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Dental Implants:

A Detailed Guide

Are you missing a tooth, or dealing with broken or decaying teeth? If so, dental implants are one of the best solutions for missing teeth.

From this new guide, you’ll learn the details of dental implants including:

  • What dental implants are
  • Why implants may be a superior solution for you
  • Whether or not you are a good candidate for implants
  • How the procedure typically goes
  • Lots more

If you want to learn more, this guide is for you!

Let’s dive in.

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Part 1

Intro to Dental Implants

1 - what is the service

Introduction

A great smile can work magic. Some dental health issues can take that away from you. If you are dealing with missing, broken, or decaying teeth, your smile will be severely affected. When you can’t enjoy the confidence that comes with a great smile, several aspects of your life can be affected.

A gap in your smile or what some people call an incomplete smile is not the only problem associated with missing, broken, or decaying teeth. Other oral health problems can also result from a missing tooth, such as jaw deterioration, a misaligned bite, loss of more teeth, among others.

Are you missing a tooth or dealing with a broken or decaying teeth, your Calgary Family Dentist in Glenbrook Dental Center can help restore your great smile. Thanks to medical advances, different solutions are available for different dental issues, and dental implants are the best for missing teeth.

According to the Calgary Family Dentist, Dr. James Park, “Implants are one of the longest-term solutions for decayed, broken, or missing teeth”. But what exactly is a dental implant? We will answer this and other pertinent questions to help you understand the entire implant process.

What Is a Dental Implant

A dental implant is simply an artificial replacement for missing teeth. It is designed to look and work like natural teeth, with a titanium tooth root and a porcelain crown false tooth that is anchored to the titanium root. In some instances, a dental bridge may be in place of a false tooth.

Dental implant surgeries follow careful, definite processes. The artificial titanium tooth root is made from biocompatible materials that will remain secure in the jaw bone without causing issues. It is implanted surgically and allowed to heal completely before the porcelain crown false tooth is attached to it. A device called an abutment is used to connect the crown to the implant.

Dental implants resulted from several advances in dental health technology. When properly implanted by an experienced dentist, it is capable of restoring smiles and helping to maintain oral health in the long run. It is considered a much more sustainable solution than alternatives like dentures and bridges.

A dental implant can be used to replace a single missing tooth or several missing teeth. It is highly recommended for tooth loss resulting from decay, injury, oral disease, or grinding. The biocompatible titanium is held in place as surrounding bone and tissue grow naturally around the peg. The natural process is called osseointegration.

Part 2

Should I Get A Dental Implant

2 - getting help for you situation

Why Get A Dental Implant?

You need a dental implant if you are missing a tooth or dealing with other problems like broken or decaying teeth. Dental implants offer a reliable and sustainable way to replace missing or bad teeth.

Dental implants are highly functional and are the most aesthetically successful procedure for teeth replacement.

While there are few other solutions to missing tooth and associated problems, dental implants are regarded as the most successful dental procedure in the field, offering numerous advantages over all others. The basic benefits and the advantages over the alternatives are reasons enough to get a dental implant.

Basic Benefits of Dental Implants

You should consider getting a dental implant for the benefits it offers. There are expected and unexpected benefits that you will get from the procedure; the basic ones include:

  • Correction of altered facial appearance resulting from tooth loss
  • An improved smile that will restore your confidence
  • Full restoration of speaking and chewing ability
  • Replacement of the root of a lost tooth
  • Elimination of oral pain and improved comfort
  • Prevention of bone loss, which is inevitable with missing teeth

Advantages Over Alternatives

As mentioned earlier, dental implants offer advantages over other dental procedure options. Some of its most pronounced advantages include:

  • Aesthetically superior to dentures and bridges
  • A sustainable and long-lasting solution to teeth loss
  • Convenient and easy to maintain
  • No need to alter adjacent teeth in any way
  • Preservation of jaw bone as the body reacts to implants as natural tooth

Should I Get A Dental Implant

Dental implants are functional replacement for missing teeth. It is the best tooth replacement solution for dental patients who are relatively healthy and want a sustainable solution for missing teeth caused by:

  • Tooth decay of any sort
  • Injury to the teeth or gums
  • Teeth grinding
  • A failed root canal
  • Oral diseases and any other cause of tooth loss

Even if you don’t have a missing tooth yet, but dealing with any of the aforementioned dental condition, you may need to get a dental implant. The procedure will not only restore and enhance your smile; it can take care of the underlying problem and prevent further damage.

Can It Help With Bone Loss?

Yes, dental implants can help with bone loss. In fact, prevention of bone loss is one of the core advantages it has over other tooth replacement procedures. This is majorly because the titanium used in the implants are biocompatible and will naturally stimulate bone growth.

