Are you missing one or more teeth, and looking for a permanent solution? At Whitlow Dental Care, led by Fresno implant dentist, Dr. Kurt Whitlow, we offer dental implants, the ideal solution for permanent tooth replacement. Dental implants can help you eat, speak, and smile your best, potentially for the rest of your life! Learn more about dental implants by calling Whitlow Dental Care at 559-441-7700 or keep reading the helpful guide below to learn more.
What are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are artificial tooth roots typically made of biocompatible materials like titanium. They’re surgically placed into the jawbone beneath the gums to provide a stable foundation for artificial teeth such as crowns and bridges, or dentures.
Dental implants can traditionally be broken into three parts:
- Implant Post: The titanium post is surgically placed in the jawbone to serve as the artificial tooth root.
- Abutment: The connector that links the implant post to the restoration (crown, bridge, or denture).
- Restoration: The visible part of the implant, custom-made to match your natural teeth, and attached to the abutment.
Benefits of Dental Implant Solutions
Dental implants continue to reign as the gold standard for tooth replacement for many reasons, some of which include:
- Enhanced Aesthetics: Dental implants provide a natural-looking and natural-feeling solution.
- Improved Functionality: With dental implant solutions, you can enjoy full chewing ability and speech without slipping or discomfort.
- Durability: Dental implants are long-lasting, often enduring for a lifetime with proper care.
- Preserve Bone Health: Implants stimulate the jawbone, preventing bone loss, protecting remaining teeth, and maintaining facial structure.
- No Dietary Restrictions: Eat your favorite foods without worry, as dental implant solutions are secure and stable.
Who Qualifies For Dental Implants?
You may qualify for implant surgery if any of the following apply to you:
- Individuals With Missing Teeth: Dental implants can be used to replace one or more missing teeth, including those that have been lost due to decay, injury, or gum disease.
- Those with Healthy Gums and Bones: Dental implants are placed in the jawbone, so it’s important to have healthy gums and bones to support the implant. However, supplemental procedures such as gum grafting or bone grafting may correct these issues and increase implant candidacy.
- Non-Smokers: Smoking can interfere with the healing process and increase the risk of implant failure.
- Not Pregnant or Breastfeeding: Pregnancy and breastfeeding can affect the healing process, so it’s best to wait until after these events to have dental implants placed.
- People Who Aren’t Taking Bisphosphonates: Bisphosphonates are a type of medication used to treat osteoporosis, but they can also increase the risk of implant failure.
- Adults With Fully Developed Teeth: Dental implants can be placed in people of many ages. However, the jawbone may still be growing in younger patients, often disqualifying them from implant surgery.
- Good Overall Health: People with certain medical conditions, such as uncontrolled diabetes or cancer, may not be good candidates for dental implants.
- Lifestyle: People who engage in certain activities, such as contact sports, may be at an increased risk for implant failure.
The Dental Implant Process
Before being approved for implant placement surgery, your Fresno implant dentist, Dr. Whitlow will perform a comprehensive oral health evaluation, including X-rays and CT scans, to assess the condition of your jawbone and gums. He’ll also discuss your goals for dental implants and determine if you’re a good candidate for the procedure.
Once we’ve determined that you’re a good candidate for dental implant solutions, your Fresno implant dentist will develop a personalized treatment plan. This plan will include the number and type of implants you need, the placement of the implants, and the estimated time frame for the procedure.
Designing Your Implants
There are different types of dental implants available, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Our Fresno dentist will help you choose the type of implant best for your individual needs.
Dental Implant Placement Surgery
Dental implant placement is usually performed while you’re under local anesthesia, but sedation dentistry or general anesthesia may also be used to keep you relaxed throughout the procedure. To prepare your mouth for implants, Dr. Whitlow will make a small incision in the gum tissue to expose the jawbone. A hole will then be drilled into the jawbone to create a space for the implant. The implant will then be screwed into the jawbone.
In some cases, a temporary restoration may be placed on the implant site while the implant is healing. This restoration will help protect the implant site and improve your appearance. You’ll return to Whitlow Dental Care once your implant has fully undergone osseointegration. Osseointegration is the process of the implant fusing with the jawbone. This process can take eight months to complete, and during this time, you’ll need to follow Dr. Whitlow’s advice to ensure healing goes well.
Once the implant has fused with the jawbone, our Fresno dentist will place an abutment on the implant. The permanent restoration will be attached, and your new smile will be complete.
Caring For Your Dental Implant Solutions
It’s vital to care for your new dental implant solutions to ensure their lasting success. Here are some common aftercare tips provided by Dr. Whitlow:
- Take all medications as prescribed.
- Maintain excellent oral hygiene, including regular dental check-ups with your implant dentist.
- Avoid tobacco and alcohol consumption, as they can increase the risk of implant failure and slow down the healing process.
- Be cautious with hard or sticky foods, especially during the first few weeks after surgery, to avoid damaging the implant or the surrounding tissues.
- Protect your teeth from trauma or excessive force. Wear a mouthguard when playing sports or during sleep if you grind your teeth at night.
- Avoid spitting, rinsing, or using a straw for the first 24 hours after surgery to prevent dislodging the blood clot and disturbing the surgical site.
- Apply cool packs on your cheeks, jaws, and chin to reduce swelling and bleeding after surgery.
- Eat a soft diet for the first few days after surgery and avoid hot liquids.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is getting dental implants painful?
Implant dentists do everything they can to make dental implant surgery as comfortable as possible. The procedure is done with the patient under anesthesia, and sedation dentistry options may help keep you more relaxed and add further pain-relieving benefits. Ask your implant dentist what steps they can take to ensure your dental implant surgery is a comfortable experience.
Are dental implant solutions covered by insurance?
Whether dental implant solutions are covered by insurance depends on the specific insurance plan. Some insurance plans may cover a portion of the cost of dental implants, while others may not cover them at all. It’s important to check with your insurance provider to determine what’s covered under your plan.
Are dental implants suitable for individuals with multiple missing teeth or even an entire arch of missing teeth?
Yes, dental implants can be an excellent solution for individuals with multiple missing teeth. Implants can support various restoration options, such as implant-supported bridges or implant-retained dentures, which provide a stable and comfortable way to replace multiple teeth or a full arch of teeth.
What is the success rate of dental implants, and how long can they last?
Dental implants have a high success rate, typically exceeding 95 percent when placed by experienced professionals and cared for properly. With good oral hygiene and regular dental check-ups, dental implants can last for decades, and in many cases, a lifetime.
Unlock Your Confident Smile with Whitlow Dental Care!
Ready to transform your smile with dental implant solutions? Contact Whitlow Dental Care today at 559-441-7700 to schedule your consultation. We proudly serve the communities of Kingsburg, Madera, Muscatel, and beyond. Let us help you achieve a confident, beautiful smile that lasts a lifetime with dental implants!