Though a clean bill of dental health is always the goal to strive for, there are times when even those with the most dedicated dental hygiene routines are simply overcome by aging and pushed toward the need to replace their teeth to regain their smiles.
Fortunately, there are a number of different ways to do so effectively, the most effective of which is the dental implant. Offering a replacement tooth that is not only stronger than any other option, a dental implant is also the most natural solution in terms of looks and feel.
With that being said, if you’re a senior searching for a way to restore their smile, below is a detailed guide to dental implants and how an implant specialist can help you achieve that goal.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are a form of tooth replacement procedure that is capable of fusing a natural-looking prosthetic directly into a patient’s jawbone in a process known as “osseointegration.”
Alongside their top-of-the-line durability and strength, dental implants are also revered for their ability to anchor other teeth replacement options, such as dentures or dental bridges. If you’re looking to replace more than one tooth at a time, implant-supported dentures or bridges can reduce the amount of surgery necessary to restore your smile.
How Dental Implants Benefit Seniors
There are many ways in which dental implants can improve the lives of seniors, such as:
Missing teeth can cause discomfort in many ways, and even certain replacement options are uncomfortable in their own right. On the other hand, dental implants feel just like natural teeth, which can help improve your overall comfort when speaking, chewing, and smiling.
Avoiding certain foods due to your missing teeth can result in the loss of important nutrients, but thankfully, dental implants can restore your ability to enjoy such meals and snacks and help you bring those nutrients back into your life.
Communication can be difficult with missing teeth or even traditional dentures, but restoration via dental implants can improve your speech and help you communicate the way you intend.
It can be difficult to smile confidently, knowing that missing teeth can draw unwanted attention. The bright, healthy, and brand-new smile dental implants can provide will bestow a new sense of self-confidence and an eagerness to smile as often as possible.
The Dental Implant Procedure
If you’re interested in receiving dental implants, you must first visit your dentist for a consultation. There, they will speak to you regarding your need for teeth replacement and then perform an examination to get a better look at your mouth.
If they determine that dental implants would be a viable option for you, they will then refer you to an implant specialist, and on the day of the procedure, you can expect the following process:
Placing the Implant
The dental implant itself is a titanium screw that serves as a replacement for your missing tooth’s root. Your implant specialist will access the jawbone and place the implant within it.
From there, you’ll need to wait for osseointegration to take place to continue with the procedure, a process that can take anywhere from two to six months to occur. The implant specialist will provide you with a set of detailed aftercare instructions that you should follow closely until the time comes to receive the prosthetic.
Attaching the Prosthetic
Once the implant has fused completely with the jawbone, you’ll return to your implant specialist to have them place the crown. This natural-looking prosthetic tooth is typically made of either a combination of metals, porcelain fused to metal, or ceramic. Affixing the crown to the implant is done with the help of a metal abutment that will serve as a bridge between the two.
Once your implant specialist has attached the crown to the implant, the procedure is complete. Your aftercare instructions will now advise you to rinse your mouth regularly and brush gently, and they will also inform you of what foods and behaviors to avoid during the initial healing process. You may be prescribed something to manage any major discomfort, but typically, these procedures are easily manageable with over-the-counter pain medications.
Potential Need for Bone Grafts
If your tooth has been missing for a prolonged period of time, you may experience some bone loss in your jaw, and if it is significant enough, a bone graft procedure may be required. The graft will give your jaw the necessary support for a dental implant. Just note, though, that the need for a bone graft can extend the length of the dental implant process by a few months.
Looking for an Implant Specialist?
If you think dental implants can improve your quality of life, reach out to the office of Dr. Brett Langston today. We’ll help you get started on your journey to restoring your smile.