Dental Implants In Spokane, Washington

Titanium dental implants are considered to be the treatment of choice for the replacement of missing teeth. Structurally secure and independent of other teeth, implants help preserve healthy enamel of adjacent teeth as well as supporting bone in the jaws. They also complete a smile and hide gaps left by missing teeth.

An implant consists of two parts:

  1. A titanium post that replaces the natural tooth root; and
  2. An artificial tooth that is affixed to the top of the implant post

They are placed in the jawbone and natural bone formation around the implant post helps create stability and hold it securely in place for years to come. With the proper care and oral health habits, dental implants can successfully last a lifetime.

The Options Are Limitless!

A dental implant can support a single crown or, with other implants, it can anchor a bridge or even a full denture. The stability of implants makes them function as if they were a natural tooth. In fact, they are considered to be even stronger than the healthiest of teeth in a person’s mouth. They are customized to match the patient’s surrounding teeth for a flawless looking smile.

The Importance of Replacing a Missing Tooth

Teeth may fall out or require extraction because of any of the following:

  • tooth decay
  • failed root canal
  • gum disease
  • trauma to the mouth (e.g., a sudden blow)
  • extreme wear and tear
  • poor oral hygiene

Missing teeth are not only cosmetically problematic — because they tend to draw the eye’s attention almost immediately — but also detrimental to overall oral health.

Chewing on a tooth keeps the underlying jawbone stimulated and healthy; without that stimulation, the jawbone can start to deteriorate and the gums can recede. The neighboring teeth may become weak and fail, and the teeth on the opposite jaw may start to grow into the gap. Eventually, the reduced jawbone and missing teeth can cause the facial structures to collapse and look hollow or sunken-in. Another problem with missing teeth is that the surrounding teeth may drift or shift into the gap left by a missing tooth.

Also, missing teeth make chewing and speaking difficult. People with missing teeth may feel too self-conscious of the gap(s) to smile or talk to others. They might hide their mouth behind their hand whenever in public.

Dental implants restore a normal appearance to the smile and resolve some of the problems caused by missing teeth. Chewing on the implant post provides the stimulation that the jawbone needs to thrive. Closing the gap prevents the adjacent teeth from migrating in the mouth and developing other problems. Replacing missing teeth with an implant also provides the strength and stability to eat virtually any food without struggling to chew.

Candidates for Dental Implants

Dental implants are designed for individuals that are in good general and oral health and free of any active tooth decay or gum disease. Dental implant candidates should not smoke and not suffer from an uncontrolled autoimmune disorder that could impede healing. They should be committed to good oral hygiene habits and understand that the implant placement and healing process can take up to a year.

When You’ve Been Told Implants Weren’t an Option

Not having enough healthy jawbone support is one of the primary reasons that dentists turn patients away for dental implants. Thankfully, that does not have to be a concern any longer, with the implementation of cone beam guided technology. Dr. Ryan R. Love utilizes the Sirona Galileos CBCT (Cone Beam Technology) to create a guiding device that allows implants to be placed in a manner that takes advantage of a person’s natural bone patterns.

The Implant Placement Process

The dental implant placement process typically requires a few visits to Dr. Love’s office, including an initial consultation to establish the treatment goals and plan.

The first step of dental implants placement is to surgically implant the titanium implant post into the jawbone. An opening is created in the appropriate jaw site to allow for placement of the implant post. The post is covered and left there to heal, until it has integrated into the surrounding jawbone and formed a stable base for the tooth replacement. The post becomes part of the jawbone anatomy during this time. The healing process, known as osseointegration, usually takes between four and six months.

A temporary tooth replacement may be used so the patient does not need to go toothless during this time. Also, using a temporary tooth replacement enables the gum tissue to grow around it and shape itself properly.

After the implant post has healed, the temporary tooth replacement is removed and replaced with the permanent, customized crown or bridge. The tooth replacement (usually a crown in single tooth replacement cases) is screwed onto the top of the implant post with a connector piece called an abutment. Several implant posts can be placed to support a denture that replaces the entire upper or lower arch of teeth.

Adjusting to Life with Implants

There may be a slight adjustment period as the patient adapts to life with an implant. In general, though, the implant looks, feels and functions almost exactly like a natural healthy tooth.

Implants require diligent at-home oral care and regular dental visits. Though artificial teeth and implant posts cannot develop decay or cavities, they must be treated like natural teeth, meaning brushed and flossed regularly.

The leading cause of implant failure is infection that occurs when the surrounding teeth are not properly cleaned. Smoking is also likely to cause implant failure, so quitting or avoiding cigarettes is important.

Contact Dr. Ryan Love

For more information about dental implants and whether they may be a suitable tooth replacement option for your case, please call (509) 928-2525 or email our practice today.