) in advance/
How can you prepare for your implant surgery?
The planning process will likely involve many specialists — such as a mouth doctor, a dentist, or perhaps an ENT specialist.
You can prepare using this system.
First, you will need to book a comprehensive dental exam. You will have x-rays taken. 3D images will be taken. The specialists may also make multiple models of your mouth to prepare for the surgery.
Next, the doctor will review your medical history with you. During this portion of your appointment, ensure you tell your doctor about all of your previous medical conditions and current medications.
They can draw out the perfect treatment and recovery plan this way.
Your treatment is also tailored to your unique situation and health. Your treatment plan takes into account things like how many teeth you will need replacing, as well as the condition of your jaw and the surrounding teeth.
Anesthesia can help control the pain, but you will need a specific and catered amount. Your doctor will also pick whether general or local anesthesia is for you. The physician will talk with you about your best option. They will also list specifics about eating and drinking before surgery.
This option can also determine how much rest you’ll need for the remainder of the day.
How do dental implants work?
These fixtures are complex. Knowing how they work can make the surgery less intimidating.
The implant surgery is an outpatient surgery that is performed in various stages. There are also long bouts of healing in-between stages. For the record, these steps include the following:
- removal of the damaged tooth or teeth
- grafting of the jawbone and preparation
- dental implant placement
- bone growth and healing session
- artificial tooth placement
This entire process can take many months after you go in for your first consultation.
Most of the time throughout this process is devoted to the healing of the jaw. Bone can take some time to grow back, therefore, you’ll spend most of your time between sessions waiting for the section of bone to repair itself. A solid bone graft can offer better support for the implant.
Here’s a rundown on how they work, as well as an outline of the surgery so you can feel calm and collected when walking into the office.
However, keep in mind, that if you are in a wheelchair, the doctors can help accommodate you as well.
Often, this procedure will require bone grafting. If the jawbone isn’t thick and strong enough for surgery, this extra step may be necessary. However, why is this step so crucial? When you chew, this action exerts a massive amount of pressure on the bone. If the bone can’t support the implant, the surgery will fail. However, there is something that can counteract a weak jaw. A bone graft is an excellent solution. There are many bone graft materials that can be used to build a new and stronger jawbone. The doctor will list many options. For example, you can use your own bone as a bone graft. The doctor will extract materials from other areas of your body. You may also opt for a synthetic bone graft. The doctor will substitute another material for the natural bone that is usually used. You should always talk to your doctor about the best option for you.
It can take several months for the newly transplanted bone to grow sufficiently enough to support the new implant. In certain cases, you may only need minor grafting. This can be done at the same time of surgery. The current condition of your jawbone is what finally determines your surgical gameplan.
Waiting for the bone to grow is the next step/ Once the metal implant post is placed within your jawbone, the osseointegration process begins. During this routine, the jawbone molds and unites with the surface of the dental implant. This process can usually take the longest. It can help provide a solid base for the new tooth or teeth. This is exactly how your natural teeth are tethered to your jaw, so your surgeon will mimic the mouth’s natural design.
Once this process is complete, and the graft has taken, you may need additional surgery to place the abutment. This is the piece where the crown will eventually attach. The minor surgery is usually done with local anesthesia and is held in an outpatient setting.
When placing the abutment, the doctor will check to see if the gums have been exposed to the dental implant. Then, the abutment is attached to the dental implant. Finally, the gum tissue is closed around the abutment, but not over it.
The abutment is attached to the dental implant post when the post is implanted into the gum line. Since it juts out past the gum line, it will be visible when you open your mouth. This allows your doctor to complete the tooth prosthesis. Your gums will have to heal for approximately two weeks before the last step — the false tooth attachment.
Once you are healed and ready for the next step, your doctor will have you choose your new artificial teeth. You may also have to get more impressions of your mouth made beforehand. These impressions are used to make the crown. This process will also ensure a more natural fit. Your doctor will also help you select what type of implants are best. You can get fixed implants, removable implants, or a mixture of both.
They each have their perks. For instance, removable implants can be easily repaired. These are similar to conventional dentures. The doctor can place full or partial removable implants too. They contain artificial teeth and gums. This is mounted to the mental frame placed in surgery.
Fixed implants, on the other hand, are permanently screwed into the abutment. You can’t remove these for daily cleaning. Each crown is attached to its own respective implant. Since these are so strong, several teeth can be replaced at one time if they are bridged together.
How to take care of dental implants
After receiving surgery, you will have to rest for a while in between sessions. However, there are also other ways to care for the new implants.
For starter’s, brush them as you would your teeth. Gunk and food can still get caught in your implants, so you will have to stick to a consistent dental hygiene routine after the procedure. You should also avoid chewing on things like ice. Say goodbye to those trips to the cafeteria ice machine. Chewing on hard objects can damage the implants. You should also continue flossing and using mouthwash to ensure your breath always smells fresh.
As you can see, it’s important to take your health matters into your own hands when reaching a certain age. Consider installing residential lifts in the home if you’re not ready to invest in a new smile just yet!
You should also expect a handful of side effects after the surgery. When you have this done, you can expect some discomfort such as swelling of the face and gums, bruising of the skin, throbbing pain at the implant site, and minor bleeding for the next few days. Your doctor will likely prescribe a series of medications to combat these painful effects from the surgery. This can include antibiotics and painkillers. If you are still experiencing pain after a few weeks, you should contact your doctor immediately.
In conclusion, dental implants are remarkable fixtures that can improve your quality of life. Dental marketing strategies perhaps have convinced you to finally take the plunge with this surgery. If your teeth are falling out, and you feel self-conscious or non-stop pain, consider investing in this procedure. Unlike dentures, they require less upkeep. They also look incredibly natural, so you can feel that boost of confidence again. Whatever your reasoning may be, you’ll be content with your decision to put your health and happiness first.