Dental Implants Kirkland, Monroe, Redmond & Seattle WA

The most effective and comfortable solution for missing teeth is dental implants. These replacement teeth are permanently fixed in the jawbone and can last 30 years or longer with proper care. Many patients’ dental implants last a lifetime, liberating them from the embarrassment, difficulty, and long-term health issues associated with missing teeth.

What are Dental Implants?

Dental ImplantsDental implants are artificial tooth roots that support replacement teeth or dental prostheses such as crowns, bridges, or dentures. They offer a durable, long-term solution for individuals who have lost teeth due to tooth decay, gum disease, injury, or other reasons. By mimicking the function and appearance of natural teeth, dental implants help restore both the aesthetic and functional aspects of a person’s smile.

Dental implants are typically made of three main parts: the implant itself, the abutment, and the prosthesis (crown, bridge, or denture). The implant is a small, screw-like post surgically placed into the jawbone. Over time, it fuses with the bone through a process called osseointegration, providing a stable base for the artificial teeth. The abutment is a connector that attaches to the implant and supports the prosthesis. Once connected, the replacement teeth are fixed permanently in place, just like natural teeth.

Dental implants are made from biocompatible materials such as titanium or titanium alloys. Titanium is preferred due to its strength, durability, and ability to integrate well with bone tissue. Some implants are made from zirconia, a ceramic material known for its aesthetic qualities and strength. It is especially beneficial for patients with metal allergies or concerns about metal exposure.

Types of Dental Implants

Depending on how many teeth are missing, there are several implant options available, including:

The Dental Implant Procedure

Getting dental implants starts with a consultation with one of our oral surgeons. We will thoroughly evaluate your teeth and gums, taking digital images and assessing your bone structure. This information is used to plan your implant placement and determine whether bone grafting will be needed before your implants are placed.

On the day of implant placement, local anesthesia numbs the area. You may also be given some form of sedation to relax and relieve any anxiety. Once you are comfortable, a hole is drilled into the jawbone, the implant is placed, and the gum tissue is sutured closed over the implants.

The next step – osseointegration – is the healing phase, when the jawbone slowly fuses with the implant, creating a stable foundation for the crown or dental prosthetic that will be attached. Osseointegration may take anywhere from three to six months. You are provided a temporary set of prosthetic teeth to wear during the healing phase, so you are not without teeth at any time. Once fusion is complete, the abutment is attached to the dental implant, and the custom-made prosthesis or crown is attached to the abutment.

Advantages of Dental Implants

  • Dental implants are incredibly durable. With proper care, your implants can last a lifetime.
  • The stability and strength of dental implants allow them to absorb the bite force of your replacement teeth, giving you more chewing power.
  • The restorations attached to your dental implants are designed to blend seamlessly with your natural teeth. They not only look and feel like natural teeth but also function just as effectively, restoring the full beauty and functionality of your smile.
  • Your jawbone needs the stimulation provided by teeth roots to prevent atrophy and loss of bone density. Dental implants offer the same stimulation, preserving the jawbone.
  • Dental implants can be placed without damaging adjacent natural teeth.
  • Dental implant restorations do not shift, click, or pinch, unlike dentures.
  • No other form of tooth replacement is as convenient to care for—you brush and floss your dental implants like your natural teeth.

What to Expect After Implant Surgery

After dental implant surgery, you may experience some swelling, discomfort, and minor bleeding, which are normal and typically subside within a few days. Pain can be managed with over-the-counter medications or, if needed, a prescription pain reliever provided by your oral surgeon. Ice packs or cold compresses applied to the cheeks for the first two days will help minimize swelling and bruising.

Following the post-operative care instructions is crucial for a smooth recovery. This includes maintaining good oral hygiene and avoiding hard or sticky foods. For the first few days, a soft diet is recommended, including foods like hummus, yogurt, mashed potatoes, ice cream, pudding, soft pasta, and scrambled eggs. It’s important to avoid carbonated drinks and drinking through a straw, as the suction could disrupt the blood clot protecting the surgical site.

Regular follow-up appointments are essential to monitor healing and ensure the implant integrates properly with the bone. Most patients can resume normal activities within a few days. Still, complete healing and final prosthesis placement can take several months. Once healed, you will have a gorgeous set of teeth that no one but you, your dentist, and your oral surgeon will know aren’t real.

Dental Implants FAQ

Who should place my dental implants?

Although some dentists place dental implants, oral surgeons have several additional years of surgical and anesthesia training. We have trained in implantology and are familiar with how dental implants can affect your bite. Our surgeons perform dental implant surgery regularly, honing their skills and becoming experts in precise placement with minimal trauma to the surrounding gums. Most dentists do not have this level of expertise.

Am I a candidate for dental implants?

You are a good candidate for dental implants if you are healthy and have good oral health. If your jawbone has thinned out or your teeth have been missing for any length of time, you may need bone grafting to build up sufficient jawbone material to support the implants.

Some people who are not good candidates for dental implants include those with uncontrolled diabetes, certain autoimmune diseases, or blood clotting disorders. You may not be a good candidate if you are a heavy smoker. We ask anyone who smokes to give up the habit before surgery and refrain from smoking for several weeks after surgery. Ideally, it would help if you quit using tobacco permanently.

How successful are dental implants?

Dental implants are successful over 95 percent of the time. Although implants can fail, this is rare and usually happens when a patient does not follow their post-operative instructions carefully.

How do I care for my dental implants?

Dental implants should be cared for like natural teeth. Brush them with a soft bristle toothbrush twice daily, floss daily, and see your dentist for a checkup and professional cleaning every six months. Although you cannot get a cavity in your replacement teeth, you can develop gum disease or infection, so vigilant oral care is necessary.

How long does implant surgery take?

If you get a single tooth implant, the surgery can take as little as 30 minutes. Multiple implants can take up to three hours, depending on how many implants are placed and the complexity of the procedure. Your oral surgeon will be able to give you a good idea of how long it will take after creating your customized treatment plan.

Dental implants are the only fixed, permanent solution for missing teeth that preserves your smile and protects your jawbone. To learn more, please call our practice to schedule an appointment with one of our skilled oral surgeons.

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