What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are lifelike restorations used to replace any number of missing or damaged teeth. Made of biocompatible titanium, implants are anchored directly into the jawbone for unmatched support and strength. These implants are then topped with lifelike restorations such as dental crowns, bridges, and full arches. Implant dentistry is considered the gold standard for tooth replacement since dental implants look and function just like real teeth!
Traditional dental implants are made of three separate parts:
- The titanium implant is the foundation.
- The abutment is the connector piece between the foundation and restoration.
- The crown or other restoration is secured to the post and is the only part of the implant that’s visible. It serves as the replacement for the lost tooth/teeth.
The Importance of Implant Dentistry
Replacing your teeth after tooth loss isn’t just vital to having a beautiful smile, it’s important to your oral health. Untreated tooth loss can lead to serious oral health issues down the line including inflammation, infection, and recession of the gums, mesial (dental) drift and resorption.
What Is Mesial Drift?
Mesial drift, also known as dental drift, refers to the tendency of teeth to move towards the front of your mouth or towards empty spaces. As you grow and your teeth and jaw develop, some mesial drift is normal, but untreated tooth loss can result in much more drastic drift. This can lead to:
- Further tooth loss
What Is Resorption?
Resorption refers to loss of jawbone density, especially after tooth loss. A missing tooth causes that area of the jaw to lose simulation, causing the area to slowly stop regenerating. As a result, the bone starts to degrade and is absorbed back into the body.
Untreated resorption can spread to other parts of your jaw and weaken the foundation of your remaining teeth. This increases the chances of further tooth loss and other related oral health issues. The lack of support in your jaw can even cause aesthetic issues such as premature wrinkles and sagging skin. For reasons such as these, replacing lost teeth with dental implants is the most recommended restoration method.
Benefits of Implant Dentistry
While non-implant restorations like dentures and traditional bridges can improve the look of your smile, they don’t offer the same benefits as dental implants. Some of the advantages that come with implant dentistry include:
- Custom-Made Design: Your implant dentist will take impressions of your teeth to create a dental implant that looks, feels, and functions just like your natural teeth.
- Stability: Implant restorations will never slip around or fall out of your mouth, allowing you to eat, speak, and smile with complete confidence.
- Prevents Misalignment: Dental implants return support to your remaining teeth, preventing mesial drift.
- Prevents Facial Sagging: Your implant restorations will restore support to the muscles in your face, preventing premature wrinkles and skin sagging.
- Prevents Resorption: Implant posts mimic the root of a natural tooth, providing the stimulation your jawbone needs to continuously rebuild itself and stay healthy.
- Lasts a Lifetime: With proper oral hygiene and regular dental exams with our skilled Honolulu implant dentist, your dental implants can last 20 years to a lifetime.
- Stain & Decay Resistance: Your implants and their restorations will be resistant to staining and decay, helping them last longer and stay looking beautiful.
- Biocompatible Materials: The titanium used in dental implants is easily accepted by the body, allowing your restoration to integrate with your jawbone.
- Improved Bite: Unlike dentures and other non-implant restorations, dental implants almost completely restore your bite force. This leads to better chewing, which also helps prevent indigestion, nutritional deficiency, and even diabetes.
- Versatile: Restorations for your implants can be customized to suit many different types of tooth loss. They come in forms like crowns, bridges, or full arches.
Candidacy for Implant Dentistry
Your candidacy for dental implants will depend on numerous factors, including:
- Jawbone Density: You’ll need to have an adequate amount of jawbone density to place your dental implants. If you don’t have enough bone mass, Dr. Nishime may be able to correct the issue with bone grafting. This procedure allows Dr. Nishime to replace lost bone tissue and provide the stability your implants require.
- Healthy Gum Tissue: Your gums should be free of infection or disease to improve the success of your implant procedure. There should also be enough tissue to support and protect the dental implants.
- Proper Maintenance: To ensure your implants are integrated properly and stay functional, you’ll need to practice proper at-home dental care, which includes brushing, flossing, and rising between meals. You’ll also need to visit our Honolulu dental office for regular exams to ensure your teeth and dental implants stay strong.
- Good Overall Health: If you’re suffering from certain health issues such as diabetes or leukemia, you may not be the best candidate. There’s a chance you can still get implants, but you might need to have special pre-op care in order to qualify for implant placement.
- You Don’t Grind Your Teeth: Bruxism or teeth grinding can wear down your restorations and damage your implants.
