Dental Implants Portland, OR
At Downtown Dental Care, we understand exactly how hard it can be to have to deal with tooth loss. Even the loss of a single tooth can make simple things like eating and speaking difficult. People so often take their teeth for granted until they start to lose them. Fortunately, we live during a time that offers so many great tooth replacement technologies that one will surely work for you! The best tooth replacement option available today is the dental implant. With the ability to replace one tooth, or many teeth, dental implants offer you a great way to maintain your oral health for years to come.
Dental Implant Placement Process
The dental implant placement process usually requires at least two trips to our office to complete. During the first trip, we will place the implant post(s). During the second trip, we will place the abutment(s) and implant restoration(s).
What Dental Implants Are
A dental implant is made up of three parts – the implant post, abutment, and the implant restoration. Typically, the implant post is placed first and allowed to heal for several months, and then, once the post is healed you will come back into our office to have the abutment and restoration placed.
Implant Post Placement
The first step we take before starting the placement of the implant post is to ensure your comfort throughout the procedure. We will numb the area or your mouth that we will be working on with a local anesthetic. We offer a wide variety of sedation options and are happy to provide IV sedation and general anesthesia if you so desire. Once we are certain that you are comfortable, we will begin the implant post placement procedure.
The first step is to make an incision in your gums to access the bone in your jaw where we will be placing the implant posts. Depending on the tooth that we are replacing and the implant restoration that we plan to use, we will place the implant post at certain angles so that they will be supported well. We will prepare your jaw bone to receive the post by using a special dental drill. The dental post will be placed into your jawbone, and your gums will be sutured shut around the implant post. Depending on the kind of implants we are placing and how we expect your mouth to heal we will place an abutment or a special healing cap into the post.
We will have you return for examinations over the next few weeks or months to check on the healing progress of the implant posts. The goal is the bone in your jaw to grow around the implant post in a process known as osseointegration.
Abutment And Dental Implant Placement
Once we are certain that the posts have healed properly, it will be time to return to our office so that we can finalize the procedure by placing the abutment and the implant restoration. If the post was fitted with a healing cap, we will expose the cap and place the abutment by screwing it into the implant post. We will fix the abutment in place with a permanent dental adhesive.
With the abutment in place, we will be able to begin the positioning process for the implant restoration. This is a process that varies a bit depending on whether you are having a crown, bridge, or full arch restoration placed. We will place the restoration using a permanent dental adhesive that must be activated with a special ultraviolet light. By using this light activated adhesive, we can adjust the placement accurately and set it in place permanently once the placement is just right.
The Implant Post
The implant post is usually made of titanium and is surgically implanted into your jawbone. The post is made of titanium because titanium is a biocompatible material, meaning the human body accepts it instead of rejecting it. The healing process for the implant post can take several months. The reason the healing time can take so long is that we are waiting for the bone in your jaw to heal around the post, helping to provide a strong mechanical bond between the post and your jaw. This bond will allow you to use your dental implant to do everything you would normally do with your natural teeth like eating and speak.
The Implant Abutment
The abutment is usually placed once the dental implant post has had time to heal. The abutment screws into the top of the implant post and is secured permanently with a long-lasting dental adhesive. We will take the healing cap off of the implant and place the abutment in its place. The abutment provides some surface area for the implant restoration to be placed upon. The abutment will be different depending on what kind of restoration is called for.
The Implant Restoration
Dental implants can support a wide variety of restorations, from single tooth crowns to multi-tooth bridges and even full arch solutions. The implant restoration is made using an impression that we take of your mouth. With this impression, we will craft a restoration that will fit perfectly into your bite and will function as your natural teeth would.
Many Tooth Replacement Options
Dental implants can support a wide variety of tooth replacement options. If you have a tooth knocked out in an accident, we can offer you a single dental implant that will make it appear as though you never lost it. If you have lost several teeth in a row, we can offer you a dental implant supported bridge that will allow you to forgo having your natural teeth altered. If you are missing all of your teeth and are tired of the hassle of using dentures, we can even offer you a full arch replacement system that is permanent and implant supported.
