If you have one or more missing teeth, dental implants are the most promising solution to restore your smile. However, dental implants are a surgery, and all surgeries have risks, however minor. During your research, you may have wondered, “are dental implants safe?”
At My Family Dentistry, we offer a form of dental implants called My Teeth TodayTM that results in less downtime and less bone loss than traditional dental implants, and you don’t have to wait to eat or enjoy your new teeth!
Widely used for about 30 years, traditional dental implants usually require multiple surgeries with healing time in between.
The combination of My Teeth Today and the AstraTechTM Implant system that we use has features that speed up bone healing, like a unique fluoride-modified nanostructure implant surface that stimulates early bone formation and provides stronger bone-to-implant bonding. This translates into less healing time and less risk of complication for our patients.
However, as you make your decision about dental implants, it’s important to consider the way that any type of implant may affect your life, and the way your lifestyle may affect the health and success of your dental implants.
Certain factors increase the risk of complications, including:
- smoking, especially heavy smoking
- uncontrolled chronic disorders like diabetes or heart disease
- head and neck radiation treatments
- bruxism (grinding your teeth)
- overall poor health and depressed immune system
- the patient’s dental hygiene habits
- the patient’s oral health and history
In rare cases, complications may cause the bone to fail to fuse sufficiently to the implant. In these cases, the implant will be removed and the bone cleaned up, and the procedure may be attempted again in the future.
Some effects are normal, and during recovery you may experience:
- swelling of the gums and face
- bruising in the skin and gums
- pain at the implant site
- minor bleeding
If any of these problems continue to worsen as time passes, contact your doctor.
Complications are rare and usually minor, but potentially can include:
- infection at the implant site
- injury or damage to surrounding structures, such as other teeth or blood vessels
- nerve damage, which may cause pain, numbness, or tingling in your teeth, gums, lips, or chin
- sinus problems from dental implants placed in the upper jaw
Luckily, the decreased bone loss and healing time associated with our My Teeth Today system should decrease the likelihood of some complications in many patients.
In a traditional dental implant procedure, the bone in your jaw is prepared for the surgery, possibly with bone grafts or the removal of damaged teeth. If grafting is involved, there will be some delay while the bone heals and incorporates the graft.
After the jaw is ready for the implant, the dental surgeon places a titanium post into the jawbone, and you wait several months for it to heal. Once you’ve healed, the dentist will place an extension of the post and the artificial tooth onto the implant, giving you the desired result. Depending on how extensive your implant work is, this process can take between 3 and 9 months, or even longer, mostly because of healing time.
Want to know how we do it differently? Click here to learn more about My Teeth Today!
Whatever type of implants you have, you can help your new teeth (and your natural teeth!) last longer. Be sure to hold yourself to the highest standards of oral hygiene, brushing and flossing daily, limiting your intake of sugary and acidic beverages and foods, avoiding chewing on hard foods, managing your bruxism with mouth guards, and visiting your dentist every six months.
If you’ve lost a tooth and are making a decision about implants, there are a few things you need to keep in mind.
- Your jaw closes differently when you have a tooth missing than it does when you have all of your teeth. Your ability to chew properly may be affected, potentially limiting the foods you can comfortably eat.
- Your remaining teeth begin to move into the gap left by the lost tooth, affecting your bite and the health of you jaw joint and individual teeth. Moreover, food may collect in the gap or in between the remaining teeth as they separate to fill the gap, potentially leading to tooth decay and gum disease.
- Most importantly, in the absence of a tooth, that area of the the jaw undergoes a process called resorption, in which the bone which supported the lost tooth begins to dissolve. Dental implants are the only method of restoration that stimulates the growth of the natural bone where the tooth was lost.
Before moving forward with dental implants, Dr. Mullins screens all candidates for health conditions that could affect the bone’s healing process. Contact us today to find out if the My Teeth Today dental implant system is right for you.
Are you considering dental implants? Ask us your questions in the comments below!