The only way to know for sure if you qualify for dental implants is to schedule a consultation at Advanced Restorative Dentistry of Honolulu. You can contact us by dialing (808) 732-0291 and we’ll set up your consultation with Dr. Nishime so he can tell you if dental implants are right for you.
The Dental Implant Process
Before receiving your custom-made dental implants, you’ll visit our Honolulu dental office for your initial consultation. During your consultation, Dr. Nishime will thoroughly examine your mouth. He’ll also review your medical history, current medication use, and ask you about your smile goals.
If you feel anxiety about the process, your implant dentist can offer sedation dentistry options to help you relax and make implant placement go by faster. If you have any questions about dental implants, your initial consultation is a good time to ask.
Designing Your Dental Implants
If your implant provider decides that dental implants are right for you, we’ll take digital images and impressions of your teeth. These will be sent to an offsite lab, where they’ll serve as the blueprints for your future dental implants.
To prepare your mouth for your new implants, we’ll apply an anesthetic to ensure you don’t feel any pain or discomfort. We can also apply your sedative of choice, or if you’ve opted for oral conscious sedation, make sure it’s working properly.
Once we’re sure you’re numb, your implant dentist will perform any necessary extractions. Then, they’ll make small incisions into your gums where the implants will be placed.
Once the incisions are made, your Honolulu implant dentist will place the titanium posts in your jaw through the incisions. Your jawbone will fuse to the implants, holding them in place, through a process called osseointegration. You’ll return once the process is complete, which usually takes at least three to six months.
Installing Your Restorations
Once you’ve healed completely, you’ll return to our Honolulu dental office to have your restorations installed. Dr. Nishime will show the restorations to you first, to ensure they’re to your liking. If you approve, he’ll securely attach your customized restoration to the implant fixture with the abutment piece. You’ll then walk out of our dental office with a fully functional, stunning new smile!
Dental Implant Patient Testimonial
Frequently Asked Questions
Here at Advanced Restorative Dentistry, your comfort and safety are our number one priorities. We’ll apply an anesthetic and ensure it’s working properly before any surgical procedures take place. We also offer sedation dentistry to alleviate dental fear and keep you relaxed during your procedure.
It’s common to experience some lingering pain and discomfort post-op. However, this will usually go away on its own within 10 days following the procedure. Your implant provider can prescribe medication to help you control any pain while you heal.
If you’re still experiencing pain or discomfort for more than two weeks, call our Honolulu dental office by dialing (808) 732-0291. Dr. Nishime and our staff will determine how to best solve your problem.
After implant surgery, you should wait until the anesthetic and any sedative has completely worn off before you start consuming foods or drinks that are hot. Failure to wait until the pain eliminating effects are fully gone can result in unknowingly biting down too hard on your cheeks, lips, tongue, or new implants or burning your mouth.
Your implant dentist recommends a liquid diet or eating soft foods after implant surgery such as:
- Soft fruit
- Cooked vegetables
Avoid crunchy, chewy, or hard foods and avoid drinks that are sugary, alcoholic, or hot for at least one week after surgery. If reintroduced to your diet too soon, these items can damage your implants and disrupt the healing process. Dr. Nishime will give you more precise guidelines for healing during your initial consultation.
Insurance coverage for dental implants tends to vary between providers. Some providers consider dental implants purely cosmetic and won’t cover any of the costs, while other providers may cover part of the costs. Implant dentist Dr. Nishime strongly encourages you to contact your insurance provider beforehand and confirm with them which costs they can cover. If your insurance doesn’t cover implant dentistry, we also offer an in-office savings plan you can use to alleviate some of your costs.
When installed by professional implant dentists like Dr. Nishime, implants are safe and highly beneficial. Your Honolulu implant dentist is proud to have certifications from prestigious implant dentistry institutions including The American Board of Oral Implantology/Implant Dentistry, the American Academy of Implant Dentistry, and the International Congress of Oral Implantologists. You can rest assured that your dental implant surgery will be performed with the utmost care and professionalism.
Choose Implant Dentistry: Full Smile Restoration & Oral Health
At Advanced Restorative Dentistry, patients of implant dentist, Dr. Nishime who have experienced tooth loss can restore their smiles through implant dentistry. We offer dental implants as a path to complete oral health restoration to patients from Honolulu and surrounding areas such as Kailua, O‘ahu, and Kapolei, HI.
To learn more about the benefits of implant dentistry, call Advanced Restorative Dentistry at our Honolulu dental by dialing (808) 732-0291. You can also book your appointment online by clicking the ‘schedule now’ button below and one of our friendly team members will get back to you shortly.