Dental implants are a permanent and long lasting solution to replace missing or severely diseased teeth. They are the most ideal alternative because unlike natural teeth, they do not decay, do not become infected and rarely show gum problems associated with natural teeth. Unlike fixed bridges, no alteration of otherwise healthy teeth is required.
The entire implant process is performed over the course of a few months. The first part of the process is to install the implant itself, where a titanium fixture is installed into the jaw to act as a replacement for the root of the missing tooth.
For many patients, the implant must be allowed to stabilize within the jaw bone, which requires about three to six months of healing. During this time the body will form a new bone around the implant, a process called osseointegration. During this healing time you may have temporary crowns installed so that you can eat and speak normally and maintain a proper aesthetic appearance for your smile.
After the implant has integrated, an abutment is placed on the implant. The abutment serves as the foundation for your new tooth. Impressions or molds are taken and sent to our dental laboratory where a custom tooth will be created just for you. Once the restoration is completed you will return to the office, in about three weeks to attach the restoration permanently. Your smile will look just like it used to, and in a very short period of time, the implant will feel just like one of your own teeth.
Dentures full/immediate and partial (all removable)
Dentures are a replacement for missing teeth that can be removed and put back into your mouth as you please. Depending on the patient, they may receive full or partial dentures. Full dentures replace all of the teeth in an upper or lower jaw.
There are two types of full dentures:
- Conventional full dentures: When all the teeth have been removed at an earlier time a full denture can be created in about 6-8 weeks to replace all the missing teeth for either the upper or lower jaw.
- Immediate full dentures: Prior to having your teeth removed, your dentist takes measurements and has dentures fitted for your mouth. After removing the teeth, the dentures are immediately placed in your mouth. The benefit is that you do not have to spend any time without teeth. You will, however, need to have a follow up visit to refit your dentures (since) AS the jawbone will slightly change shape as your mouth heals. The dentures will need to be refit and tightened after the jawbone has healed. This approach allows patients to still have teeth on the day their remaining natural teeth are removed. Additionally, it allows for a better transition during the healing phase while the patient heals and gets used to wearing the denture.
Partial dentures are another option when not all of teeth need to be removed. They replace some missing teeth in an upper or lower jaw and utilize the remaining teeth to help anchor and support the replacement teeth.
All dentures take some time to get used to. The pink colored base of the dentures is placed over your gums. Some people find that at the beginning it feels bulky or that they don’t have enough room for their tongue. Other times the dentures might feel loose. These feelings can affect the way you eat and talk for a little while. Over time, as your mouth becomes accustomed to them you will be able to eat and speak with your dentures, more and more like your natural teeth.
Even though dentures are not real teeth, you should care for them like they are. You should brush them to remove plaque and food particles before removing your dentures. Never use regular toothpaste or other abrasive materials to clean your dentures. This can result in scratching of the surfaces (that are much softer than natural teeth) and may result in staining, discolorations and/or bad tastes.
After removing your dentures, they should be placed directly into room temperature water or a denture cleaning solution. Never use hot water because it could warp the dentures. Never leave your dentures out to become dry as this can cause them to become brittle and more likely to fracture or break. Your dentures are delicate; so make sure you are careful when handling them so you don’t drop them. Also, never try to adjust your dentures yourself. You could ruin them, so you should always seek assistance from your dentist if they feel uncomfortable or loose.