Gum disease, if left untreated, often results in tooth loss, leaving many patients to wonder if they can get dental implants. Even gum disease patients who do not develop the advanced form of the disease, known as periodontitis, may want to replace missing or decayed teeth with implants. Is this possible, or will unhealthy gums…
Does a Cosmetic Dentist Install Dental Implants?
Cosmetic dentists who undergo additional training after dental school often install dental implants as part of smile makeovers. Implants are titanium posts that are inserted into a person's mouth to replace the root of a lost tooth. They are fitted with crowns that serve as artificial teeth or used to hold oral prosthetics like dentures and bridges in place.
Oral surgeons and periodontists are also qualified to install implants, but these professionals are more focused on restoring the function of the lost tooth/teeth. A cosmetic dentist, on the other hand, focuses on restoring or improving the way the patient's teeth look with the implant. In some cases, a cosmetic dentist might work alongside a periodontist or an oral surgeon to provide their patients with the highest level of care possible.
How a cosmetic dentist installs implants
At ART Dentistry, the process of installing implants starts with a consultation with our cosmetic dentist. The dentist goes over the patient's medical history and any medications they are currently taking. The dentist will perform a visual examination of the patient's mouth and administer diagnostic tests like X-rays to evaluate the patient's jawbone.
If the patient passes the initial evaluation, the dentist will proceed with the procedure. If the patient is healthy enough for dental implants but lacks the jawbone density needed to keep the implant in place, the dentist might perform bone grafts and transfer additional bone tissues to the area. If that is the case, the patient might need up to three months to recover from the grafts.
For patients who do not need bone grafts, the second step is the surgical installation of the implant. During this procedure, the dentist will make a cut into the patient's gums so they can reach the jawbone. The patient will be given a shot of anesthetic prior to this so they will not feel any pain as the doctor works.
The dentist will then drill a hole into the socket of the missing tooth. The implant is pushed into the hole until it is firmly held in place. The dentist might attach a healing cap or an abutment to the implant during this procedure.
After the installation of the implant, it takes up to six months for the tissues surrounding the device to fuse with it. The process is called osseointegration, and it anchors down the implant with bone tissues, just like a real tooth's root is held in place.
Once osseointegration is complete, the implant is ready for a crown that will replace the missing tooth. Depending on the patient's unique circumstances, the dentist might use the implant to anchor down other oral prosthetics like bridges and dentures. An impression of the patient's mouth is taken, and it is sent to a dental lab where the oral prosthetic that goes on the implant is made.
This is a crucial step that requires the skills of a cosmetic dentist to match the color, shape and size of the oral prosthetic to the rest of the patient's teeth. It usually takes the lab about two weeks to make the prosthetic. Once it is ready, the patient is called in to be fitted with their customized crown.
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