Posted on 12/14/2012 by Dr. Franco
|A tooth may need to be removed for many reasons – infection, excessive decay or trauma can be responsible for the inability to salvage a tooth. A dental implant is a unique opportunity to return to the life you enjoyed before tooth loss, allowing you to eat, speak and smile without giving a thought to tooth loss.
Before moving forward with the dental implant process, the patient will be given a thorough dental exam as well as an overall health review to make sure they are a good candidate for implant surgery. The patient must be willing to commit to the long term process and take care of the implant to prevent infection.
Once a tooth has been extracted, a titanium screw like device will be imbedded in the gum tissue where the tooth had been. Titanium is the metal of choice for implants as it contains the properties that promote its fusion to bone. During the healing process of four to six months, the implant will become a permanent part of the dental anatomy to allow it to act much like the root of a natural tooth providing strength and stability.
During this healing time, the patient will be required to floss and flush the area as instructed by the implant dentist. Infection is a leading cause of implant failure so keeping the area clean is critical. The patient will also be advised to discontinue the use of tobacco in every form. Smoking, in particular, is another leading cause of implant failure.
Once the implant has healed, a final restoration will be fabricated to match the color, shape and size of the surrounding natural teeth. This will be permanently cemented to the implant restoring the ability to eat, speak and smile like before tooth loss occurred, and will be virtually undetectable from your natural teeth.
Caring for your implant is simple. There are no special diets or food restrictions. Daily flossing and brushing at least twice daily is a hygiene regimen to care not only for your implant, but all your teeth.
Seeing your dentist twice per year for a professional cleaning and dental exam will keep your teeth and gum tissue healthy and provide the best chance to avoid further tooth loss.
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PEDRO F. FRANCO, DDS
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