Dental Implant Questions
Q: What are dental implants?
A: Simply put, dental implants are basically replacement teeth that are attached to titanium cylinders. The cylinders act like the roots of the missing teeth and are placed into your jawbone. Dental implants restore both the look and function of your teeth just like your natural teeth. They are much stronger than dentures, because they are attached to the jawbone, and can withstand extreme chewing pressures. Dental implants are currently the preferred treatment for tooth replacement. Click here for information on dentures vs. dental implants.
Q: Who makes a good candidate for dental implants?
A: Dental implants are an excellent option for people who have:
- Good overall oral health, but who may have lost a tooth or teeth due to injury, periodontal (gum) disease, or for some other reason(s)
- Enough bone material in their jaw into which the implant can be placed
Q: What happens during the process of placing implants?
A: There are several stages to the placement of dental implants.
- Surgery is done to implant an anchor into the jawbone. This procedure can last several hours. Once completed, it may take anywhere up to six months for the bone to grow in around the implant (called osseointegration) so that it is firmly attached.
- In a separate, second surgery, a post (titanium cylinder) is attached to the anchor, which acts like the root of a tooth. (Sometimes the post is attached to the anchor during the first surgery, but some people don’t like this because the post can be visible when you open your mouth.) After this second procedure, the gums must heal for one to two weeks.
- Once the gums have healed, artificial teeth (crowns) are made which will fit onto the posts. This may take one to two months and several office visits to finish, because many fittings may be necessary.
Implant dentistry surgery is usually performed on an outpatient basis at either the dentist’s office or a hospital. Either general or local anesthesia may be used. After each stage, pain medications may be prescribed, as well as antibiotics if necessary.
Q: What should I avoid, following dental implant surgery?
A: Avoid items which can break or damage your new implants, such as hard candy or ice, just like you should with your natural teeth. Also, avoid tooth-staining foods and drinks. If you grind your teeth, inform Dr. Konig, so that an appropriate treatment can be prescribed. Otherwise, you may eat and drink normally.
Q: What should I do to care for my dental implants?
A: Make sure to continue to practice outstanding oral hygiene, as you should with your natural teeth. Brush and floss daily, and use special interdental brushes when necessary to care for your implants. Also, visit your dentist regularly.
If you would like to know if you are a candidate for dental implants, set up a dental implant consultation by contacting our experienced Houston implant dentist, Dr. Konig. We happily welcome patients from Houston, Sugar Land, Katy, and Galveston, Texas.