Missing teeth can make it difficult to feel confident about your smile, or may even make it difficult to eat food. Whether you are missing multiple teeth because of tooth loss from injuries or tooth loss from cavities, dental implants may be an ideal solution to replace multiple teeth at one time. When you visit Steven C. Hewett, DDS in Champions Gate, FL, you can explore all of your implant dentistry options.
Can Implants Be Used To Replace Multiple Teeth?
When people think of implants, they typically assume that implants are a one-implant-for-one-tooth-deal. But while implants in the past have been limited to single-tooth replacements, new advancements in dentistry have made it possible for implants to be used to replace more than one tooth. If you are using dental implants to replace multiple teeth, you will have the option of using implant bridges or partial implants.
Bridges are the most common form of implant for multiple teeth. Implant bridges are permanent fixtures in the mouth that can replace two or more teeth on the same stretch of gums, also called an arch. Bridges can replace two adjacent missing teeth or replace several adjacent missing teeth along the same arch.
One of the most popular implant dentistry treatments is All on Four, which are fixed bridges that replace all arches on the top or bottom of the jaw with only four implants. Essentially, these bridges are like permanent dentures. All on Four is a popular treatment to replace all teeth because it is far less traumatic and more cost-effective than replacing teeth individually with implants.
Partials are another type of implant that may be a more appropriate option for patients who grind their teeth at night or patients who are transitioning from dentures to fixed implants. Partial implants can be removed from the mouth, just like dentures; however, unlike dentures, partial implants are better supported and may cause less difficulty chewing.
What Are the Benefits of Implant Dentistry?
Implants are highly beneficial for patients for several reasons. For many patients, supported bridges or partials are the best way to improve oral health, particularly patients who have a difficult time brushing or flossing. Improving your oral health is vital since the health of your teeth is closely tied to other aspects of your health. Other benefits of implants include:
No More Dietary Restrictions
Dietary restrictions can be one of the most frustrating aspects of having missing teeth or damaged teeth. Even using partial dentures and full dentures can present dietary restrictions since food can get caught beneath dentures and irritate the gums. However, because implants are rooted into the mouth the same way natural teeth are, there is virtually zero risk of gum irritation from trapped food.
You can treat implants the same way you treat your natural teeth. Implants are just as strong as natural teeth, which means you can bite into apples, eat popcorn, and consume other crunchy or chewy foods you may have been unable to eat before. Reduced dietary restrictions can have the additional benefit of improving your overall nutrition, too.
Implants look like natural teeth, which is a major advantage for patients who are worried about the aesthetic appearance of their teeth. Although there are traditional dentures that are designed to look like natural teeth, these dentures don’t hold a candle to the natural-looking appearance of implants. Furthermore, implants will be customized to suit your mouth, which means the teeth won’t look out of place when you smile.
Improve Jawbone Health
Improving the health of your jawbone is also crucial. The degeneration of your jawbone can cause a lot of health concerns. When you are missing multiple teeth for a long time, this can cause your jawbone to weaken. However, implants are installed directly into the jawbone, mimicking the way the roots of natural teeth are held in place. Over time, this can improve the strength and health of your jaw.
What Is the Process for Getting Implants?
The process for getting implants can take anywhere from six months to a year or more, depending on where you are in your dental health journey. This timeline includes the recovery time you may need between dental procedures and after implants are installed.
The first step of this process is a comprehensive dental exam, which includes X-rays to gather more information about the health of your jaw and existing teeth. The examination will identify areas of concern that must be corrected before you can get implants. During this examination, Dr. Hewett will determine whether implants are a good option for your oral health and your dental needs. Other steps of this process include:
Many patients will need to undergo dental procedures to prepare for implants. These procedures can include root canals and fillings for teeth that can be saved and extractions for teeth that are too damaged to remain in the mouth. It’s common to extract multiple teeth to make room for bridges, particularly if teeth are already showing signs of major damage or gum disease is present.
After dental procedures have been completed, advanced 3D imaging will be created to craft the impressions used to make the customized implants. Making implant prosthetics can take several weeks, and you will have the opportunity to approve the implants before your implant procedure.
The implant procedure can take several hours, depending on how many implants you are getting at one time. Placing a single implant can take one to two hours, so if you are getting multiple implants, your procedure can take a long time. This is one of the advantages of using an All On Four implant plan since installing four implants to replace all teeth means your procedure will only take roughly four hours to complete.
Your initial recovery period after your implant procedure can take about two weeks. Most people take the first week off from work following surgery, since this is the time when most of your activities will be restricted. During your early recovery period, you may be directed to only eat soft foods while your mouth is healing from the procedure.
It can take three to six months for your jawbone to fully recover from this procedure. Although you will not feel any discomfort at this time, your jawbone needs this time to fully bond the titanium posts of your implants. You may need to attend a few follow-up appointments to assess how well your implants are settling.
How Long Can Dental Implants Last?
Most implants are designed to last for at least 10 to 30 years. For some people, this means that implants can last a lifetime. You can ensure your implants last for a long time if you take care of the implants with good oral hygiene, such as regular brushing and flossing. You should also attend regular dental cleanings every six to 12 months.
Enjoy Natural-Looking Teeth for a Lifetime
Whether you only need to replace one tooth or you need to replace multiple teeth, implant dentistry is generally a good option for most healthy patients. Implants can vastly improve your oral health, make it easier to eat the foods you love, and help you feel more confident about your smile. Get in touch with Steven C. Hewett, DDS in Champions Gate, FL to schedule your initial implant examination.