Dental Implants in Tacoma
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are small, screw-shaped titanium posts that are placed directly into the jaw to replicate the function of a tooth’s natural roots. They provide support for a dental crown that looks, feels, and performs just like a real tooth. Implants can also be used to replace multiple missing teeth by supporting dental bridges and even certain types of dentures. The best part is, they can last decades and don’t require any special care, aside from practicing good oral hygiene and regularly visiting your dentist.
Dr. Steve Hong of Rainier Smiles Dentistry is an expert at placing and restoring dental implants in Tacoma. If you’re missing one or more teeth, and are looking for a permanent solution to complete your smile, get in touch with us today to find out if dental implants are right for you!
Did you know…
Dental implants can last over 25 years!
what to expect when getting dental implants in tacoma
preparing the implant site
To begin, Dr. Hong will prepare the site by removing the damaged or decayed tooth if it is still present. If your jaw bone requires reinforcement, you may need bone grafts to ensure the success of the implant. Dr. Hong will discuss options and create a plan with you to get you ready for the procedure.
placing the implant
As it will function like a natural tooth root, the dental implant post will be surgically placed deep into the jaw bone, to anchor the final crown, and the gums will be closed over it. We have a variety of sedation options available to keep you comfortable and pain-free during surgery.
Once the implant has been placed, you’ll be sent home to recover, and to give your bone time to bind with the implant in a process called osseointegration. This may take up to several months, so in the meantime, you may be provided with a temporary prosthetic to fill in your smile.
placing the abutment
The abutment is the piece where the crown will eventually be attached. If it hasn’t been placed already, Dr. Hong will make a small incision and attach the abutment to the implant post, and close the gums around the new piece. You’ll then be sent home to heal.
placing the crown
When you’re all healed up, Dr. Hong will place the dental prosthetic that you’ve discussed and planned for. In the case of a single tooth, a dental crown will be securely fastened to the abutment, and cemented in place, and you can show off your new, beautiful, functional smile.
dental implant options
single tooth implants
When replacing a single tooth, a dental crown will be attached to the implant, which functions just like a natural tooth root. They require no special treatment, and can last decades with just regular visits to Rainier Smiles Dentistry in Tacoma.
Dental implants are strong enough that they can support several teeth when they are bridged together. Unlike traditional bridges, they don’t require the removal of healthy enamel on the surrounding teeth, since they are supported by dental implants.
Utilizing 4-6 dental implants, implant-supported dentures are designed to replace a full arch of teeth. They are a great alternative to traditional dentures, as they won’t move around in your mouth, allow you to eat your favorite foods, and don’t need to be removed for daily cleaning. However, they require a full arch of healthy jawbone to be successful.
Did you know…
Dental implants stimulate the jaw bone, and actually prevent bone resorption.
Have questions about dental implants? Find answers here.
why do I need a dental implant?
What Is The Difference Between Implant Placement & Implant Restoration?
Dental implant placement refers to the process of surgically placing the implant post into the bone of the jaw. An implant restoration is the final step of the implant process, in which a dental prosthetic, often a dental crown, is attached to the implant post.
How Long Do Dental Implants Last?
Implants are life-long tooth replacements. This makes them a unique treatment in restorative dentistry because other restorations only last for a fraction of their lifespan. Implants will last for at least 25 years but with proper care and oral hygiene, they last for much longer than that.
The materials that implants are made of are biocompatible titanium, which is durable and strong but also easily accepted by the body. This means that implants restore the root of a tooth and are held stable in the jawbone so that they never shift and this lasts for life.
You will never need to have them replaced. The only thing that needs to be replaced is the restoration that is attached, whether this is a crown, bridge, or denture.
The first time modern dental implants were ever placed in a patient, they lasted until the patient died, which was 40 years. Restorations, however, have a lifespan of about 10 to 15 years, and you will need to protect them from sources of wear and tear.
Can Dental Implants Get Infected?
Yes, infected dental implants are known as peri-implantitis. You are at an increased risk for developing this infection if you smoke, have a history of gum disease, don’t follow aftercare instructions following implant placement, or don’t practice good oral hygiene.
Peri-implantitis can occur during the implant healing process or years after placement. Signs of peri-implantitis include gum inflammation, bone loss, a loose or moving implant, a bad taste in your mouth, pain, difficulty chewing, pus, and bleeding that lasts for more than a few days.
This is a very serious condition that can go undetected because oftentimes patients don’t feel any pain. Peri-implantitis can result in implant failure. This is why it is so important to follow aftercare directions and to regularly brush and floss your teeth every day.
Just because we have replaced a tooth with an implant doesn’t mean you are immune to oral health problems. You still need to care for the implant site just like you would a natural tooth.
Can Dental Implants Stop Bone Loss?
Yes, dental implants effectively prevent bone loss that occurs as a result of tooth loss by restoring the tooth root with a dental implant. When the implant is embedded in the jawbone, it becomes integrated with the jawbone over 3 to 6 months and they fuse.
This forms an artificial tooth root that prevents the implant from moving, but more importantly, enables stimulation from chewing to reach the jawbone to regenerate bone cells.
New cells can’t be produced once you lose a tooth because the loss of a tooth root means no stimulation reaches the jawbone anymore, resulting in irreversible bone resorption. This can happen as early as 6 weeks following the loss of a tooth.
If you lose a tooth, we recommend immediate implant replacement to preserve the existing bone which will prevent facial sagging and changes to your facial structure. If you’re interested in dental implants to prevent bone loss, contact us at Rainier Smiles Dentistry to schedule a consultation with Dr. Steve Hong.
Did you know…
Around 5 million dental implants are placed every year!