Why Some Implants Alaska Patients Require a Bone Graft First

When you come in for an examination to determine if you are in fact a good candidate for dental implants, you may be surprised to discover that you require a bone graft first. While the term sounds scary, a bone graft is a very simple procedure that must be completed if you hope for your dental implant to remain in place. To alleviate your concerns and to make your appointment far more pleasant, here are some of the prime reasons why you may need a bone graft, as well as what you can expect during your upcoming procedure.

Why You May Require a Bone Graft?

When you lose a tooth, this sends a signal to the body that the section of jawbone that held the tooth in place is no longer necessary. That bone, then, will begin to recede during a process called resorption. If the bone is allowed to recede too much, it can affect the neighboring teeth and they, too, may fall out.

A bone graft repairs the bone in your jaw so that your neighboring teeth can remain right where they are. The process also allows your Implants Alaska doctor to place a dental implant properly. The dental implant procedure involves using an artificial tooth root – made of titanium or a ceramic composite – that will hold the artificial tooth in place. That tooth root – or post – will require a significant amount of jawbone to hold it in place; just as a real tooth root would require jawbone to remain in your mouth and be strong enough to eat with. For this purpose, your doctor will graft bone to the spot in your mouth that requires it, thus adequately preparing you for your upcoming dental implant appointment.

How the Bone Graft Works

Now you may be wondering where your doctor is going to get the bone to graft to your jaw. In the past, doctors would have to take the bone from your hip, requiring surgical procedures on two sites of your body. Obviously this was inefficient, as it increased the risk of error and infection.

Today, we have much simpler and more efficient ways to graft bone and they don’t involve your hip at all. While doctors may still harvest bone from the hip in extreme cases, your Implants Alaska doctor will graft a synthetic material to the area. This not only reinforces the dental implant, but it also stimulates the bone to attach to and grow around the implant naturally. The result is an implant that looks and feels just as strong as your natural teeth.

The Procedure

You will not feel a thing during the procedure, as the area will be numbed. Sedation dentistry may also be used in some cases, particularly if you tend to feel anxiety while sitting in the dentist’s chair. You will then be able to go home and rest while the bone heals naturally and completely. This could take three to six months. You may feel some swelling or discomfort after the procedure, but downtime should be minimal.

If you still have questions about bone grafting or if want to know if you are a good candidate for bone grafting or dental implants, contact us at Implants Alaska and we’ll take good care of you.

 

Do Dental Implants Require You to Restrict Certain Foods?

It’s common for this question to emerge when patients schedule their initial implant procedure. Like denture wearers, they wonder what they can and cannot eat before the procedure, afterwards and for the rest of their lives. While dentures and implants do have similarities – they are meant to mimic and give the outwards appearance of being your natural teeth – the two are also vastly different. For one, dental implants are much stronger than dentures and, for another, they don’t have to be removed to be cleaned. Unlike denture wearers that need to restrict foods, however, dental implant wearers can eat whatever they want, with some restrictions. Here, let me explain.

Before the Dental Implant Procedure

Since the dental implant procedure is a surgery, your mouth will need to be very clean so as to avoid infection. We will clean the surgical site adequately, so you don’t have to worry about a thing. If you want to brush and floss prior to your Implants Alaska appointment to keep your mouth spotless, that’s even better. You do not have to restrict your eating before the procedure, however.

In the Days After the Surgery

Immediately following your procedure, there may be some swelling and soreness. This is normal, as those signals indicate that your jaw is healing. The idea is to have your jaw bone heal and grow around the dental implant, solidifying it in place. If you eat foods that are too sticky or hard-to-eat, like corn or apples, you may knock the implant out of alignment or, worse, you may hinder the healing process altogether. That’s why here at Implants Alaska we encourage you to use your own judgment and only eat those foods that will be the easiest on your implant (or implants, if you had several placed during your procedure).

Months Afterwards

In many cases, the jawbone takes months to heal properly. This means that you might want to watch what you eat for three to six months, or until your doctor tells you that it’s ok to let loose. Generally speaking, any food that makes noise when you eat it should be considered carefully before you put it in your mouth. While chips aren’t likely to cause you as many problems as apples or corn, again, use your own judgment. It is far better to care for your implant properly than to enjoy a crunchy treat for a few moments of pleasure. But of course we all know how tempting some foods can be.

