Missing teeth can affect the way a person eats, speaks, and looks. They can also compromise a person's overall oral health, resulting in increased pressure on surrounding teeth and allowing the supporting bone structure to deteriorate. Additionally, many people find that traditional crowns and bridges not only are uncomfortable and limiting, but also do no not provide the permanent function they desire from replacement teeth. Randal Swanlund, D.D.S. performs dental implant surgery at his practice in University Place, serving Tacoma, Puyallup, Seattle, and surrounding areas, to offer a more effective tooth replacement option. With dental implant surgery, patients can achieve functional tooth restorations that last.
Placing the Dental Implant
The first step in dental implant surgery is the placement of the actual implant. Dental implants are designed to mimic the root structure of natural teeth; they are therefore placed directly in the patient's jaw in order to provide a stable and secure foundation for replacement teeth.
On the day of the procedure, Dr. Swanlund administers a local anesthetic to the treatment area before beginning dental implant surgery. Patients at our University Place practice serving Tacoma, Puyallup, Seattle, and other communities have the option of using sedation dentistry for added comfort and tranquility during the procedure. Sometimes additional surgical preparation is needed before dental implant restoration can begin.
Once the patient is ready for dental implant surgery, an incision is made in his or her gum tissue to expose the underlying jawbone. Using special tools, Dr. Swanlund then creates a hole in the bone and inserts the titanium implant. Finally, the incision in the gum is sutured or stitched shut and left to heal for several weeks or months. During this healing period, the titanium implant fuses naturally to the bone, creating a strong, secure base for the replacement tooth. An abutment, or supporting post, is later attached to the implant, which serves to connect the replacement tooth to the implant anchored deep within the bone.
In some instances, single-stage implants are used to avoid the second phase of implant placement: inserting the post/abutment into the anchor. Single-stage implants, sometimes called immediate-loading implants, already have the post connected, so there is no need for a second procedure before the replacement teeth are attached. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Swanlund to find out if single-stage implants are right for you.
Attaching the Replacement Tooth
After the dental implant has had time to properly heal and anchor itself in the patient's jaw, the doctor will attach a specially made artificial tooth to the implant. Replacement teeth can be cemented, screwed in, or removable depending on the patient's preference. In the period before the permanent tooth is attached (normally four to six months), patients can use a temporary denture or bridge until they receive their prosthetic tooth. Dental implant surgery is safe and effective for replacing one or more missing or severely damaged teeth.
Dr. Swanlund prefers the immediate extraction and placement technique for dental implant surgery. With the extraction-to-implant method, Dr. Swanlund is able to remove the patient's tooth and place the dental implant during the same appointment. The implant is then left to heal for three months, after which a simple, brief procedure allows Dr. Swanlund to expose the healed implant and place the replacement tooth. Contact South Sound Dental Implant Centre to find out if you're a good candidate for extraction-to-implant surgery.
Tooth Replacement for Patients without Teeth (Edentulous)
Restoration of single missing or damaged back molars is the most common dental implant surgery performed at our office serving Tacoma, Puyallup, University Place, Seattle, and surrounding areas. However, we also treat patients who are missing all of their teeth, or who are edentulous.
Enhanced Denture Support with Dental Implants
Dental implant surgery is effective for patients who wear a lower denture and desire extra support. First, Dr. Swanlund places two dental implants in the lower jaw and allows them to heal for 90 days. Next, two attachments are inserted into the implants – these attachments connect the existing denture to the implants. At South Sound Dental Implant Centre, we use the LOCATOR® system manufactured by Zest Anchors, Inc. for optimal denture retention.
Full-Arch Replacement Teeth
Edentulous patients who would like a full arch of secure replacement teeth are also good candidates for dental implant surgery. This treatment normally involves four to six dental implants, which are allowed to heal for 90 days. Next, a one-piece titanium frame with acrylic teeth and pink gum tissue is fabricated. This prosthesis, called a Procera® Implant Bridge, is the latest treatment for patients who are missing all of their teeth. The Procera® Implant Bridge provides natural-feeling and natural-looking replacement teeth for patients missing the bottom or top row of their teeth.
After Dental Implant Surgery
Following dental implant surgery, patients should refrain from spitting, rinsing, and touching their mouth for at least a day to avoid aggravating the treated area. Patients may notice blood in their saliva for approximately 24 hours after surgery, but biting on gauze pads should relieve any bleeding. Swelling and pain can be treated with ice packs and over-the-counter pain relievers. A diet of soft foods and liquids is advised on the day of surgery, but patients may resume eating solid foods as soon as they feel comfortable doing so.
It is important to take any prescribed antibiotics to avoid infection in the surgical site. Additionally, patients should use the prescribed oral rinse twice daily, as well as warm saltwater rinses (one teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water) four to five times each day. Patients should have no trouble brushing their teeth with the new abutments in place. As with any surgery, physical activity should be limited immediately following the procedure. Partial or full dentures may be worn after 10 days of healing.
Learn More about Dental Implant Surgery
Dr. Randal Swanlund takes pride in helping patients achieve functional, comfortable replacement teeth through dental implant surgery. Serving patients in University Place, Tacoma, Puyallup, Seattle, and all of Washington, South Sound Dental Implant Centre is one of the region's premier practices for restorative oral surgery. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.