A dental implant or endosseous implant is a post made of titanium that is installed surgically to function as the root of a tooth. The post is positioned inside the jawbone to help the dentist mount a replacement tooth or install a bridge in an area that was previously empty. Surgical installation of implants makes them sturdy, so they don't come loose as the case with dentures, which makes them a better solution for mouth gaps.

Dental implants also promote overall oral health as they are not anchored on other teeth like what happens with crowns and bridges. Encino Dental Implant is a full service dental implant practice that has decades of experience installing dental implants and achieving positive lasting impacts. We understand that some clients are not familiar with dental implants, so we have prepared this article to discuss their benefits.

Why Do I Need Dental Implants?

These artificial dental components are surgically attached to the jawbone to support different prostheses like bridges, crowns, dentures, and orthodontic anchors. They are the best solution for missing teeth and are suitable for people who are healthy enough for routine dental extractions. People who have diabetes or other chronic disorders are not ideal candidates for dental implants. Oral surgeons also consider the health of your gums and the bones for holding the proposed implant in place.

There are several warning signs that you need dental fixtures:

  • You have one or more missing teeth
  • You have severely cracked teeth
  • Dental caries is becoming hard to ignore
  • You have a sunk-in look due to missing teeth
  • You have loose-fitting dentures
  • Bone loss is taking root
  • Teeth malfunctioning when speaking or chewing

What Kinds of Dental Implants Are Available?

The American Dental Association has certified two kinds of implants for patients:

Dentists install these implants surgically into the jawbone. Once the adjacent gum tissue is fully healed, a follow-up surgery is done to link a post to the implant. The dentist will then attach an artificial tooth to the post, and this can be done individually or using a bridge or denture.

These implants can either be blade or cylinder, among other types. The cylinder form comprises a screw, ceramic, a small barrel made of titanium, and an abutment. The blade kind differs as it can have one or more abutments. Whichever type you choose, the prosthetic tooth replacement is placed on the abutment portion of the implant.

What is the Installation Process for Endosteal Implants?

Installing this form of a dental implant requires two surgical procedures, and the subperiosteal must be tailor-made to fit the contours of your bone.

  • Opening the Gum Tissue

The oral surgeon will apply local anesthesia then start by opening the gum tissue with a scalpel to expose the underlying bone. They will take a bone impression is capturing the contours of where the frame will sit and where the struts holding bridges will stand. They will then close the gums with sutures until the next surgery.

  • Placing the Implant

The surgeon will reopen the gum tissue with a scalpel and place the implant into the bone and use small screws to hold it in place, if necessary. The muscles are then sutured back over the frame, leaving anchor pieces protruding above the gum line. At last, the surgeon places a provisional bridge over the anchor pieces (per mucosal extensions) and leaves the oral tissue to heal over it.

  • Cementing a Bridge

Once the gums have healed properly, the surgeon can cement a bridge that matches your natural teeth atop these extensions. The process is now complete pending dental visits every six months to monitor progress and address problems that may arise.

Please note, the complication rate for endosteal implants is rather high, but patients can bolster their chances of success by upholding excellent oral hygiene. You also need to follow the post-operative guidelines from the oral surgeon, such as only eating soft foods in the week following. Avoid damaging habits like smoking as they heighten the risk of your implant failing, and that would be a wasted investment.

Finally, visit your dentist every six months for a thorough inspection to detect any problems. You may have to go back sooner to remove the stitches or check for gum infections. Dentists will advise on subsequent oral appointments. 

  • Subperiosteal Implants

This kind of implants have a metal framework that is fitted onto the jawbone beneath the gum tissue. The attachment posts extend down to the gingival tissue to gain prosthesis anchorage

As the gums heal, the frame is fixed to the jawbone, and posts attached to the frame stick out through the gums. The final stage is mounting artificial teeth onto the posts.

What is the Installation Process for Subperiosteal Implants?

  • Oral Exam and Extraction

The process of getting implants starts with removing a damaged tooth or examining an empty socket and determining that installing a dental implant is the best solution. Only a qualified dentist can make this conclusion, and that is why we advise patients to visit Encino Dental Implant first for an oral exam.

  • Understand the Implant Process

During the consultation, we shall explain what the process entails, so you know what to expect over the series of appointments. Every patient's situation is unique, and we have found that having a tailor-made treatment plan increases your chances of success. We also discuss the time and money investment that is required when getting an implant so you can plan your life accordingly. If you have dental insurance, you need to check if this procedure is covered and to what extent. Most plans don't cover cosmetic procedures like teeth whitening, but depending on the cause of tooth loss, the policy might include an implant.

  • Schedule First Procedure

Once you have understood the process and are finally prepared for it, the next step is scheduling a date to install the screw and cylinder parts. The attending dentist may prescribe medications like antibiotics for use before and after the surgical procedure if deemed necessary. The surgeon will allow time for the bone to heal, which is usually four to six weeks.

