A beautiful smile is crucial to your appearance, self-esteem, and personality. Nevertheless, when you are missing one or more teeth, your smile and teeth functionality will be different. You will have problems eating, chewing, and talking, and in the long run, you could lose your face’s structure and shape due to jawbone resorption.

After losing teeth, you do not need cosmetic surgery to enhance your overall appearance. Cosmetic dentistry can help you regain your smile and facial structure through dental implants. An implant will replace the missing natural teeth, and give you the confidence, personality, laugh, and talk you have always enjoyed before the missing teeth.

The treatment is complex because it requires oral surgery. Therefore, you must find an exemplary cosmetic dentistry service for the treatment. At Washington Dental in Carson, we have the skills and experience to offer quality implant services.

Dental Implants at a Glance

Implants are artificial roots that look like screws. The roots are made of ceramic or titanium and are surgically implanted into your jawbone so that they are invisible. The screws act as artificial roots and provide anchorage for the crown that replaces the missing, decayed, or damaged teeth. Our cosmetic dentists at Washington Dental in Carson prefer using titanium metal posts because they are light, highly durable, and biocompatible. Biocompatibility is an essential advantage of titanium posts because it makes the metal highly tolerable by the body, enabling osseointegration. The metal screws fuse with the jawbone in this process, creating a stable anchorage.

Once the posts fuse with the bone, they assume the role of the roots of missing teeth. When the osseointegration process ends, you will return to your dentist for a dental prosthesis. However, before the prosthesis is placed, the dentist must screw in an abutment on the implant to support it. The abutment rests on the gum line above the titanium screw and secures your prosthesis choice, including dentures, crowns, or bridges. After the prosthesis has been placed, it is cemented to the connector and the metal screw, making it permanent.

The implants feel and resemble natural teeth, allowing you to chew and talk like you did before extracting or losing your natural teeth. It is hard for someone to differentiate implants from other teeth because they are virtually identical.

Implants have a success rate of 95%, meaning you are less likely to develop complications after the surgery. And because they are permanent restorations, implants can serve you for the rest of your life, as they are not susceptible to decay, periodontal disease, or cavities.

Dental Implant Candidacy

You are a candidate for our dental implants service if you are past puberty or after your jawbone growth is over and missing one or multiple teeth. It is crucial to perform the treatment when the jawbone is fully grown because, at this time, the bone has the strength and sufficient space to support an implant. And if the implant is well secured and stable, it offers full anchorage to your prosthesis, increasing the success rate of the treatment.

Even if you meet this eligibility criterion, the sure way to ascertain your candidacy for dental implants is to visit our offices for a thorough gum and teeth exam. Also, our dentists will analyze your jawbone’s density during the appointment. The latest dental technology, like cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT) and X-rays, enables us to measure your jawbone's quantity and structure to ensure it is sufficient for implantation. The images also help our dentists determine the best point to position your implants.

Several other factors determine the candidate's eligibility for implants. One of these factors is whether you require additional treatment before the implantation. If you have active diabetes or gum disease, the dentist must conduct other treatments to prepare you for the implants.

Also, smoking lowers your immune system, increasing the possibility of implant failure. Therefore, you can only qualify for the procedure if you agree to quit smoking.

Your cosmetic dentist will want to know whether you are on any medication and the type you use. The implants will likely fail if the drugs you are on are immunosuppressants. It would help if you stopped taking the medicines before undergoing surgery.

The last factor determining your candidacy for implants is the quantity of your bone or gum tissue. If it is insufficient, you must undergo a bone or tissue graft.

Reasons for Choosing Dental Implants

The primary reason why dental patients choose implants is to seal spaces left by missing teeth in the mouth. When you lose a tooth, the teeth adjacent to the open socket shift towards the gap, making the remaining teeth in the mouth unstable. As a result, your jawbone density reduces, and tooth loss continues. Our dental implant services at Washington Dental in Carson address these problems by using implants to replace missing teeth and fill the open gaps.

Similarly, you need an implant if tooth loss has led to chewing problems. The titanium posts function and look like natural teeth, enabling you to grind faster and more comfortably than before losing your natural teeth. You can eat any food you want, allowing your body to absorb all the nutrients it needs to remain healthy.

Moreover, when interacting with people, implants boost your confidence when laughing or smiling. Also, because you want to enhance your appearance, the fake teeth attached to the metal screws, like the crowns and dentures, are customized to look like your natural teeth, giving you the desired result: a beautiful smile.

Another reason you should opt for a dental implant service is to enhance your bone health. With the titanium posts, jawbone loss is improbable, although it can still occur. With some teeth missing in your mouth, jawbone deterioration is highly probable, causing wrinkles and a sunken look around your mouth, affecting your overall facial structure. Implants restore and preserve the health of your bones, helping you maintain the original shape of your face.

