Dental implants are artificial tooth roots that replace missing teeth. A complete implant includes a substitute tooth root, a connector, and a ceramic crown to replace the crown of your natural tooth. Implants also function like natural teeth, stimulating the jawbone and keeping it healthy to support your replacement teeth. Dr. Ryan Hambleton offers high-quality dental implants to patients in Littleton, Colorado, and strives to ensure you have a positive, comfortable dental experience.
Why Are Dental Implants the Preferred Method of Tooth Replacement?
Dental implants are the preferred method of tooth replacement because they mimic natural teeth from root to crown. Implants are effective for these reasons:
- Your jawbone supports dental implants. Unlike a dental bridge that requires shaving down adjacent teeth to anchor it or a partial denture that clasps onto neighboring teeth, implants do not harm other teeth.
- The substitute tooth roots stimulate the jawbone and prevent resorption wherever natural teeth are missing.
- For more than forty years, scientific literature has confirmed that dental implants have a long-term success rate of 95 percent—higher than other treatment options.
- Implants can last a lifetime with the proper care. Replacement teeth attached to implants outlast other options, which wear out in five to ten years.
- The longevity of dental implants makes them more cost-effective in the long term. Other options require replacement every five to ten years.
Benefits of Dental Implants
Dental implants have unique benefits compared with other tooth replacement options:
- Stimulate Jawbone. Like natural tooth roots, dental implants stimulate the jawbone and prevent shrinkage. With your jawbone intact to support your facial muscles, you can retain your face shape and avoid premature sagging.
- Outlast Other Options. Clinical research shows that dental implants have a long-term success rate of over 95 percent—significantly higher than other tooth replacement options. The design of implant root forms helps them last a long time.
- Preserve Adjacent Teeth. Your jawbone supports dental implants, so adjacent natural teeth are unharmed. In contrast, shaved-down natural teeth anchor a dental bridge, and a partial denture that clasps onto neighboring teeth.
- Look Natural. A single dental implant looks like a natural tooth emerging from your gums. And implant-supported dentures fit securely and look natural. Dr. Hambleton and your dentist will coordinate your care for precise implant position and natural-looking replacement teeth.
- Function Efficiently. The stability of dental implants in your jawbone provides optimal function. Many patients forget they have implants because they function like natural teeth.
How Will My Surgeon Determine Whether I Am a Candidate for Dental Implants?
Dr. Hambleton is a highly-skilled, board-certified oral surgeon with the skills and technology to evaluate your oral health accurately and determine whether you are a candidate for dental implants. Most people with good overall health qualify.
During your evaluation and consultation, you can expect the following from Dr. Hambleton:
- Listen to the improvements you want for your teeth and smile
- Review your medical and dental histories
- Use 3-D cone beam imaging to assess the quality and quantity of your jawbone
- Determine how many implants will achieve your goals and support your oral health
- Assess whether other procedures, such as bone or gum grafting, are necessary for healthy implants
After completing your exam and evaluation, Dr. Hambleton will determine whether you are a candidate for implants and which methods will work best for your case. He will discuss your treatment options, what you can expect, and the estimated cost.
Dr. Hambleton will develop your treatment plan for dental implants and other procedures as needed. Implant placement and restoration include these steps:
Tooth Removal and Bone Grafting
Dr. Hambleton will remove any decayed or damaged teeth that he will replace with implants. If you require bone grafting after tooth removal, he may complete both procedures during the same visit. Also, if you lack enough bone volume in areas of missing teeth, a grafting procedure will precede implant placement. After four to six months, the graft will heal and harden, and Dr. Hambleton will place the implants.
Anesthesia will maximize your comfort during surgery. Dr. Hambleton will perform computer-guided surgery to make a small incision through your gums and a precise opening for each implant. After placing the implants, he will attach a small cover screw for temporary tooth replacement. Your jawbone and implant will integrate during the next three to four months.
After the implants and your bone fuse, Dr. Hambleton will expose each implant and attach an abutment, or connector, to the top. Dr. Hambleton and your general dentist will predetermine the best abutment size for your replacement teeth. Implants often require custom abutments to achieve the optimal position and match the size of replacement teeth.
After your gums heal around the abutments, your dentist will take impressions of your mouth and the abutments for your final replacement teeth. Next, your dentist will send the impressions and instructions for tooth shade to a dental ceramist who will craft your custom teeth. When your replacement teeth are ready, your dentist will attach them to the abutments.
Post-Op and Recovery
Immediately after dental implant placement, you will experience mild bleeding and swelling as your body reacts to surgery and healing. Swelling will peak in two to three days, and you can use cold packs on the sides of your face to minimize it. We will give you instructions on when and how to take anti-inflammatory or prescription medication, including antibiotics from Dr. Hambleton. Taking the medication as directed will keep you comfortable as you heal.
Plan to relax at home for the first 48 hours after surgery. We will encourage you to avoid activities that can disrupt the implants or loosen blood clots, such as drinking through a straw or vigorous exercise or work. As you heal, it is essential to avoid disturbing the implant sites. For three to four months, limit your diet to soft foods. Initially, you will eat foods that do not require any chewing, and with time, you can progress to soft foods that require minimal chewing.
Keeping your mouth clean is essential for preventing infection and promoting healing. After the first day, rinse your mouth with warm salt water and begin brushing your teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush while avoiding the implant sites.
You will have periodic follow-up visits to check the health of your implants and surrounding tissue.
You’re in Good Hands with Dr. Hambleton
Dr. Hambleton follows a meticulous process for dental implant planning and placement. He uses innovative tools and techniques for precise, effective treatment. Also, he selects quality implant fixtures in the optimal size to replace missing teeth and harmonize with your bite. The results will look and feel natural. Our entire team wants to ensure you have positive, comfortable experiences from consultation to completion. Highlands Ranch Oral & Facial Surgery welcomes you to request a consultation today at (720) 996-0210.