Please note, bone grafting may be necessary if the jawbone is not thick enough to support the implant. If there is not enough support, the implant will succumb to the forces of chewing. Bone grafting creates a solid base for the artificial root, and it can be done using natural bone harvested from another body part. The surgeon can also use bone-substitute material to facilitate new bone growth. The choice of grafting material depends on what you and your surgeon determine as the best option.

  • Osseointegration

During the break, the bone is expected to grow around the implant so your body can entirely accept it, and this process is known as osseointegration. This bonding of your bone and implant is necessary for a strong foundation and enduring health once the installation process is finished. You are allowed to eat and regularly drink during this time.

  • Fixing the Abutment

After the bonding process that takes slightly over a month, the patient returns for an inspection. If everything is beautiful, the oral surgeon places the abutment atop the dental implant. They will then fabricate a dental crown, denture, or bridge to replace the missing tooth, thus completing the installation process. The crown cannot be placed until the jawbone is sturdy enough to support a new tooth and the ensuing function, such as biting foods.

Overall, the process of installing dental implants takes place in six steps as follows:

  • Removing the affected tooth or whatever portion is still there
  • Preparing the jawbone, otherwise known as grafting
  • Placing the dental implant
  • Allowing for healing and bone growth
  • Placing the abutment
  • Installing the artificial tooth

What Can I Expect After Installing Dental Implants?

Once the installation process is complete, we advise patients to be on the lookout for the following minor problems:

  • Swelling of the gums and face
  • The skin and gums may be bruised
  • Minor bleeding
  • Some level of pain at the implant site
  • Allergic reactions to titanium alloy

These problems are mostly temporary and should go away within a few days after surgery. Your oral surgeon will prescribe antibiotics and pain medications to alleviate the discomfort and stave off infections. If the symptoms persist, please contact your oral surgeon for further consultation.

What Are the Benefits of Dental Implants?

There are many benefits to getting these artificial tooth roots, and we shall look at some of them below.

  • Better appearance - having dental implants improves your appearance when you speak or smile as they look and feel like natural teeth. More so, the healing process allows time for them to infuse with the jawbone, so this solution becomes permanent. Once the implants are in place, you don't have to worry about going back for more procedures.
  • Improved self-esteem – losing teeth affect your smile, and you may want to avoid social situations where people may spot gaps in your mouth. Regaining your beautiful smile gives your self-esteem a much-needed boost, so you don't have to shy away from social gatherings.
  • No speech problems – some people prefer to solve gaps in their mouths by wearing dentures, but this solution does not always yield great results. Dentures can be ill-fitted, which makes them slip inside the mouth, and this is not only uncomfortable but also bad for speech. You may find yourself mumbling words or slurring, which is embarrassing in social situations. If you opt for dental implants, you can speak without worrying about such problems.
  • Better comfort – dental implants eventually become part of your jawbone, so you don't experience the discomfort that comes with removable dentures. The pleasure of dentures is not enduring as the jawbone grows thinner over time, thus causing the dentures to slide and make the gum sore. Investing in dental fixtures assures you long-lasting comfort.
  • More natural eating – dentures tend to slide over the mouth, and this can make chewing difficult, especially when eating harder foods. Dental implants function like natural teeth and can withstand greater biting force than dentures. This option allows you to continue eating your favorite foods without experiencing pain or being too self-conscious.
  • Convenience – while dentures are removable, dental implants are permanent this inconvenience of removing dentures and putting them back on. In the same breath, implants eliminate the need for applying adhesives as the case with dentures.
  • Promote oral health – unlike other restoration procedures like installing crowns and bridges, dental implants don't require reducing adjacent teeth in the preparation process. When adjacent teeth are not altered to anchor the implant, more of your natural teeth remain intact, and this improves oral health. More so, individual implants allow better access between teeth so you can brush and floss every day and keep your mouth clean.
  • Durability – if you are seeking a long-lasting solution to missing teeth, dental fixtures are very durable. They will serve you for years to come before requiring additional work. Encino Dental Implant advises patients to take great care of these implants so that this investment can last a lifetime.

How Can I Take Care of Dental Implants?

Once the installation process is done correctly, the onus is on patients to take care of dental implants so they can serve them for long. Here are a few precautionary measures you can choose to boost your chances of success:

  • Maintain proper oral hygiene – you must brush your teeth twice per day and floss once per day. Brush twice a day and floss once daily. Interdental brushes and brushes that slide between teeth are ideal for helping you clean around the implant, so there are no food particles trapped therein.
  • Regular dental visits – make a point of seeing your dentist every six months for professional teeth cleaning and inspection. Your dentist will ensure the implant is in perfect condition and remains that way.
  • Quit smoking – our dental experts encourage patients who smoke to quit this habit as it can make the bone structure weak, and eventually, the implant will fail. There are many ways of quitting smoking, such as seeing a hypnotherapist or managing cigarette cravings and reinforcing triumphs.
  • Avoid chewing on hard foods – biting on hard items like candy or ice is detrimental as they can break the crown and render it dysfunctional. More so, hard things can fracture your natural teeth surrounding the implant area, thus making it weak.

