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How Dental Implants Can Improve Your Smile

By: Dr. Michael Berglass

Date Posted: April 21, 2022 1:46 am

How Dental Implants Can Improve Your Smile

How Dental Implants Can Improve Your Smile

Having one or more missing teeth not only affects your smile and how you look, but it also causes loss of the jawbone over time. Many people have at least one missing tooth, and around 25% of the population over the age of 74 have no natural teeth left. There are numerous replacement options, and a popular one is dental implants. This method has gained significant traction over the years, but you may be wondering, what are dental implants?

Implants not only fill in the gaps in your mouth, but they also provide numerous benefits over other replacement methods. Although implants are an effective procedure, not everyone is a good candidate, and the process is lengthy. At Boynton Implant and Cosmetic Dentistry, we can answer all your questions about this replacement method. Before quickly making a decision to get implants, it is a good idea to understand what they are and what the procedure entails

What are Dental Implants?

Implants are, technically, medical devices that insert into the jaw. An implant is a screw-like post or rod, typically made with titanium, that a dental implants specialist surgically placed into the upper or lower jawbone. This implant acts as the tooth root, and it provides support for an artificial tooth. This artificial tooth may be a crown, or the implants may provide the foundation for a bridge or dentures. When referring to the term dental implants, however, most people mean the posts and crowns, as they look the most like real teeth.

Dental Implants

Benefits of Implants

One can better understand the benefits of implants once you learn how dental implants work. One of the main reasons why dental implants are so beneficial is because they insert into, and integrate with, the jawbone. This provides a stable and strong foundation that allows the wearer to chew and speak normally without the fear of slippage or other issues. With implants, people can eat normally, and there are few, if any, limitations as to the food they can eat.

An approved appearance is another major benefit. Filling in gaps obviously improves one’s smile and confidence. However, there are other benefits related to appearance. If teeth are missing for a long time, this results in bone loss. Over time, this loss begins to affect the muscles in the face, which can result in sagging skin and a hollowed appearance. Implants prevent further bone loss and help restore the facial structure. With missing teeth, the adjoining teeth can also begin to shift, causing misalignments and loose teeth. Implants prevent this.

The crowns that the specialist places on top of the implants can come in a variety of shapes, shades and sizes, and the lab fabricates them to match your natural teeth. This natural look is one of the reasons why many people choose implants.

One advantage of artificial teeth is they do not decay. This does not mean you do not need to continue to practice good oral hygiene, as you still need to remove bacteria to prevent infection, but your teeth will never get cavities.

Good Candidates for Dental Implants

Now that you understand what dental implants are, you may be wondering who good candidates for the procedure are. To start, a good candidate is someone who is missing one or more teeth and does not want another procedure, such as dentures. Other candidates include those who:

  • Are adults and have a fully grown jawbone
  • Have good jawbone density or qualify for a bone graft
  • Have good oral health
  • Do not smoke
  • Do not have medical conditions that would interfere with the healing process
  • Are patient and willing to go through the lengthy process

What to Expect from the Implant Procedure

If you feel you are a good candidate for implants, we can answer the question ‘how do dental implants work and what does the procedure entail?’ The implant procedure is not a quick one. Depending on a variety of factors, the entire process can range from seven to twelve months, and it will take even longer if additional procedures are necessary.

Teeth Extraction

Teeth Extraction

Not every patient requires this step. Extraction only occurs if the implant is going to replace a badly damaged or decayed tooth. The dental implants specialist needs to remove the tooth first, and then the implant procedure can begin once the area heals.

Bone Graft

A graft is only necessary if someone is otherwise a good candidate but has inadequate bone structure to hold the implant. The specialist removes bone from elsewhere, or uses a synthetic material, and adds it to the jaw. After the graft, it usually takes around four to 12 months for the bone to grow enough to be able to accommodate the implant.

Implant Placement 

To begin the procedure, the dental implants specialist surgically places the implants into the bone. This occurs by cutting the gum tissue to reveal the jaw and then drilling the implant in. After completion, the affected areas need to heal completely before the next step. Healing averages between four and seven months.

Healing Cap Placement

After the gums have healed and the implants have sufficiently fused with the bone, there is the placement of a healing cap. This is a metal collar that is flush with the gums, and it guides the gum tissue to heal around it to prepare for placement of the abutment and crown. After the healing cap placement, it takes around 10 to 14 days to heal.

Abutment Placement

The next step is to replace the healing cap with an abutment. The abutment screws onto the implant and is what the artificial tooth attaches to. Before the placement of the permanent crown, the gums need to heal, which takes around four to six weeks. Before the end of this visit, the implant specialist will place a temporary crown.

Artificial Tooth Placement

While the gums heal around the abutment, a lab fabricates the permanent crowns. At the final visit, the specialist removes the temporary tooth and replaces it with the permanent one. Any necessary adjustments take place, and then the dentist either screws in the crown or uses cement to affix it to the abutment.

How to Care for Your Dental Implants

Some tooth replacement methods require complicated cleaning instructions, such as soaking overnight or using a special cleaner. After understanding how dental implants work, you may wonder if it takes a lot of work to care for the new implants.

The good news is that they are simple to care for. You can brush and floss them like your natural teeth, and you should visit the dentist for regular professional cleanings. However, no extra care is necessary. If you take care of your implants properly, they can last for many years, and most will have them for a lifetime.

What are Dental Implants Complications?

Dental Implants

As with any surgery, there are potential risks with the dental implant procedure, but most procedures are successful, and complications are rare. To minimize complications, our dental implants specialist evaluates all potential candidates closely to ensure they are a good fit for implants. This includes a thorough exam, including X-rays, and a review of dental and medical histories. The risk of complications decreases significantly when the person undergoing the surgery is healthy, has adequate bone density and does not smoke.

Patients should, however, expect some potential discomfort after some of the steps, especially the initial placement of the implant. Common effects some people notice include:

  • Minor bleeding
  • Swelling of the face and gums
  • Discomfort at the implant site
  • Bruising of the gums and skin 

The implants specialist will advise you as to how to handle any post-surgical discomfort, such as pain medication or ice packs. He may also limit the foods you can eat right after surgery. Typical recommendations are soft foods for the first few days.

The dentist will also give you post-surgery instructions to prevent infection, which is a more common complication. Following these instructions minimizes the risk. Gum recession may also occur. If it does, you should let the specialist know immediately, as prompt attention can prevent the dentist from having to remove the implant.

The success rate for dental implants is around 95%. Complications and failure are rare, but you should discuss with our implants specialist about any concerns you have and to make sure implants are the right replacement method for your goals and situation. Our specialist has been working with implants for more than 20 years and has the experience to deal with a variety of patients and circumstances.

Schedule an Appointment Today

Getting dental implants can be life-changing for many people who have a mouth full of missing teeth. However, it is important to understand what dental implants are and to be aware of what the procedure involves.

Schedule an Appointment Today

If you want to explore dental implants and rediscover the ability to chew and speak normally, contact us at Boynton Implant and Cosmetic Dentistry. Schedule a consultation to see if you are a good candidate for implants and to get all your questions answered.







Michael Berglass

Michael Berglass, DDS

Dr. Berglass, a member of the American Dental Association and Florida Dentists' Association, remains updated on dental advancements. His goal is simple and straightforward-Create beautiful and healthy smiles.

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