Dental Implant Surgery: What is Osseointegration?

Dental implant surgery can be a scary procedure that causes dental anxiety in patients. By understanding what to expect during dental implant surgery, however, patients can calm their nerves and take each step of the process in stride.

Dental implant surgery

The dental implant process is very detailed, and there are several stages that take place throughout the procedure, including the surgery and osseointegration. The following is everything a potential patient needs to know about dental implant surgery, osseointegration and the entire process in general.

What is dental implant surgery?

Dental implants require a surgical procedure to place the implant component into the jawbone. While it is surgery, the procedure carries very little risk and is a minimally invasive procedure overall. The process involves making an incision into the gums and drilling into the jawbone, after which the implant is inserted deep into the bone. After osseointegration takes place (more on this below), the implant serves as the artificial tooth root.

However, each dental implant surgery is different, and the procedure may also involve other surgical components as well, including damaged tooth removal or bone grafting.

What is osseointegration?

The term osseointegration refers to the natural process that takes place when a dental implant fuses with the jawbone. To fully understand what osseointegration is, it is important to understand how the body reacts to foreign objects. Typically, when the body encounters a foreign object it rejects it and tries to expel it from the body. However, there is one exception: Titanium.

When the body experiences titanium, rather than reject it, the bone accepts it and fuses with the titanium - a process called osseointegration. Essentially, osseointegration is the process that takes places when the implant fuses and works in unison with the jawbone to serve as the root of the artificial tooth

How long do dental implants last?

After osseointegration takes place following dental implant surgery, the artificial tooth can be placed on the abutment of the implant. Since the dental implant is fused into the jawbone, the artificial tooth is securely fastened into place. While the exact lifespan of a dental implant is dependent on how well they are cared for, they typically last well over a decade without needing to be replaced. In fact, it is not unusual for dental implants to last for more than twenty-five years.

When compared against other teeth replacement options, dental implants are by far the longest-lasting, most permanent solution available.

Talk to a dentist about dental implant surgery

Dental implants are a great way to replace missing teeth and restore the natural appearance of your smile to a point in which you can truly feel confident. If you are considering dental implant surgery - or simply want to learn more about dental implants or osseointegration - contact us and schedule a time to come in for a visit.

Everyone deserves to feel confident in their smile and be able to function each day in a normal manner, and we are dedicated to helping patients accomplish just that through dental implant surgery.

Request an appointment here: or call John M. Chaves, DDS at (818) 999-2707 for an appointment in our Woodland Hills office.

Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: Dental Implants.

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The pros of dental implants

By far, the pros of dental implants outweigh the cons. Recipients of dental implants often wonder how they lived without them, as dental implants restore functionality like no other dental technology. Benefits are plenty but will depend on the patient.

Easier eating

Missing or damaged teeth can prevent patients from enjoying the foods they love, or even an entire category of food, such as hard or crunchy foods. Dental implants are made from titanium and are easily accepted by the body, which restores proper chewing strength.

Better appearance

Dental implants are designed for a realistic appearance. Each tooth is made to match the color of a patient’s natural teeth. Even in the event that many dental implants are used to fill a gumline, it is possible to have a beautiful, healthy smile again.

Improved speech

Often, damaged or missing teeth can hinder speech. Teeth are used to produce the distinct characteristics of many sounds that compose spoken language. By restoring teeth to a more natural composition, it is possible to speak more clearly.

Lasting durability

Many traditional alternatives to implants wear down with time, may dislodge or break. Implants, on the other hand, can last decades with proper care. The titanium composition makes them strong and durable.

Improved comfort

Compared to alternatives such as traditional dentures, implants or dentures anchored to implants provide a fixed solution that will not cause irritation by rubbing against the gums.

Cost savings

Since implants can last decades with proper care, it is possible to save money compared to the expense of replacing fillings or broken dentures. Additionally, the use of dentures anchored to implants does not require the purchase of denture adhesive.

Better oral health

Because implants cannot get cavities, a mouth full of implants is much more resistant to disease. Additionally, opting to replace problem teeth stops the advance of an existing disease or other issues.

The cons of dental implants

No procedure is without some potential pitfalls, and implants are no different. There are some factors patients may want to consider before committing to implants.

Dental implants require surgery

Dental implants are a surgical procedure. Understandably, many patients are not comfortable with the idea of surgery. However, this should be weighed against the potential for surgery on a problem area if an implant is not used.

The cost of implants varies

Implants are not necessarily costly, especially compared to the potential expenses of leaving problem teeth in place. However, the cost will be as steep as the number of teeth that require replacing.

Conclusion

Dental implants are an increasingly popular solution to a host of oral health concerns. Restoration of the natural function and appearance of damaged or missing teeth make them an excellent option to discuss with a dentist.

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What are the Steps in a Dental Implant Procedure?

Dental implants are known to be chosen by many patients every day. Knowing what is involved in the process of this surgical procedure can provide a sense of comfort for a patient. A typical dental implant procedure involves the following steps:

X-ray or 3D scan

In the initial consultation, the dentist will examine the condition of the gums, teeth and jawbone. They will use an x-ray or 3D scanning for this purpose. The doctor will also create a personalized plan for the surgery.

Replica of the mouth

A replica of the mouth helps the dentist in their work. To create the replica, they put a metal or plastic tray filled with a liquid, such as polyvinyl siloxane, into the mouth. The patient bites into the hardening liquid to create impressions of their teeth, gums, and surrounding tissues. This is a straightforward procedure, but some patients can find it uncomfortable because of their gag reflex or they may panic because they are unable to open their mouth normally.

Extraction of the tooth

If the tooth that needs to be replaced is still in the patient's mouth, the dentist will extract it. The time taken to extract the tooth will depend on its condition. Fractured teeth require extra care when extracting because they can get fragmented. Before the extraction, the patient is given anesthesia to make it a pain-free procedure. However, they will feel pressure during the removal.

Placement of the dental implant

The dentist will drill a hole in the jawbone to place the dental implants. They may also make an incision in the gums in order to expose the bone. Then, they will place the implant in the bone where the tooth will be placed. In some cases, there may also be a need for a bone graft. Patients usually don't notice this minor part of the procedure.

The experience of getting an implant will vary from person to person. Majority of patients feel less discomfort than they expected and are usually allowed to drive home after the procedure. The post-treatment discomfort is comparable to other dental surgeries. Over-the-counter painkillers help in managing the pain.

Healing process

The healing process can take a few months. During this time, the jawbone and implants grow together. During the first few weeks after, the patient is restricted to soft foods. Patients have the option to place a temporary tooth over the implant during the healing process as well.

Abutment and tooth placement

Once the implant is fully bonded with the jaw, the dentist will place an abutment on the implant. After giving anesthesia, the dentist will tighten the abutment using a dental wrench. For some patients, the dentist may also recommend an abutment at the same time as the implant. Once the gums heal, the dentist will attach the artificial tooth to the abutment.

Dental implant surgery is a multi-step procedure that involves various parts of the mouth, including the jaw and gums. There is also a considerable healing period post-surgery before the teeth can be placed on the implant. Consult with a dentist to discuss your options and to get a personalized dental plan.

If you still have questions about how dental implants are placed, feel free to give us a call today. We're available to walk you through the procedure as well as answer any questions that you may have. 

Are you considering dental implants in the Woodland Hills area? Get more information at .

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