Before you choose to start your implant-supported tooth replacement treatment, the Lakewood Dental Group team knows you’ll have a lot of questions. That’s a good thing! We want you to feel 100% confident before beginning a tooth replacement option that entails considerable time and monetary investment. On this page, you’ll find some answers to frequently asked questions regarding dental implants. This is by no means a comprehensive list, and every situation is unique. The best way to learn more about your dental implant tooth replacement options is by calling to schedule a consultation appointment at Lakewood Dental Group in Dallas. During these consultation visits, we’ll be happy to answer any questions and help you to find the right treatment option to meet your needs.
Dental implants are small posts that can be used to replace the roots (the portion of the tooth under the gums) of missing teeth. Prior to placement, these implants look similar to a small screw. Once in place, the implant fuses with the gum and bone tissue mimicking the function of the tooth root. After the implant is integrated into the jaw bone, a natural-looking ceramic crown is attached to the top of it, to replace the missing portion of the tooth outside of the gums.
Any patient missing a single tooth, several teeth, or a full row of teeth should consider restoration with dental implants. These are the only treatments available that replace both the roots and crowns of missing teeth, creating a close to the natural result.
Dental implants are surgically positioned into the gum and jawbone. The procedure itself is simple. We make a small incision in the gums. A channel is drilled in the bone. Then the implant is positioned into place. A healing cap is attached to protect the implant as it fuses with the supportive structures. It can take three to six months for implants to fuse with the jawbone, and once your implants are firmly integrated, you will return to our practice to receive your crown. Now your replacement tooth is complete.
The number of implants you need depends on how many teeth you are replacing. A single implant can be used to support an individual dental crown, replacing one tooth. To replace several consecutive teeth, we can use two implant posts, one at each end, supporting a fixed bridge restoration. This allows us to replace three or more teeth, using only two implants. To replace a full row of teeth, four to six dental implants can be strategically positioned to provide support for your tooth replacement prosthetic.
Although it is possible for any dental treatment to fail, if you care for your implant-supported replacement tooth properly, it can remain in place for two decades or longer without the need for repair or replacement. Our goal for our patients is that you keep your implant and crown healthy and intact for the rest of your life.
DO I NEED TO CHANGE MY AT-HOME CARE ROUTINE?
If you have a single crown supported with an implant post, you can go ahead and brush and floss as usual. If you have a more advanced implant restoration like a bridge or full denture, you will need to make some adjustments to your oral hygiene routine. Namely, our doctors will show you how to use a specialized flossing tool or water flosser to remove plaque buildup that can accumulate between the replacement teeth and the soft tissue, leading to a form of gum disease called peri-implantitis, which is the leading cause of implant failure. You should also keep up with your regular dental checkups, so our skilled dentists can examine your prosthetic for signs of damage and help to keep your replacement tooth or teeth healthy and functional.