There are several conditions that cause bone weakness. Osteoporosis is just one of them. It has been found that the medications used to treat the condition can lead to weak bones in different parts of the body, including the jaw. When the jaw bone is weak, tooth loss is imminent. When you have a missing tooth, further bone loss in the jaw is inevitable.

Over the years, dental implants have been found to be helpful in preventing bone loss. Successful dental implants will result in increased bone density in the jawbone. When bone loss is prevented, the risks of developing other dental issues will be significantly reduced.  

What If I Have Already Lost Bone?

Even if you have already lost bone in the jaw region, a dental implant will still benefit you in many ways. In fact, bone loss should push you to get a dental implant as early as possible. However, your bone will need to be rebuilt before the dental implant.

Depending on the level of bone loss you have suffered before consulting our experienced dentist, there are different techniques that may be recommended for rebuilding and restoration of your jawline. The major techniques are bone augmentation, sinus lift, and ridge expansion.

Bone augmentation aims at restoring bone using additives, grafts, and growth factors. A sinus lift involves the addition of bones below the sinus to correct bone loss that results from missing upper back teeth. A ridge expansion, on the other hand, involves the use of bone graft to widen the jaw. All these will correct bone loss prior to a dental implant, which will prevent further damage and improve oral health significantly.

Part 3

Types of Dental Implants

6 - types of crowns

Dental implants are of different types. According to the dental issue you have, an experienced dentist will recommend the right type of dental implant for you. Here are the three major types you should know about:

Mini

These are small dental implants that are used in areas where there is no adequate space or bone to support a full-size implant design. The lower front teeth area is a good example of an area where there is no adequate space to support a standard dental implant. A mini dental implant will be used to replace a missing tooth in that area of the jawbone. Mini dental implants are also useful in anchoring removable overdentures. They provide added stability without messy adhesives and strips.

Standard

These are the common, standard-sized implants made from biocompatible titanium and used in areas where there are enough bone and space to support them. They are also referred to as traditional implants and are about the same size as a natural tooth root. In most dental implant surgeries, standard implants stand independently from one another to support the crowns. They can also be used in pairs to anchor a multi-tooth bridge.

Implant-Supported Dentures

Implant-supported dentures are special kinds of overdenture that are attached to dental implants to provide support and stability for the denture. They are most useful when patients do not have any teeth in either the upper or lower jaw. They will be used to provide structural support and enhance the longevity of the procedure.

Part 4

Candidates for Implants

3 - about the procedure

Am I A Good Candidate For Implant?

Undoubtedly, a dental implant is the best and most sustainable tooth replacement solution. While the benefits are numerous and the advantages over the other processes are significant, dental implants are not for everyone. This means that not everyone who has lost a tooth or several teeth can rely on this procedure. There are patients that are considered as ideal candidates for it and those who do not qualify.

The best way to be sure of your candidacy for a dental implant is to book a consultation with your Calgary Dentist. The experienced dentist will perform a comprehensive assessment of your oral health to determine the best solutions for you. Depending on the findings of the doctor, you will know whether you are a candidate for the procedure.

In the assessment to determine suitability for dental implants, the dentist tries to ascertain if your jaw has enough bone density to support the implant. You will also be examined for gum diseases and chronic oral issues that may jeopardize the success of dental implants.

If your dental problem is limited to a decayed, broken, or missing tooth, you are a good candidate for dental implants. The procedure is also most ideal for patients who practice good oral hygiene. Overall, you may be an ideal candidate for a dental implant if:

  • You have an adequate bone density to support the implant
  • You have healthy gums and teeth, besides the broken or missing ones
  • You maintain proper oral hygiene
  • You are a non-smoker or are willing to quit smoking for the duration of the procedure
  • You do not have underlying medical conditions that may affect healing abilities (diabetes or autoimmune disorders)
  • You have never undergone any bisphosphonate medication (usually for cancer)
  • You are committed to undergoing the entire procedure that may take up between 4 and 12 months

All the conditions highlighted above are important, but dentists are mostly concerned about bone density. This is because dental implants require strong bone density to withstand the rigorous activities they will be used for, like chewing and eating. The procedure will likely fail if the patient doesn’t have strong bone. However, some of the conditions can be remedied to prepare the patient for dental implants. Your dentist will make the final decision.

What Type of Implant Should I Get?

The type of dental implant you will go for will depend on your unique oral health needs. Your dentist will be in the best position to advise you on the type to go for. He will do this after assessing your general oral health and ascertaining the level of correction that has to be made to restore your smile and improve your dental health. Depending on the area of missing tooth/teeth and the condition of the jawbone, a standard dental implant or a mini dental implant may be recommended.