Also, natural teeth rely on periodontal ligaments consisting of collagen fibers to attach to the jawbone. The collagen fibers connect with the bone on one side and the teeth on the other, making the teeth susceptible to gum disease, cavities, and decay. However, when you replace missing teeth with implants, the metal posts fuse with your jawbone. And the gum tissues are not connected to the roots by the collagen fibers. They stick to the surface, making the implants resistant to decay or gum infections. Even though you are not prone to oral problems, it is essential to care for the implants as you do with natural teeth.

Implants are the answer if you seek a permanent solution to your missing or decayed teeth. Compared to removable dentures and bridges, dental implants are surgically placed in the bone and fuse in a process known as osseointegration. They function like your natural tooth root, providing a stable foundation for your prosthesis. Typically, bridges can only last sixty to one hundred and twenty months with proper care. Conversely, implants can serve you for approximately forty years, although you could be required to replace the prosthesis.

One of the most successful and efficient cosmetic dental services is implants. The treatment has a 95% success rate. However, to enjoy this benefit, your dentist must perform a thorough examination to establish your candidacy. Smoking and the use of immunosuppressants increase the risk of implant failure. Therefore, to enjoy the success rate of this treatment, you must observe healthy oral habits and follow your dentist’s post-operation instructions.

If your goal is aesthetic beauty, implants can help. They look and function like natural teeth, helping with your confidence and personality when interacting.

Implants will not only give you a flawless smile. The metal screws are well anchored, making eating and chewing comfortable and natural. Again, you do not have to worry about your speech or mumbling because they do not interfere with your talking. Additionally, you can rely on treatment to replace a single tooth, several teeth, or all your missing teeth. Instead of wearing removable dentures, you can use implant-anchored dentures to replace a complete set of missing teeth.

The replacement does not interfere with the surrounding teeth, helping you preserve your teeth. Your cosmetic dentist surgically implants the metal screw into the jawbone in the space left by the missing teeth. After osseointegration, the dentist attaches an abutment and a crown. The entire procedure is conducted in the space left by the extracted or missing tooth without interfering with the surrounding ones. Nevertheless, dentures and bridges are supported by in-line teeth. The teeth offering support undergo a lot of grinding and enamel removal to shape them and allow for better placement of the bridge or denture, which permanently alters perfectly healthy natural teeth.

Lastly, implants are highly cost-effective. Although the initial cost of treatment is high, the replacements are highly durable, and you will spend less money in the long run as they require little maintenance and repairs.

Dental Implants Placement

Based on your needs, implant treatment is a multi-stage procedure performed by your prosthodontist, a general dental expert with advanced dental implant training, an oral surgeon, or a dental technician. The role of your restorative dentist is to plan and attach the restoration while the dental lab technician produces the prosthesis. A periodontist checks your mouth for gum disease or oral inflammation to decide if you qualify for the procedure. An oral or dental surgeon then performs the implantation surgery. 

The stage that takes the longest is the healing phase, because this is when osseointegration takes place. The healing takes roughly five to eight months, so you should discuss with your dental expert the procedure expectations. The phases involved in implant treatment are:

Extraction of the Damaged Tooth

The first phase of dental implant treatment is extracting the damaged tooth. Some patients seek our cosmetic services due to damaged or broken teeth. If the affected tooth is damaged beyond repair, we remove the teeth and conduct an implant procedure. Tooth extraction only takes a few minutes and local anesthesia. Besides, you will need time for the open socket to heal.

Nevertheless, there are exemptions to tooth removal when your tooth falls out naturally, or you extract the tooth before coming in for a checkup. Your cosmetic dentist and their team of dental professionals will go directly to plan the treatment if the tooth has already been removed.

Treatment Planning

Every patient has unique needs, so the team works on your treatment to develop a plan that suits your needs. The planning involves examining your jawbones to determine their density and weight and picking a color that resembles your natural teeth. If additional treatment is necessary, like bone grafting, it must be completed to increase the treatment’s success rate.

Bone Grafting

If the density of your jawbone is insufficient or weak to anchor an implant, your oral surgeon will perform a bone graft procedure. The surgery is necessary to develop a robust base for dental implants. The surgeon removes a tiny bone piece from elsewhere in your body and surgically adds it to your jawbone as part of the implantation. The surgeon will use synthetic bones if a bone cannot be extracted from your body. Grafting takes five to twelve months to heal correctly and be strong enough to support the implants. Nevertheless, if you only need minor grafting, it can be performed on the same day as implant placement.

Attachment of the Implants

When the bone graft heals or the general dentist determines that your jaw is robust enough to anchor the implants, they will place them. Your dental surgeon will make an incision on the gums and uncover the jawbone where there is an open socket or missing teeth. The surgeon then drills holes using sized drills where the titanium screw will be planted as the tooth root. The titanium posts are buried in these holes, and a healing cap is placed. The gums around the cap take ten to fourteen days to heal, after which the dentist will reopen the gums and screw an implant abutment onto the metal post over the gum line. The dentist will then connect the temporary crown to the abutment, giving you time to heal.