The point is, unlike dentures, dental implants are the next closest thing to having your natural teeth. When the bone has fully healed, you’ll be able to do whatever you used to do with your natural teeth, like enjoy all the crunchy and chewy foods you want. So when your implants are healed, go crazy. But until then, use caution when eating for best results following your dental implant procedure at Implants Alaska.

Smoking May Cause Dental Implant Complications

If you are a smoker, you might want to postpone your upcoming dental implant procedure until you’ve had time to quit. It turns out that smoking is one of those bad habits that may not only shorten your lifespan, but smoking may also make it more difficult to heal from implant surgery. Any complications during the implant procedure, from the first incision to the placing of the crown, should be avoided at all costs. That’s why, if you smoke and you are considering dental implants, you might want to throw out your pack right now and get to quitting. Here are a few reasons why.

Slow to Recover

When you smoke, you lower the supply of oxygen in your bloodstream, making it more difficult for your body to heal from injury. After the first surgical procedure, your jawbone must heal around the implant to set it in place. Without your body’s natural ability to heal, you may experience implant failure.

Infection

Smokers who undergo dental implant surgery sometimes experience peri-implantitis, which is an infection that prevents the bone from healing properly; which can again lead to implant failure.

Hinders the Effectiveness of Medication

Your dental implant specialist may recommend certain medications following the dental implant procedure, such as antibiotics. These will help to prevent infection so that the implant is more likely to set and remain permanent. If you are a smoker, these antibiotics may not work as well, and we’re back to the infection and the resulting implant failure.

It is recommended that you quit smoking at least four weeks prior to your initial dental implant procedure, and that you refrain from smoking for at least six weeks after the surgery has been completed.

When your goal is to have a mouth full of healthy teeth, you should want to do anything within your power to make that possible. Smoking is a habit that has many negative side effects and it can hinder your ability to take advantage of this wonder of dental science. We finally have the ability to replace teeth with ultra-realistic alternatives; but only if you aid the process by caring for the implant properly. For this reason, we urge you to stop smoking for your health, for your family’s health and for the success of your future dental implant procedure.

The Procedure for Dental Implants Explained

If you have a dental implant procedure coming up, or you are considering dental implants as an alternative to tooth loss, the following should help to alleviate your fears. It’s natural to be fearful of the unknown; and that is why the following will seek to fully inform you on what it means to get dental implants. Once you see that the procedure is straight-forward, pain-free and completely harmless, you will hopefully feel much more relaxed when the time of your appointment finally arrives.

Numbing the Implant Site

Your implant specialist will numb the site of the implant surgery with a general anesthetic, which means that you won’t feel a thing throughout the entire procedure. Your dentist will typically wait a few moments for the anesthesia to take affect before the true procedure begins.

Incise the Jawbone

After the area is numbed, your dentist will need to access your jawbone in order to place the implant. This will require a small incision on the gums directly over the implant site. The gum tissue will then be peeled away to expose the jawbone underneath. This process sounds much scarier than it actually is and you can rest assured that your dentist will always take great care to avoid complications.

Drilling the Implant Hole

Once the implant site has been located, your dentist will drill a tiny hole into your jawbone so that the implant can be placed. The hole will be drilled using what is known as a ‘divot’, and this is all painless, so you don’t have to worry.

Inspecting the Implant Hole

Once your dentist has created the hole in your jawbone, an x-ray will be taken to determine that the hole has been aligned and positioned properly. The x-ray results will also determine if the hole is deep enough for the implant placement, which is the next step in the procedure.

Placing the Implant

When the hole is prepared and positioned properly, the implant itself will be placed into the jawbone using a special dental tool. With the implant in place, your dentist will stitch the gum tissue to seal the implant in place.

Healing Time and Crown Placement

Your dentist will allow seven days or so for the site to heal before the crown or artificial tooth is affixed to the implant itself. You will then have a brand new tooth that looks, acts and feels just like the real thing, allowing you to smile, eat and speak just as you normally would with your natural teeth.

See, that’s not so bad, is it? Ask your dental implant specialist about scheduling your first appointment to see if you are a good candidate for this safe, pain-free and harmless dental implant procedure.

How to Properly Care for Dental Implants

Missing one or more teeth is no longer the end of the world thanks to dental implants. With implants, you can smile at the world, eat your favorite foods, speak as eloquently as ever and keep the world unaware of the fact that you lost your teeth to begin with. Implants look, act and feel like the real thing; and caring for your implants is no different than caring for your natural teeth. [Read more…]