Dental implants are a stable and permanent restoration for patients with missing teeth. This advanced dental technology can significantly improve the functionality and appearance of patients' smiles. Matthew A. Turner D.D.S., P.C., offers dental implants to residents of Kansas City, MO, at our office in Blue Springs. Possible restorations include dental crowns, dental bridges, and implant-supported dentures. Dental implants work differently than traditional restorations by preventing bone loss to support oral health.
What Are Dental Implants?
A dental implant is a titanium or titanium alloy post that replaces the whole structure of a missing tooth or teeth from root to crown. They are surgically placed in the jaw and fuse to the jawbone for a permanent restoration that looks and feels like a natural tooth. A single implant may be used for a dental crown, or multiple implants may be used for partial and full dentures.
Implants work differently than traditional restorations by preventing bone loss to support oral health.
Dental Implants Candidacy
Patients who are missing one or more teeth may be candidates for dental implants. If you currently wear a denture that you find uncomfortable or limiting, you may also be a very good candidate for this treatment.
Candidates must have ample bone tissue to support the implants. If a patient has insufficient bone density, a bone graft or sinus lift may be necessary. A bone graft transplants donor bone tissue, or places grafting material in the area where a dental implant is needed. A sinus lift is similar but focuses on restoring adequate bone tissue density to the posterior maxilla (upper jaw bone). Undergoing either of these procedures can add several months to your overall timeline since the graft must be fully healed before an implant can be placed.
Certain risk factors can affect dental implant candidacy. These can include:
- Poor oral hygiene
- Advanced gum disease
- Excessive drinking
- Autoimmune disorders
Patients should be non-smokers, or be willing to quit prior to and following implant placement, and be in good overall health. It is important to commit to proper oral care before and after receiving your implants and restoration for treatment to be successful. Good candidates also have a realisitic understanding of the timeline involved, which can take up to several months.
The Dental Implant Procedure
During your consultation, Dr. Turner will evaluate your overall health and examine your teeth, gums, and jaw. He will review his findings with you and thoroughly explain the process for treatment. Once it has been determined that you are a good candidate, your dental implants will be placed by a skilled oral surgeon on our team.
During placement, a combination of local anesthesia and sedation will be used to ensure that your procedure is performed with minimal discomfort and that you are comfortable. An incision will be made in your gums to access your jawbone. A small hole will then be made in your jawbone. That hole will guide the placement of your implant post. Once your post is placed, any incisions that were made will be sutured closed, and gauze will be used to reduce bleeding. Once the procedure is completed, a friend or relative will be allowed to drive you home.
Dental implants deliver one of the highest success rates among restorative treatments.
Once several months of healing have passed, and when your implants have fused to your jawbone, the surgeon will place the abutment. This minor surgery requires creating an incision in your gum tissue to access the dental post. Local anesthesia will be used to numb the surgical site. Light bleeding and swelling are to be expected after this procedure. You should eat only soft foods while taking care not to disturb the treatment site when brushing. Approximately two weeks later, and after gum tissue has healed around your abutment, Dr. Turner will place the permanent restoration.
Your Dental Implant Recovery
Patients should rest for at least 24 hours after surgery. If possible, resting for two to three days while avoiding strenuous activity is advised. You can expect minor pain, swelling, and bleeding during the first day of your recovery after surgery. Dr. Turner may prescribe pain medications to help you control post-operative discomfort. It is recommended that you fill your prescriptions ahead of time. During the first night of sleep after surgery, you should rest with your head elevated. Soft foods are recommended for the first few days after surgery. You can resume normal daily activities after a few days. After a few weeks, you can resume physical activities that Dr. Turner approves.
Benefits and Risks of Implants
Dental implant placement is an oral surgery and as such, there are risks and side effects. Risks may include infection and injury or damage to the surrounding teeth, blood vessels, tissues, and nerves. Dr. Turner practices very conservative implant treatment with proven methods to greatly reduce risks. Temporary side effects may be experienced such as bleeding, pain or discomfort, swelling of the gums or face, and bruising. The best way to minimize the risks of this procedure is to follow the guidelines of a qualified and experienced dentist like Dr. Turner. Patients who continue to smoke, have uncontrolled diabetes, or consume too much alcohol may experience implant failure, meaning the implant does not fuse to the jawbone.
The majority of dentists and patients believe the benefits of dental implants far outweigh the risks. Dental implants deliver one of the highest success rates among restorative treatments. Upwards of 98 percent of these procedures are successful. Implants act just as a natural tooth would, drawing essential nutrients to the jawbone to maintain the structure and tissues and prevent bone loss. Dental implants offer a permanent, more comfortable, and convenient solution over traditional dentures. Since implant restorations cannot be removed, there is no risk that they will slip out of place, which can make speaking and chewing easier. These restorations are cared for and maintained just as you would care for natural teeth. Additionally, dental implant restorations can improve your appearance and make you more confident in social settings.
Restore Your Smile Today
If you are interested in replacing missing teeth or dentures that slip out of place, dental implants may be an ideal solution. If you undergo dental implant placement at our clinic, you will be in expert hands. Dr. Matthew A. Turner has worked at this dental practice since 1991. Both Dr. Turner and his team complete more than 100 hours of continuing education every two years. If you have concerns over the cost of dental implants or other restorative treatments, our office accepts CareCredit® financing. Send our office a message or call (816) 229-1433 today to schedule your consultation with Dr. Turner.