The type of implant you will get will also depend on the number of teeth you are missing. In fact, this is one of the major determining factors. It is also the best way to understand the cost implication of the procedures. We will discuss the possible types of implants you will need, considering the different possible scenarios.

One Missing Tooth

You can expect that your dental implant will not be extensive or expensive when you are dealing with a single missing tooth. This is not a guarantee that only the missing tooth will be replaced. Your dentist will still need to ascertain your unique oral health needs before making the right decision. The dentist will also evaluate your situation carefully to be sure that a dental implant is the right procedure for you.

In most cases of a single missing tooth, a porcelain crown-topped dental implant is usually the best for the patient. You will learn more about the procedure and why it is the best option for you when you consult your experienced Calgary family dentist. Placing a lone dental implant follows this way:

  • The dentist places the right artificial titanium root in the bone socket of the missing tooth surgically. It will be left to integrate with your jawbone and heal. The integration and healing process will take between three and six months.
  • After the titanium root implant has integrated and healed, the dental surgeon will open the gum tissue in the site and place a small abutment on the root. The gum will be left to heal also.

After the gum tissue has healed completely, the dentist will complete the procedure by placing a custom-made porcelain crown on the abutment.

Multiple Missing Teeth

If you are missing multiple teeth, the procedure may not be as simple as what we described above. In fact, the type of implant you will go for will be entirely different. The dentist will still need to evaluate your unique conditions carefully and determine the best implant for you. In most instances, implant-supported bridges are recommended. The experienced dentist may also recommend a combination of single implants and bridge supported implants sometimes.

The procedures for these types of implants are not entirely different from what we described under a single crown-topped dental implant. The titanium root is placed first and allowed to integrate and heal. Afterward, a dental bridge, which is usually two porcelain crowns and a false tooth, will be placed. Since the bridges, in this case, are supported by dental implants, they are stronger than regular bridges and will be more durable.

Missing a Full Set of Teeth

If you are missing a full set of teeth, you should know that a combination of single implants will not be the best solution. In such extreme cases, your experienced dentist will normally recommend dental implant-supported dentures.

Considering that we normally talk about dental implants as an entirely different solution to dentures, the idea of dental implant-supported dentures may sound a little awkward. There is nothing strange about the procedure; multiple titanium roots are implanted to form a strong support for the special set of dentures you will need.

The procedures involved in this type of implant is similar to the one described above. The titanium roots will be implanted and allowed enough time to integrate and heal. Abutments will be placed on top of the titanium roots, and the gum will be given time to heal too. A set of custom-made dentures will be placed afterward. The experienced dentist will create a set of dentures that are right for your unique needs and place it on the perfect dental implants that will provide the needed durable support.

Part 5

What Is the Procedure Like?

8 - risks of getting a crown

If you have followed closely, you will have a vague idea of what dental implant procedure is like. If you really need a dental implant, you may want to know more about the procedure and what you should expect.

While dental implant procedures are similar, your experience will generally depend on where you get your implant. When you seek dental health services from a skilled and experienced dentist like Dr. James Park of Glenbrook Dental in SW Calgary, the experience will be pleasant all-round. Here is a little peek at what you can expect:

Dr. Park and his cultured team will assess your unique oral health needs to determine if you are a candidate for dental implants. After noting your needs and assessing your suitability for a dental implant, the experienced dentist will recommend the best dental implants for you. He will also explain the details of the procedure and how you can prepare for it. From your first consultation, you will have a good idea of your options and what you can do to make the procedure successful. You can also ask questions and express your concerns.

Preparing for the procedure is not usually a big deal for individuals who maintain good oral hygiene. Unless there is an underlying condition of a habit that can make jeopardize the dental implant, the first procedure may be scheduled in a matter of weeks after the consultation. Depending on the condition of your jawbone, minor procedures like bone augmentation, sinus lift, and a ridge expansion may precede the actual dental implant. The need for other procedures and the type of dental implant will ultimately determine the length of the procedure.

The first major procedure normally involves implantation of the titanium root. The procedure normally starts with an incision in the gums where the implant will attach. Depending on the type of implant, the right size of hole will be drilled in the bone. The implant will be inserted before sewing up the incision. The implant will be left to integrate with the bone and heal properly. A successful implant will be accepted by the bone as part of its natural structure. Integration and healing will take between three and six months.

The second major procedure involves the insertion of the abutment, the device that is used to connect the titanium root implant with the custom-made crown. A new incision will be made to put the abutment on top of the implant. Prior to this or soon afterward, we will arrange an impression of your teeth and implant position. The new crown that will fit perfectly will be made with the best possible material.

You may return for the final procedure in a matter of weeks. The custom-made crown will be placed on the abutment, which helps the surrounding tissue to heal. Once this standard procedure is completed, you will enjoy the renewed function and the confidence of a complete smile.

