A beautiful smile with all teeth present is one of the most common confidence boosters. When you have several teeth missing or all your teeth missing, you will not only feel embarrassed to smile, but you will be unable to enjoy life as you should. You cannot eat some of your favorite hard foods, and sometimes, you may shy away from people. Having missing teeth can steal your joy. Fortunately, technology has made it possible to have all your teeth replaced and look like your former natural teeth. Dental implants are the answer to permanent replacement of lost teeth. If you are looking at replacing all the teeth in your mouth, you need to find an experienced dentist in dental implants. At Encino Dental Implant, we use the latest technology to replace your missing teeth and give you your smile back.
Understanding Dental Implants
A dental implant is a surgical procedure used to replace the roots of teeth with metal posts and dental crowns that are similar to your natural teeth in appearance and function. This procedure is performed when one wants to replace a single lost tooth or several, even the full mouth. Dental implants are a better alternative to bridgework or dentures that keep shifting.
The jawbone’s condition and the implant type typically determine how the surgery is done. Implant surgery involves various procedures. One of the significant advantages of having dental implants is the stable support it gives to your teeth. During the process, the bone is required to heal securely and entirely around the dental implant. Due to the time needed to recover, it can take months for the procedure of dental implants to be completed.
Fixing the implants is done through a surgical procedure on your jawbone. These implants serve as roots to the missing teeth. The titanium used in implants fuses to your bone, making it impossible for the implants to slip, damage the bone like dentures or bridgework does or make noise. The materials used to replace the teeth are not vulnerable to decay compared to your natural teeth.
Dental implants are ideal if:
- You want to replace a missing tooth or several teeth, and in this case, a full mouth
- Your jawbone has reached its total growth
- Your bone is adequate to support the implants, or you can have your bone grafted
- Your oral tissues are healthy
- You have no conditions that may affect the healing of your bone
- Do not want to put on dentures
- You need your speech improved
- You are prepared to give the process a few months for it to be completed
- You do not smoke tobacco.
Risks to the Dental Implant Procedure
As stated earlier, this is a surgical procedure, and it poses risks, just like other surgical procedures. The problems are, however, rare, if any, and be easily treated. Some of the risks to this procedure include:
- Developing an infection around the implant
- Injuries to other structures that surround the area for the implant such as blood vessels
- Damage to the nerves that can result in a tingling sensation, numbness or pain to the chin, gums or lips
- Sinus complications when upper jaw implants protrude to the sinus cavity.
Preparing for your Full Mouth Dental Implant Treatment
If you feel you need to have a full mouth of dental implants, the first step involves visiting your dentist for a medical evaluation. During the planning process, there is the involvement of several specialists. These may include:
- Maxillofacial and oral surgeons – Dealing with mouth conditions, face and jaw
- A Periodontist - Dentist that specializes in the treatment of structures supporting teeth like bones and gums
- Prosthodontist – A dentist that specializes in designing and fitting of artificial teeth
- An ENT specialist – This, although not always required, is a doctor that specializes in ear, nose, and throat issues.
As earlier stated, the surgical procedure in dental implant installation goes through various stages. In preparing for the process, the following will be carried out by your dentist on your first visit:
- Carrying out a detailed dental evaluation. This may include the taking of X-rays, having CT scans done, or taking 3D images. Models of your mouth and jaw are made at this stage.
- Reviewing your medical history – Your dentist at this time will want to know if you have any health conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, or others. The drugs you take for the state or any over the counter medicines you may be choosing must be revealed. Supplements are also forms of medicines. If you are taking any, you must let your dentist know as well. If you suffer from certain conditions such as those of the heart or have orthopedic implants, your dentist will put you on antibiotics. These are necessary to avoid infections during the procedure.
- The treatment plan – This stage is usually individually based. Each patient has specific needs, such as the number of teeth to be replaced. When requiring a full mouth treatment, your jawbone will be evaluated to establish if it can support the implants.
The surgical procedure cannot happen without anesthesia to control your pain. Various options exist and discuss with your dentist the suitable option for you is essential. You can either be sedated, use local or general anesthesia during the procedure. Your dentist will also advise you on drinking or eating before your surgery. If general anesthesia or sedation is your option, you will need someone to drive you back after the procedure.
What to Expect During Your Full Mouth Dental Implant Procedure
Typically, the surgery is an outpatient procedure, done in various stages and intervals of healing between the steps. Dental implant for full mouth treatment will involve multiple levels, these are:
- Extraction of any damaged teeth that you may still be having
- Preparing your jawbone in case bone grafting is required
- The fixing of dental implants
- Allowing the bone to grow and heal
- Placing of abutment
- Placing of the artificial crowns or teeth
The whole process of treating your mouth to dental implants can take several months to complete. Most of this time is spent healing and waiting for the grafted bone to grow. Some situations, however, and particular procedures performed as well as the materials to use, can result in the combining of specific steps.