What Factors Influence the Success of Dental Implants?

Taking great care of your implants is supposed to increase the rate of success, but other factors determine the success or lack thereof of your implants. Our experts at Encino Dental Implant have a wealth of experience installing dental fixtures, and we usually consider the following factors per client:

  • Are you a Smoker?

We mentioned that smoking is a damaging habit that will impede the success of dental implants. It restricts blood circulation to the gums; thus, the healing process takes longer than the standard four to six weeks. More so, there is empirical evidence  that surmises people who smoke have a higher rate of implant failure that can go up to 20 percent.

Quitting smoking is not easy, and many people try various methods and are successful only to resume the habit later on. Being a smoker should not deter you from seeking artificial roots to address missing teeth, but you are highly advised to stop smoking a week before the procedure. Moreover, you will refrain from smoking for about two months after the process to allow healing to take place.

  • Gum disease

Do you have periodontal disease? Having healthy gums is essential for dental implant surgery, so if you have gingivitis or another gum ailment, the oral surgeon cannot proceed with the installation. As the name suggests, gum disease affects the gums and jaws, and installing an implant in an infected area is fruitless. If you have gum-related problems, they must be addressed adequately before getting artificial roots.

  • Insufficient Jaw Bone

The installation of dental implants depends on having enough bone to give anchorage. If there is not enough healthy bone, your dentist cannot place the artificial root into your jaw. From our years of experience, people who suffer from osteoporosis or gum disease have reduced jaw bone density. The remaining bones are susceptible to fractures, so they cannot give the necessary support for implantation.

  • Chronic Diseases

If you have medical conditions like diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis, the dental implant is more likely to fail due to a compromised immune system. This condition causes the body to heal slowly. If the healing process slows down, osseointegration will not happen, and therefore, the implant cannot integrate with your jaw bone.

Some prescription drugs like heartburn medication can also trigger dental implant failure, so you need to discuss any medications. Mention any over-the-counter medicines like painkillers that you are currently taking. If being on medication affects the infusion between the implant and the jaw bone, the oral surgeon may recommend postponing the procedure until you complete the dosage.

  • Inadequate Oral Hygiene

You are required to uphold proper oral hygiene even after the implant surgery, and patients who neglect to do so have a lower success rate. Problems cleaning your teeth due to poor oral hygiene habits or limitations beyond your control disqualify you for dental implants.

  • Unqualified Surgeon

You may check all the boxes for dental implants, but if you don't see a qualified surgeon, the whole process will be compromised. Just like medical doctors and other practitioners, not all surgeons are adept at what they do or have enough experience in this craft. We have seen patients coming to us after their implants failed spectacularly due to surgeon negligence, and the aftermath is not easy to handle.

An experienced surgeon understands how many implants are needed to support tooth replacement, so there is no excess stress on the artificial root. Too much pressure would make the implant fail. Iatrogenic trauma is yet another problem you will avoid if you hire a skilled professional. This injury to the periodontal tissue is common during such procedures, and inexperienced dentists can leave you with more problems than you had initially.

Encino Dental Implant has qualified oral surgeons with considerable experience installing dental implants and achieves lasting results for clients. Do not compromise on this restoration procedure; hire the best oral surgeons in town for guaranteed results.  We shall run through the process and recovery plan with you so you understand what you are signing up for and make an informed decision.

What are the Signs of Dental Implant Failure?

While we highly advocate for dental implants, not all procedures are successful despite hiring the best surgeon and following their instructions. Here are some long-term complications associated with artificial roots:

  • Artificial roots placed inside the upper jaw may overhang into the sinus cavity.
  • Nerve or tissue damage when an implant is placed too near a nerve. When this happens, there could be tingling in the tongue, gums, or lips.
  • Rejection of the implant and while this is relatively uncommon, we cannot rule it out 100 percent. Tell-Tale signs of rejection include fever, chills, and pain at the implant site.
  • The adjacent area may be injured and not provide enough anchorage, so the root becomes loose and eventually fail to function as desired.

Find the Best Oral Surgeon Near Me

Dental Implants are a viable solution for one or more missing teeth, and we recommend it to patients provided they meet the eligibility criteria. We also advise clients to seek only the best oral surgeons for the job to bolster their chances of success and avoid the negative impacts of implant failure. As a precaution, ask potential surgeons about their years of experience, several operations per year, and their success rate.

Encino Dental Implant is highly acclaimed for implant procedures, and our team of oral surgeons has years of experience performing these operations with an impressive success rate. Contact us at 818-810-7535 for a consultation with our dental team so we can determine if artificial roots are ideal for you.