The gum incision, drilling, and planting of the metal screws happen while you are under local anesthesia, so do not worry about the pain. Nevertheless, the dental surgeon will recommend sedation if you struggle with dental anxiety.

After the surgery, you should wait four to eight weeks for osseointegration. During the recovery time, stick to a soft diet because chewing hard foods can slow down or interfere with the healing. Additionally, your dentist will administer antibiotics to prevent infections in the healing phase.

You should expect discomfort or relative pain after the treatment, which will not interfere with your regular schedule. Besides, you will experience inflammation, bruising, minor bleeding, and pain, but over-the-counter drugs can manage these.

Permanent Prosthesis Placement

Once osseointegration is complete, you will visit the dentist for the permanent prosthesis. You will have two categories of prostheses to choose from. You can choose a removable artificial tooth or the fixed one.

  1. Attaching Dentures Into Implants

Not only your beautiful smile takes a hit if you have damaged or missing teeth. You encounter several problems, like chewing and talking. If the spaces created by the missing or extracted teeth remain open for a long time, the nearby teeth will shift, causing pain and jawbone resorption. Dentures are a great solution to this challenge because, when anchored by implants, they generally function like natural teeth.

You can use implant-anchored dentures to replace missing teeth in the upper or lower jaw. The advantage of these implant-retained dentures is that you can anchor a complete set of artificial teeth in the lower or upper jaws with two implants.

Also, there is the overdenture, or bar-attached denture, supported by at least two and a maximum of six implants supporting a complete arch of dentures. A bar is then attached to the implants with unique retention clips that enable the teeth to snap. The advantage of overdentures is that they firmly secure your teeth to prevent shifting, a significant problem with traditional dentures.

Alternatively, you can use screw-supported dentures to replace a complete set of missing teeth permanently. With these dentures, you will only need four implants positioned strategically in the lower jaw denture. These dentures offer stability, but the downside is that you cannot remove them for cleaning.

Note that dentures can also be placed in the upper jaw, although the upper jawbone differs from the lower one. You can talk and eat naturally with these dentures and remove them for washing or repairs. Also, they do not shift quickly like the ones on the lower jaw.

  1. Placing Crowns into Implants

After osseointegration, you can pick between cemented and screwed crowns. Cementing enhances the aesthetic beauty of the crown as it covers the area around the screw, but maintenance is complex. Nevertheless, it would help if you went for screw-retained crowns because they are easy to remove when necessary, but the downside is that they can loosen. Your choice of crowns depends on the tooth position you are replacing. If the tooth being replaced is visible, go for cemented crowns to prevent the abutment screw from being seen, making the restoration unattractive.

On the other hand, if you are replacing a tooth on the biting surface, you will need screw-retained crowns because of the heavy chewing and the fact that the screws will not be conspicuous. If you opt for screwed crowns, you must complete the entire process immediately. In some cases, the patient must wait up to eight months before the crowns can be placed, while in others, the treatment can be completed immediately, giving you an advantage over the cemented crowns.

  1. Attaching Bridges to Implants

You can cover the gap using a dental bridge when you have more than one missing tooth. You have several bridge options, the most common being the traditional bridge. The restoration contains at least one pontic retained by crowns or abutments cemented on the nearby teeth. You can also rely on conventional bridges when you have healthy natural teeth adjacent to the open socket left by the missing tooth. Bridges are an excellent cosmetic service, but their only challenge is not preserving the remaining natural teeth. Your dentist must remove the surface of adjacent teeth to shape them and create space for the crown.

Another option that resembles the traditional bridges is the cantilever bridge, which is attached to one connector instead of two. Therefore, even a single healthy tooth next in line to the open socket is sufficient for the dentist to rely on to fill the gap. However, with this option, you will experience challenges like losing crowns and fracturing the healthy tooth.

If you want a more conservative treatment option, go for the Maryland Bridges. The prosthesis is held in place by a metal or porcelain framework attached to two healthy teeth adjacent to the gap left by the missing or extracted teeth. And because this service does not require crowns, you preserve the remaining teeth without surface extraction. The problem with these bridges is that they are weak, and the framework attached to the artificial teeth could interfere with the gums and your bite.

The last dental bridge option you can pick is the implant retained bridge. With this treatment, you can place several false teeth because an implant and not a crown will anchor them. Each dental implant anchors one artificial tooth. The advantage of the procedure is that it is stable and comfortable, like your natural teeth.

You can choose any of these bridge types for the missing teeth. However, before picking an option, speak to a dental expert at Washington Dental in Carson to know if an implant will be beneficial.

Find the Right Cosmetic Dentistry Service Near Me

If you have dental problems caused by missing teeth that affect your lifestyle and smile in Carson, you should speak to Washington Dental. We have skilled and knowledgeable dental professionals who can help you regain and retain your smile. Call us today at 310-217-1507 for a no-obligation consultation and to understand our dental implant services.