When You Need Bone Grafting Before Fixing the Implants
As earlier mentioned, during your initial visit to your dentist, the dental exam will include determining if your bone is thick and robust enough to support implants. If this is not the case, your dentist will suggest bone grafting to help the bone grow and thicken it for implants. When your jawbone is weak, it will not withstand the pressure of chewing either can it support implants sufficiently, failing the treatment. Grafting, therefore, creates a firm base to fit the implants.
There are many materials used to graft your bone. Among the options, there is a natural graft where a bone is harvested from another part of your body. You can also opt for a synthetic graft. This is a substitute material used to provide the necessary support to facilitate the growth of new bone. A bone from an animal can also be used for bone grafting. Of the various options, discussing them with your dentist helps pick out the best option for you.
Before the grafted bone grows sufficiently to support the implants, it could take a few months. In some cases where the bone is not severely damaged, minor grafting may be required. This grafting can be carried out together with the surgery to fit the implants. The primary determinant, however, is your jawbone’s condition.
Fixing Dental Implants
Dental implants are fixed in a surgical procedure. The surgeon makes an incision on the gum to expose the jawbone. Holes are drilled to the jawbone, where the metal posts are fixed. These posts work as the root for the new teeth, and to ensure secure fitting, it is set very deep in the bone.
This process, once completed, will need time to heal. The metal posts must infuse to the bone, as well as for the gum tissues to grow around it. During the healing process, your dentist supplies you with temporary dentures that you use for appearance.
The Abutment Placement
The process where the jawbone begins to grow after the grafting is called osseointegration. When this process is completed, you may require a second surgery to fix the abutment. This is where the attachment of the crown happens as the process of dental implants is completed. This procedure is minor, and local anesthesia is used. During this stage, your dentist will:
- Create an incision that exposes your dental implant posts.
- Next, attaching of the abutment to the metallic posts is done
- The gum around the implant is closed, but the abutment is left exposed above the gums
Some cases have the dentist perform both the installation of the metallic posts and the abutment placement during one procedure. The advantage of this is that only one surgical process is required as opposed to two. The abutments are left exposed over the gum, meaning when your mouth is open, they are visible. Some patients do not like this and opt to undergo another surgery to fix the abutment.
The second surgery to fit the abutment is usually minor, requiring two weeks of healing. Once healed, artificial teeth are then attached to it.
Deciding on Your New Teeth
After the healing of your gums from the surgical procedures, more impressions of your mouth are made. These models are essential in the making of the crowns, which are designed to look like your natural teeth. However, before the tops are fitted, your dentist will examine to see if your bone is stable and robust to withstand the pressure of chewing and supporting the new teeth.
Your dentist will, at this point, discuss the various options of teeth available. You can have removable or fixed crowns. Some people choose a combination of both. After presenting the pros and cons of each option with your doctor, you will settle for what is best for you.
- Removable crowns – These are similar to removable dentures. They contain white prosthetic teeth fixed on a plastic gum. A metallic frame is used to mount them, and then it is set on the abutment. The dentist will ensure the dentures are securely fitted and cannot shift. However, these crowns can be removed to clean and wear them back as one pleases.
- Fixed crowns – With these, the artificial teeth are cemented or screwed on the abutment permanently. This means you will not remove them when you sleep or to clean them. Typically, each tooth is fitted to a single implant. But, because the implants are securely fitted to the jawbone, one implant can support several teeth when bridged together.
Expectations Following the Procedure
After each surgical procedure, some discomfort can be experienced. Some of these include:
- Bruising to the gums and skin
- Your face and gums may swell
- Minor bleeding
- Pain where the implant is fitted
Because of the expected discomfort, your dentist may prescribe pain medicine and antibiotics to stop the discomfort and possible infection. If the distress does not cease after a few days but instead worsens, you will need to speak to your dentist about it.
Following each surgical stage, your diet will comprise soft foods as you heal. Usually, your dentist will use self-dissolving stitches when sealing the incisions.
Many procedures involving dental implants are successful. However, the metal implant and the bone fail to infuse properly. Smoking is known to contribute to the failure of implants. In case this happens, the implants are removed, and the area cleaned up. After a few months, you can have the procedure repeated.
For the excellent results to last, you must:
- Practice high standards of oral hygiene. As you would do with your natural teeth, implants require to be kept clean. Ensure to floss daily and brush your teeth at least twice a day.
- Schedule regular dental checkups. This is essential to ensure your implants are functioning correctly and are healthy. In case of any complications, your dentist will notice it and correct it in time to avoid complications.
- Do not engage in damaging habits. In the same way, you need to care for your natural teeth; you must also care for your implants. Avoid chewing on hard things that can destroy your implants, such as hard candy or ice. If you can avoid caffeine and tobacco, your teeth will maintain their natural color, instead of getting discolored. If you have a problem with grinding your teeth, speak to your dentist. A solution for this must be found to avoid the wearing down of your crowns.
