What Are Dental Implants and Are They All the Same?

Understanding Dental Implants and Types

It will not only make you self-conscious if you have missing teeth. The gap can put your alignment in trouble, as well as noticeably changing your face shape over time. Neighboring teeth can drift into the space or opposing teeth can go downwards or upwards into the gap. These things happen because the bone under the missing tooth can degenerate or resorp without the usual pressure bearing down on it.

Missing teeth can be replaced to prevent these issues. If you ask your dentist, there are several options. One of the most durable and popular recommendations are dental implants.

Dental implants are also called ‘replacement teeth’ meant to take the place of missing teeth. They consist of artificial tooth roots placed surgically into the jawbone above the missing tooth. It may take a few months for the surrounding bone to grow completely around the implant (a process called osseo- integration) securing it in place. A replacement crown will then be attached to the metal connector of the implant, simulating a natural tooth and hence, closing the gap.

Types of Dental Implants

There are several types of dental implants that are appropriate for different situations. However, there are two major types. One is endosteal implants. Endosteal means “in the bone” and they are implants that are implanted deep into the jawbone. On the other hand, subperiosteal (“on the bone”) implants are inserted under the gums.

Endosteal implants are the most common type. They are shaped like small screws that can be ‘screwed’ in or inserted using a cone that mimics a natural root. They are usually made of titanium, one of the safest and most durable materials to use for the purpose. Surgically inserted deep into the jawbone, these implants take the place of roots and are more secured in place and are permanent. One or several teeth can be used as an anchor by the implant.

Subperiosteal implants are used in place of endosteal ones when there is not enough healthy jawbone available to support the implant. Hence, they cannot be drilled into the jaw, but instead are inserted under the gum forming a metal base and above the jawbone, or on top of the bone. This is an option by some who do not want to undergo the procedure of bone rebuilding.

Another type of dental implant, one that is the latest and not yet popular option is the zygomatic implant. Its procedure is rather complicated and complex. It requires placing the implant in the patient’s cheekbone. It is another option if the patient does not have enough healthy jawbone.

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How Do You Care for Dental Implants? Part 2

More Dental Implant Care Info

Remember that care for your dental implants is a huge part of implant success. Here are more dental implant aftercare instructions.

Maintain your proper oral hygiene while you are in the healing process.

Do your usual brushing at night before bed but avoid contact with the implant. After every meal, rinse with warm water with a teaspoon of salt. Continue for about a week after your procedure, and then next use a chlorhexidine rinse, which is a disinfectant and antiseptic. For a few days at least, don’t use electric toothbrushes or water flossers as they can be vigorous. Brushing, mouth rinsing, and flossing every day cannot be ignored. While the implant will not get cavities, the soft tissue around it can be infected. Remember that infections are the leading cause of implant failure.

Be careful with your diet.

Do not chew yet on the side where your implant is. Don’t take hot food or drink for at least a week after surgery. Stay hydrated by drinking 6 to 8 glasses of cold or room- temperature water on the first day. However, do not swish liquids around the implant site. Avoid hard and crunchy foods; stay on with soft foods until post-op symptoms subside. Normal diet can be resumed in about a week. Be sure your diet is nutritious because your body needs it during healing.

Don’t smoke for at least 2 months after surgery (or give it up entirely).

The nicotine in cigarettes constricts blood vessels and hampers the integration of your implant with the bone. It can lead to infection or implant failure. Also, avoid alcohol for 72 hours after surgery or better, give it up for a week. Alcohol slows down blood vessel formation and that can lead to the implant not fusing well with bone.

Have a check-up visit with your dentist 2 weeks after the surgery.

If the stitches are not absorbable, they should be taken out. Your dentist will need to assess the progress of healing and check out your gums for any signs of infection. Your dentist should also note if you are putting too much stress on the implant such as if you clench your teeth.

Always be alert to how your implant is behaving.

Signs of infection anywhere in the mouth should be consulted with your dentist. Have regular cleanings to ward off infection or contamination. Remember that you can ensure implant success if you work closely with your dentist and if you faithfully follow aftercare instructions well.

