Permanent Tooth Loss Solutions For a Healthier Smile
Patients missing multiple teeth want effective solutions that will restore their ability to eat, speak, and smile. Removable orthodontic appliances such as dentures and bridges might be appealing to patients because they’re affordable and easily accessible options.
However, removable treatments won’t properly protect against issues caused by tooth loss and may cause or worsen oral health issues. That’s why Dr. Lau and his dental team at Mid-Valley Dental Care recommend dental implants as a permanent solution to tooth loss.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are durable replacements for missing teeth that look and act like the real thing! Using biocompatible titanium posts, or fixtures, as a foundation, dental implants fuse to your jawbone in a process called osseointegration. This keeps them firmly in place when you eat, speak, and smile.
Types of Restorations
At Mid-Valley Dental Care, we offer three different types of implant restorations:
- Single tooth crowns for replacing one or a few teeth in different areas of the mouth.
- Multiple tooth bridges for replacing one or more missing teeth in the same area.
- Full arch dentures for replacing the entirety of teeth in the top and/or bottom of your mouth.
Your restoration will be connected to the titanium fixture by an abutment piece. Best of all, with regular brushing and flossing combined with biannual visits to our Northridge office, dental implants can last a lifetime.
Oral Health Benefits of Dental Implants
When it comes to restoring your functional smile, dental implants are often the best option available. Dental implants offer significant advantages over removable orthodontic appliances, such as:
- Stain resistance
- Prevention of gum disease and dental drift
- Preservation of jawbone density
- Speech clarity
The Dental Implant Process
Dental implants are a great option for patients seeking a long-term solution for missing teeth, but they may not be for everyone. That’s why you’ll attend a consultation with Dr. Lau before receiving any implants.
During your consultation, Dr. Lau will examine your mouth and discuss with you your medical history and dental goals to determine if you’re a good candidate for dental implant surgery. Depending on your oral health, Dr. Lau may recommend supplemental procedures to better prepare your mouth for an implant.
Soft tissue augmentation, or gum grafting, uses transplanted tissue from another part of your mouth to restore an area where gum tissue has receded. Transplanted gum tissue is usually taken from the roof of your mouth or areas where gum tissue is more abundant.
A sinus lift is used in conjunction with a bone graft. When preparing to receive dental implants in the upper jaw, the maxillary sinus will be moved up. This makes room for grafted bone and will prevent the implant from falling out or puncturing the sinus membrane.
If you’ve experienced resorption, which is the absorption of the jawbone back into the body, you may require a bone graft. Bone grafting uses transplanted bone tissue to fortify an area of your jawbone where density has been lost. Bone transplants can come from a number of sources, such as other parts of your body, or a donor.
While it may feel counterintuitive to remove more teeth if you’ve experienced tooth loss, tooth extraction may be necessary before you receive dental implants for a number of reasons.
- Implant supported bridges require the removal of certain adjacent teeth so they can be fitted with implants that will help secure the bridge.
- Damaged or infected teeth need to be extracted before they can be replaced with an implant.
- Implant supported dentures require the removal of certain remaining teeth in the arch so the restoration can be properly installed and sit like natural teeth.
Once Dr. Lau has determined that you’re a good candidate for dental implants, we’ll take detailed images of your mouth that will serve as the blueprint for your implants. After this, you’ll be scheduled for implant placement surgery.
Implant Placement Surgery
Implant placement surgery takes place in five stages:
- We’ll apply a local anesthetic so you don’t feel any pain during the procedure. If you’re experiencing dental anxiety, we also provide sedation dentistry so you can feel calm and relaxed while Dr. Lau works.
- After ensuring that your anesthetic is working properly, Dr. Lau will make small incisions into your gums where your implants will be placed.
- Your implants will be carefully inserted into your jawbone through these incisions.
- Your incisions will then be stitched up, allowing your implants to fully heal.
- You’ll leave our Northridge office and return once osseointegration is complete, a process which usually takes up to six months.
Installing Your Permanent Restoration
When you return to our office for your permanent restoration, you’ll leave that same day with your stunning new smile. Here’s what to expect:
- You’ll return to our Northridge office once your jaw has fully integrated the implants.
- We’ll install your permanent restoration by connecting it to the fixtures with abutments.
- You’ll walk out of our Northridge office with a fully restored, healthy smile!
Alternatively, if you’re receiving a full arch restoration, your dental implant procedure will be performed with TeethXpress, an innovative new system capable of granting you a new smile in one day.
TeethXpress® allows us to provide you with a natural-looking replacement in just one day. This technology eliminates the need for supplemental procedures and cuts down on surgery time by permanently mounting your denture on four to six implants. Learn more about TeethXpress on our implant site.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here at Mid-Valley Dental Care, your comfort and safety come first. We’ll apply a local anesthetic and ensure it’s working properly before any surgical procedures take place.
It’s common to experience some lingering pain and discomfort when the numbness fades. However, this will go away on its own within 10 days following the procedure.
If you’re experiencing pain or discomfort for longer than 10 days, call our Northridge office at (818) 886-3500 to schedule an emergency appointment. Dr. Lau will be able to resolve any issues you may be having.
Missing one tooth may not seem like an urgent matter, but the open space makes you more susceptible to oral health issues such as inflammation, decay, infection, and dental drift. The sooner you replace a missing tooth, the more damage you can prevent in the future.
After implant surgery, we suggest you wait until the anesthetic has worn off before you start eating again. Failure to wait for the anesthetic’s effects to completely subside can result in you unknowingly biting down too hard, which may cause damage to your cheeks, lips, tongue, or new implants.
We recommend eating soft foods after implant surgery, such as:
- Soft fruit
- Cooked vegetables
For at least one week after surgery, avoid foods that are crunchy, spicy, chewy, or hard and drinks that are sugary, alcoholic, or hot. If reintroduced to your diet too soon, these items can damage your implants, disrupt the healing process, and increase tooth sensitivity.
Ideal candidates for dental implants are adults who have lost one or more teeth. Ideally, they’ll have healthy gums and sufficient jawbone density. Some patients may require a supplemental procedure to help prepare for successful implant placement.
During your consultation, Dr. Lau will review your medical history and discuss your options so you can make an informed decision. He’ll also be able to determine what treatments will be effective for your unique situation.
Dental implants can last a lifetime with proper care. This includes brushing at least twice a day, flossing regularly, and keeping up with biannual visits with Dr. Lau at our Northridge office.
Restore Your Smile With Durable Dental Implants
Whether you’re missing one or more teeth, dental implants from Mid-Valley Dental Care can help you restore the appearance and functionality of your smile. With versatile options to suit almost every dental patient’s needs, Dr. Lau will ensure your implants will help maintain your overall oral health.
To schedule a consultation with Dr. Lau, you can contact our Northridge office at (818) 886-3500. Take advantage of this highly effective and long lasting solution to tooth loss!