Advantages of Having a Full Mouth Dental Implant Treatment
There are other procedures for replacing your teeth that include bridgework or dentures. However, dental implants have more advantages over these alternatives. Some of these advantages include:
- With dental implants, you reduce the risk of losing your bone. This is achieved when the implants are securely fitted into the jawbones. Due to this, they preserve the bone’s integrity while maintaining its volume and height. This substantially reduces the possibility of losing bone.
- Improved facial features - Because the installation of full mouth dental treatment prevents the loss of bone, the ridges give proper fullness to the lip and cheek region. This makes a person look better, with a fuller face. Bone loss, on the other hand, makes a person’s face seem sunken, and one appears older and wrinkled.
- Improved speech - Dental implants help improve your speech by making it more explicit, compared to other treatments. When you lose teeth, your speech is affected significantly. Lisping and whistling can be observed when one does not replace the teeth properly.
- Improved chewing - Other options may cause discomfort when eating and reduce the efficiency of chewing. Dental implants, on the other hand, because of their secure fitting make eating easier and improve chewing.
- Convenient and comfortable - Because of how the teeth are securely fixed, you eliminate the need to remove them compared to other options. You will not need glue to keep them fitted in place and avoid their embarrassing slip when smiling, eating, or talking. Dental implants are typical to your natural teeth, and most of the time, you will not remember you have them.
- Durable: dental implants are permanently fixed on your mouth. This means, with proper dental hygiene and care, the implants last for years or a lifetime depending on the individual.
- Dental implants also help improve your confidence and self-esteem. Where you were afraid to smile or socialize with people because you felt embarrassed, you can now confidently interact with others.
When a Full Mouth Dental Implant Treatment is Recommended
Although the procedure is ideal for all ages, not everyone that wants it should do it or qualifies for it. There are a few instances where full dental implant treatment is recommended to a patient. These include:
- When you have total edentulism – This is when a person is entirely toothless. Some people may have all their teeth missing. In naturally replacing the teeth, a full mouth treatment is recommended.
- When several teeth are missing or damaged – Sometimes, a patient may still have most of their natural teeth. But, when they are significantly damaged or decayed, a lot of dental procedures may be required to repair them. In such cases, a dentist may recommend a full mouth dental implant treatment as the best option.
- Health and oral hygiene – Some patients may have medical conditions that bar them from having a full mouth dental implant treatment. If the patient is healthy and can maintain excellent oral hygiene for a long time past the procedure, then they qualify. This means an older adult that depends on others and is sickly may not be eligible for the process.
When Full Mouth Treatment is not Recommended
Some specific conditions with a patient may not allow for a full mouth treatment even when the patient is toothless. In these situations, a dentist will recommend other procedures but not dental implants. These conditions over absolute contraindications and they include:
- The general health of the patient: When the patient is not in good health, going through a surgical procedure is not recommended, neither is the use of anesthesia.
- Malignancy: when a patient has active cancer is not recommended for the procedure. Cancer patients are susceptible, and any process may trigger the multiplication of cancer-producing cells.
- Bone disease: some patients may be suffering from severe bone diseases like brittle bone syndrome, Paget’s disease, osteomalacia, or some types of osteoporosis. Because of the weak bones, these patients do not qualify for dental implants.
These are just some of the conditions that disqualify a potential patient from receiving a full mouth dental implant treatment. Your dentist, however, will discuss various other options available and suitable for you to replace your missing teeth.
Types of Full Mouth Dental Implant Systems
When replacing one tooth or a few teeth, fixing them on individual implants may be ideal. On the other hand, this, although doable, can be overwhelming when doing a full mouth treatment. With the advancement of technology, modifications have been made where it is not necessary to have each tooth on one implant. This means you can have fewer implants that support your teeth when correctly angulated. An experienced periodontist will know how to place these implants to support several teeth properly.
These kinds of implants are only available in titanium or its alloys. These are durable materials compared to others that may fracture if sharply angulated.
Dental implants for full mouth treatment come in two systems: the All-on-4 systems and the All-on-6 systems. With the all-on -4 systems, four implants are placed on the lower jaw. Each side is fitted with two implants where the fixing of a full arch is done. The lower jaw is ideal for this system because the bone is more reliable and denser.
The all-on-6 system involves the placing of three implants on either side of the upper jaw. This is because compared to the lower jaw, the upper jawbone is less dense and lighter. The entire arch for the upper jaw is fitted on these implants as well.
Because few implants are used to carry all the teeth in your mouth, your dentist must use high-quality implants. Fixing them securely, at the right angle, and ensuring the bone provides a strong enough base is equally important.
Find a Full Mouth Treatment Dentist Near Me
When you feel you need to have all your teeth replaced using dental implants, the next question is where to find a qualified dentist to install it. Not every dentist is trained or experienced in the dental implant procedure. Finding a qualified and experienced dentist will help you avoid failure of the process or other complications with your health. At Encino Dental Implant, we have performed full mouth dental implant treatment to many patients with excellent results. Call us at 818-810-7535, and let us help you return the joy of your smile.