Smile gaps hurt your self-confidence, oral function, and jaw bone density. If you have lost teeth and wish to complete your smile, Dr. Steve Yi of El Paso Viva Dental in El Paso, TX, can help with dental implants. Secured with titanium screws inserted into the jaw bone, these amazing artificial teeth close gaps permanently.
What is a dental implant?
It's a tooth replacement device which is far superior to conventional fixed bridges or other dental prosthetics. The single-tooth implant has three parts:
- A titanium metal screw, or root
- A metal alloy extension post
- A lifelike porcelain crown
Because the screw is made of titanium, the human jaw bone adheres to it exceptionally well, forming an inseparable bond. The bond also ensures that the supporting bone and gum tissue remain intact and strong. This develops through a naturally-occurring mechanism called osseointegration.
Osseointegration takes many weeks to accomplish, but when complete, both patient and dentist are assured of a reliably strong tooth replacement that will last indefinitely. Dental implant success rates are high, reports Dental Tribune Science, but sufficient healing time, diligent oral hygiene habits, and good overall health are critical to implant longevity.
Evaluating for and placing implants in El Paso
Dr. Yi likes to do a complete oral examination, including a visual inspection, X-rays, and a CT scan, to determine oral health and jaw bone strength. Also important is the location of the implant--front teeth are generally easier to replace--and if bone grafting is necessary. After this detailed consultation and a "yes" decision, the entire implant treatment happens at El Paso Viva Dental.
The treatment involves incision of the gums and careful insertion of the implant into the bone. Sutures close the site, and the patient returns home to heal. Healing takes many weeks, and during that time, the patient must not bite or chew on the implant as those stresses threaten successful osseointegration.
At the next dental appointment, Dr. Yi inspects the site, and if all is well, re-opens it and bonds on the extension post and customized crown. Afterwards, the patient gently uses the implant: eating, brushing, and flossing as usual.
Life with dental implants
Dental implants look, feel, and bite just as real teeth do. When you smile, that gap is completely closed, and you can feel confident that your new tooth won't slip or make your speech odd or slurred.
However, Dr. Yi cautions that good at-home and in-office hygiene is essential. While implants cannot develop cavities or be rejected by the body's immune system, the surrounding gums and bone can develop an infection called peri-implantitis. It resembles advanced gum disease and can destroy the surrounding jaw bone. To avoid peri-implantitis:
- Stop smoking
- Brush twice a day
- Floss once a day
- Get six-month cleanings and check-ups with Dr. Yi
A fantastic smile
It can be yours with dental implants from El Paso Viva Dental. Contact the office for a consultation appointment in El Paso, TX, and ask about our special implant pricing. Call (915) 751-1007.