Preparation For Implant Placement
The first step in having an implant placed is to setup an appointment with us for an implant evaluation by calling us at (503) 420-7600. During this evaluation, we will take some X-rays of your mouth to determine the amount of healthy bone remaining in your jaw. Good bone levels and densities are required to support dental implants. Bone levels come into question because tooth loss is often followed by bone loss when teeth are not replaced right away. If we find that you have adequate bone levels, we can begin the implant placement procedure within a few weeks. If we find that you do not have adequate bone levels, we will begin preparing for a bone graft that will set you up to be able to receive a dental implant in the future.
Using the X-rays and examination result, we can begin to build a treatment plan for you. Your treatment plan will include a rough timeline of when you should expect the different parts of the procedure to occur. We will take impressions of your mouth that we will use to determine implant post placement and how your implant restorations will be made.
It is important to bring a friend or family member with you to the first procedure where we place the implant post so that they can drive you home and help to make your comfortable.
The Finished Product
When we are finished placing your dental implants, you will have a fully functional restoration that allows you to eat and speak exactly how you would with your natural teeth. They look just like real teeth and even prevents your face from having that “sunken” look that comes with tooth loss. It’s great being able to eat whatever you like and not have to worry about denture adhesives. Many patients have reported restored confidence and a renewed desire to smile. Everyone should feel comfortable smiling, eating, and speaking, which is why we are so happy to provide our patients with dental implants!
Following implant post placement you will probably be recovering from some sedation, so it is best to take it easy and listen to your body. If you feel dizzy or nauseous just let us know and we will be happy to make you comfortable until the sensation passes and you feel comfortable again. Your friend or family member will be able to take you home once we give you a prescription for pain medication and some post-operative instructions.
When you get home, it would be a good idea to stick to a soft-foods diet for a day or two. Things like gelatin, pudding, cottage cheese, soups, and yogurt are a great way to go easy on your mouth and keep your energy up. Make sure to drink plenty of water because sedation can have a dehydrating effect.
Take it easy for a few days following dental implant post placement. To manage minor pain feel free to take OTC medications like Tylenol and Advil as instructed. For more severe pain take any prescription medication we give you according to the instructions.
Following any oral surgery, our main concern is infection of the surgery site. To prevent infection, it is imperative that you keep your mouth clean. For the first 24 hours following post placement, we advise that you not brush or floss your mouth to avoid disturbing the area. After 24 hours it will be fine to brush and floss as long as you are careful not to disturb the site. As always, only brush with a soft-bristled toothbrush and if you notice the site bleeding simply apply gauze pads to help the clotting process.
What makes dental implants so great?
To call dental implants, "the best" tooth replacement option available is not a boast – it's a fact. To understand exactly how valuable of an asset they provide to your mouth, it's important to understand how other tooth replacement options work.
Consider a traditional dental bridge. A bridge is a restoration that fills a gap of missing teeth, and it needs at least two healthy teeth to support it at each side. It's made to look like your real teeth and helps you to chew just like real teeth – it's even a permanent fixture in your mouth. However, the healthy teeth that we use to anchor it in your mouth have to be heavily modified to accept the bridge and will never be able to function as teeth again without a restoration sitting on top of them. Further, the bridge simply bridges the gap between the teeth, it does not extend down into the gum line and provides you with no added benefit to your oral health.
By comparison, a dental implant is also a permanent fixture in your mouth and allows you to eat and speak just like a traditional bridge would. Dental implants do not require us to modify or alter your natural, healthy teeth in any way. They are surgically placed into the bone in your jaw, which gives your mouth the added substantial benefit of promoted bone growth. When teeth are lost, the bone below them stops being stimulated because it no longer receives any feedback from the act of chewing. Dental implants give your jaw that feedback.
Dental implants allow our patients the freedom of being able to eat whatever foods they would like without having to worry about denture adhesives or the annoyance of clips and brackets that come with partial dentures.
If you would like to learn more about dental implants, or setup a no obligation consultation with us, please call us today at (503) 420-7600. We look forward to seeing your smile.
NOTE: This information does not represent the medical advice of our dental office, always refer to your personalized information given to you by our office or call us at (503) 420-7600 for dental advice.