Dental implants are artificial replacements for tooth roots and teeth that have previously been removed or lost. Patients may seek dental implants to improve their self-confidence and smile, or to increase their ability to speak or chew naturally.
Contrary to popular belief dental implants do not destroy or replace bone, but actually encourage new bone growth and prevent bone deterioration! Patients will be relieved to learn that dental implant surgery ranks as one of the safest dental procedures available when performed by a trusted and experienced dentist such as Dr. Li.
What are dental implants?
Dental implants are comprised of three parts:
- The body of the implant, which is a small metal rod that is inserted into the jawbone and acts as a base for the crown to rest on.
- A connector (also known as an abutment), which attaches the body of the implant to the crown.
- And the crown, which is custom made to match surrounding teeth for a natural appearance.
The most commonly used materials include titanium and zirconia, both of which are sturdy and reliable metals that can last for decades if the patient practices proper dental hygiene.
Many patients choose dental implants over other tooth replacements such as dentures because implants provide a more natural look, feel, and function. Whereas dentures can slip or shift while eating, patients with dental implants report that speaking and eating feel very natural and secure.
Dental Implant Procedure
The dental implant procedure is actually multiple procedures over a period of several months. Time is taken between each phase of the implant procedure to encourage new jawbone growth, and to allow the patient time to heal.
Dental implant procedures consist of:
- Removal of the damaged tooth (if necessary)
- Placement of the implant body into the jawbone
- Placement of the abutment
- And finally, installation of the crown
Some phases may be combined, or additional steps are taken, depending on the patient’s unique circumstances and treatment plan.
Do dental implants hurt?
Dental implant patients report a high degree of satisfaction and much less discomfort compared to other major dental surgeries or procedures. Patients may experience anxiety about the dental implant procedure. Dr. Li will listen to all of your concerns and work with you to find a sedative or anesthesia method that will be right for you.
Patients should not feel any part of the dental implant procedure. Sedatives, general anesthesia, or a combination of methods will be used to ensure patient comfort. After surgery patients may experience facial swelling, soreness in the cheeks or jaw, or minor bleeding or bruising. Dr. Li will prescribe pain medication as needed to help patients through recovery.
Dr. Li and her compassionate care team understand that you will have many questions about dental implants. During your consultation Dr. Li will conduct a thorough examination of your health history to identify if dental implants are the right choice for you.