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Working Together with Your Federal Way Dentist

Let us help you ensure that your dental implants are a success by regularly seeing Dr. Hwang, our Federal way dentist. Whenever you have concerns about your implants, do not hesitate to call or see us.


How Do You Care for Dental Implants?

Guide to Dental Implant Care

Care for your dental implant starts immediately after you’ve had your procedure. It’s important that you are guided and know what to do where aftercare is concerned. Proper care ensures the success of your implants to last you a long time. Here’s the guide to implant aftercare from the day of surgery to the following weeks thereafter.

After Dental Implant Surgery

When your implant surgery ends, the implant care process begins. As soon as your surgery ends, the dental implant care process will begin. You must have been told that somebody else needs to drive you home. By this time the anesthesia is starting to wear off. Don’t worry about your recovery, it is usually not a huge cause for concern. More important is not to touch the surgery site and not to mouthwash vigorously.

Expect that there may be bleeding from the implant site that may last up until 72 hours after the surgery. To control the bleeding, put a gauze on top of the implant and bite on it firmly for an hour. Repeat every 6 to 10 hours. Use a moistened black tea bag instead if bleeding is excessive; the tannic acid in black tea constricts the blood vessels and promotes clotting. Avoid unnecessary bleeding by staying calm, avoiding physical exercise. Just sit upright and don’t bend or lift heavy things. No forceful spitting, smoking or using a straw; they can interfere with blood clotting.

If you experience pain, manage it by taking Tylenol and not the usual NSAIDS, like Ibuprofen or Advil. They can inhibit the integration of the implant with the bone. In fact, take your painkiller before anesthesia wears off, but don’t do it more than every 6 hours. About 4 days after surgery, pain and discomfort may subside. Call your dentist if you experience prolonged stiffness of the throat and difficulty swallowing. Antibiotics are not necessary unless your dentist suspects there’s an infection.

A day after surgery, you may experience swelling and bruising around the nose and eyes, particularly if there has been sinus lifting. It will peak in 2 to 3 days and afterward subside. To minimize swelling and bruising, apply an ice pack on to your face in the area of the implant. Let it stay 15-20 minutes at a time and repeat for 48 hours. Ask your doctor for an anti-inflammatory OTC product, but use caution as it can affect the healing process. Stay hydrated, avoid salt, and prop up your head when sleeping.

Get enough rest and don’t go to work the next day. Take a few days off if your job requires strenuous activity. For about a week, avoid any physical exercise or vigorous exertion because these can interfere with healing. Get 8 hours of sleep every night as most of your healing happens when you are in bed.

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Ensuring Implant Success in Federal Way

When you have your dental implants with us, rest assured that you are properly guided and monitored during your aftercare. See our Federal Way dentist Dr. Hwang, for more info on dental implants.


Are Dental Implants for Certain Age Groups Only?

Age Restriction for Dental Implants

While dental implants may be a great option to replace missing teeth because implants do not harm existing natural teeth and facial structure, there may be some drawbacks when it comes to age. One of the prerequisites for a successful implant is there must be sufficient and sturdy bone mass. It is important that the jaw bone is able to support the titanium post of implants that serve as an anchor. 

Children and Dental Implants

In children not yet reaching puberty, their jawbone has not yet reached skeletal maturity and is still undergoing growth spurts. If implants are placed in such immature bone, they can interfere in the bone development and may result in complications. There are several associated risks. For example, there will be greater risk for bone loss around the implant; the patient may develop bite issues and spaces in between their teeth. Also, there may be changes in the craniofacial region that might affect the appearance of the face.

When does the jaw bone stop growing?

It differs from teen to teen, though typically, the jaw bone reaches maturity until 18, 19, or 20 years old. In some cases, skeletal maturity has not been completed until the mid-20’s. Hence, because of this, adolescents under 18 years old are generally unsuitable for dental implant surgery. Unless, it can be proved that they have reached their skeletal maturity. 

As far as adult patients are concerned, it is the quality of the bone mass at the implant site that is important; not the age of the patient. If the jaw bone is healthy in an adult, there is a higher chance that the implant post will be integrating well and forming a strong bond with bone, a process called osseointegration. It makes for higher success rates coupled with proper oral care. 