The procedure described above applies to standard dental implants. To a large extent, it applies to most other types of implants. The only difference is that dental bridges or dentures may be attached to the implanted titanium root instead of a regular crown.

Clearly, the dental implant process takes longer than other tooth replacement options. However, the result is always worth it. Dental implants are reliable and durable.

It is important to note here that there are special instances where patients undergo a one-stage dental implant procedure, where the implant, abutment, and artificial crown are placed in one sitting. The procedure is mostly successful, too. The dentist will decide if it can work in your case.

Part 6

Post-Op Care / Risks

5 - cost of a crown

You may experience mild discomfort and soreness after the procedure. Some of the minor risks associated with the procedures include swelling of the gums and the face, bruising of the gums and skin, pain, and minor bleeding. Most successful dental implant surgeries have very few side effects, which are mostly managed by pain medications.

Other potential risks associated with dental implants include infection, damage to other teeth, damage to blood vessels, nerve damage, and sinus problems if the implant protrudes into the upper jaw. These complications hardly arise when skilled and experienced dentist handles the procedures. In many instances, they are minor and easily treated.

Dental implants restore full functions. In addition to restoring your great smile, it will enable you to eat and chew properly. Following the procedure, you need to take good care of your implant to ensure that it heals completely and offer all the benefits it is expected to offer. You may need a mouth guard for a while after the procedure. Your dentist will determine if this is necessary. You will also need to treat the new teeth implant as you would treat your natural teeth. Proper oral hygiene will extend the lifetime of the implants. You should also visit your dentist as often as recommended.

Part 7

FAQs

7 - faq

Dental implant procedures are relatively painless. If you experience any pain during the procedure, it will be minimal. This is mostly because the bone in your mouth where the implant will be attached has no pain receptors. You will only feel a little irritation during most of the procedures.

As stated above, dental implant surgeries are mostly painless. Most people attest that it is more comfortable than having a tooth removed. You may feel localized pain in the area of the gums where the incision is made, and this can be easily treated. If you feel any sort of discomfort, it should disappear within 24 hours.

Most dental implants require several appointments, making the length of time the entire process will take a little complex. The real installation may take less than an hour, but the implant will need to integrate and heal properly before abutment and crowns are attached. Depending on your unique oral health needs, the time it will take from initial consultation to the final restoration placement can be anything between 6 and 12 months.

Following dental implant procedures, patients may experience soreness and mild pain. These can clear in a matter of hours. The proper healing takes a little longer. After the insertion of the implant, osseointegration, which is the natural process of the bone accepting the implant, can take between three and six months. This integration and healing process must be completed before the implant can support the crown or alternatives like dental bridges or dentures. You shouldn’t experience pain or discomfort during this long healing process.

There are several factors that influence the cost of dental implants. When you are dealing with a single tooth, the cost is relatively less. Other factors come into play, however, such as the size of the missing tooth and the position of the implant.

For an exact estimate of your implant cost, please consult Dr. Park and he will you know.

Our Calgary office at Glenbrook Dental follows the Alberta Dental Association fee schedule, so you will not get charged more than the going-rate for your implant.

Full mouth procedures are based on many different factors, including your oral health condition and the suitable type of dental implant recommended. 

Particularly for a more complex case such as a full mouth case, seeing Dr. Park for a consultation is vital.

Dr. Park has successfully conducted many full-mouth procedures in his career, and continues to do so.

Most dental implants are made of titanium, a hypoallergenic metal. This is the most reliable metal for dental implants and other health-related procedures like a surgical joint replacement. Titanium is preferred for dental implants because it is biocompatible. It is one of few natural metals that can be accepted and integrated into bones naturally.  

Yes, dental implants are absolutely safe. The best Calgary dental implants are made from titanium, which is very friendly to the human body. The titanium implant will trigger osseointegration, which is the natural integration of the metal with the jawbone. It will fuse the implant permanently into place without causing any sort of harm.

Dental implants normally last a lifetime. Yes, you read it right. The procedure is the most sustainable solution for decayed, broken, or missing teeth. The osseointegration process fuses the implant directly within the bone.

There are few risks and complications, but they are mostly minor and easily treatable. Infections are rare, just like sinus cavity injury and other complications.

The only thing that can be considered as a downside is the cost of dental implants, which can be out of reach for some who need it. As mentioned earlier, at Glenbrook Dental, Dr. James Park follows the ADA fee schedule, so you don’t get charged more than Alberta’s going-rate for implants. 

Part 8

Booking Your Appointment

4 - scheduling your booking

Request An Appointment

Discover how our team at Glenbrook Dental can guide you along your dental health path. When you request an appointment, our receptionist will return your message within 1 business day. Her name is Marj.

Part 9

Further Readings

9 - related info2

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