Learning More about Federal Way Dental Implants

Do want to find out if you are ready for dental implants? See our Federal Way dentist now for a consult and let us talk about what suits you best.


Who Can Get Dental Implants

Best Conditions for a Successful Dental Implant

If dental implants are said to have high rates of success (98% as reported), then shouldn’t a lot of people with missing teeth have implants? Generally speaking, yes. Almost everyone with missing teeth can be good candidates for dental implants, everyone who is in good general health and oral health can be candidates. However, the truth is, not everyone is enjoying this good state of health. 

For your dentist to consider if you are a good candidate for dental implants, here are the conditions that should be present.

  • You must be healthy enough to undergo surgery, such as tooth extraction and gum surgery, and can handle the anesthetic or sedation process required.
  • You should have healthy gums and not be suffering from serious gum disease such as periodontitis.
  • You must have enough bone mass to hold the implant. Patients with serious gum disease may not have sufficient bone to anchor the implant.
  • You must be committed to the practise of good oral hygiene and regular visits to your dentist so as to prolong the life of the implant(s).

There may be groups of patients that are not ideal for dental implants.

  • If you are a heavy smoker; smokers have a reduced rate of healing after surgery.
  • If you are suffering from unmanaged or uncontrolled chronic conditions, like diabetes or heart disease; these patients also heal poorly and implant stability may be at risk.
  • If you have cancer of the mouth, jaw, or the head and neck, and/or have just had radiation treatment to these areas. These patients already have weakened gums and bones that may jeopardize the success of the implants.
  • If you are taking certain medications, such as steroids or immunosuppressive drugs; patients on these medicines may have a lowered resistance to infections   .
  • If you are a teeth grinder or you have a habit of clenching your teeth; it may create unnecessary pressure on the implants causing some long-term damage.

All the above conditions may affect the success outcome of dental implants. Nonetheless, it is up to your dentist and his team to make the proper assessment. You may still have dental implants after a thorough evaluation of your medical and oral history. It all depends upon individual basis.

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Wondering if you’re a Candidate for Dental Implants?

Do you want to know if you are an ideal candidate for dental implants at West Campus Dental Center? Come see us for a consultation in Federal Way and we can assess thoroughly.


Why Dental Implants May Be the Best for Missing Teeth

Amazing Benefits of Dental Implants

What are dental implants?

Implants are replacements for missing teeth. A gap in between teeth is not esthetically acceptable; it can hinder you from speaking well or smiling. It can be filled with a variety of options. Implants are popular and widely preferable by dentists and patients due to their durability and close likeness to your natural teeth shape and color. They have other amazing benefits.

Dental implants as replacement teeth closely resemble your natural teeth. They are not noticeable as not real teeth, so it improves your appearance, your smile and self-esteem.

Compared to more traditional modes of treatment, use of dental implants far exceeds expectations. Implants are more comfortable and convenient than removable dentures; you do not need to take them off during cleaning or sleeping. It makes eating easier and confident because implants will not loosen or dislodge unlike dentures. It improves your speech as implants do not slip or slide off due to their secure hold on your jaw bone.

There are other advantages you may not know about but your dentist certainly does.

Dental implants prevent bone loss.

You can lose bone mass in your jaw once there is no longer a natural tooth with its embedded root in place. Bone has to be naturally stimulated to continue to grow. Dentures or bridges cannot provide that. Implants also restore bite force which you need when biting on food; the titanium post of an implant anchors securely in the bone so that you can bite with the same force you are used to.

Implants also restore the shape of your face.

Remember when you lose some teeth, bone structure beneath them can resorb or stop growing, creating hollowness or spaces where bone used to be. It can make your face appear older, changing the shape of your face. Dental implants also support adjacent teeth, preventing them from drifting or shifting their positions causing misalignments. You can confidently smile with a straight set of teeth.

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Learn More about Dental Implants in Federal Way

If you have missing teeth and wondering about getting dental implants, come visit your Federal Way dentist and know more.