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Dental Implants: The Most Sophisticated Teeth Replacement Option

There are many reasons why a patient may need to replace a tooth. Decay, gum disease, or trauma can all result in tooth loss. Some people are even born with certain teeth missing. In all of these cases, a dental implant can be used to replace the missing tooth and restore optimal oral health. At Creative Smiles in Vancouver, WA, Dr. Carl Futenma places and restores dental implants for patients who are seeking a predictable and long-lasting teeth replacement option.

What is a Dental Implant?

A dental implant is a threaded titanium post that replaces a missing tooth root. During an oral surgery procedure, Dr. Futenma strategically places the implant into the jawbone. Dental implants are incredibly versatile, and can be restored with dental crowns, dental bridges, or dentures.

Dental implants stimulate the nerves in the jawbone just like natural teeth roots. By doing so, they actually preserve natural jawbone and prevent bone degeneration, which is a common consequence of tooth loss. Therefore, implants not only fill in the gaps in your smile, they can also promote optimal oral health. For this reason, they are widely considered to be the most superior teeth replacement option in dentistry today.

Who is a Candidate for a Dental Implant?

In order for a dental implant to be successful long term, it must be completely surrounded by healthy, dense bone. Therefore, patients with extensive bone loss may not be eligible for implant placement without a preliminary procedure, such as bone grafting.

Patients seeking implant treatment must also be free from extensive tooth decay or periodontal disease. Because oral bacteria can spread to adjacent areas quickly, it is important to make sure your new implant will not be compromised by infection. Therefore, dental issues such as these should be addressed before beginning treatment to ensure the long-term success of your implant.

Dental Implant Treatment Process

Receiving a dental implant is typically a straightforward procedure that can be completed in our office in under one hour. Patients who wish to be more comfortable during treatment have the option of sedation. Dr. Futenma can help you determine which sedation option will work best for you. The day of your procedure, you can expect:

  • Anesthesia: To keep you comfortable during your procedure, local anesthesia will be administered to numb the gums and surrounding teeth.
  • Incisions: Futenma will create a small opening in the gums to access the jawbone.
  • Preparation: Using a series of special dental drills, Dr. Futenma will prepare the site for the implant.
  • Placement: Once the area has been prepared, the dental implant will be placed into the jawbone.
  • Stitches: When the procedure is complete, the surgical site will be closed with stitches to protect the area and promote healing.

Healing and Recovery

Most patients experience minimal discomfort following the procedure. Any tenderness can be addressed with over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or naproxen. A cold compress applied to the external surface in 20-minute increments can also be helpful for alleviating swelling during the first 24 hours. Most patients can return to work the next day.

While you will be comfortable within the first couple of days, the implant will continue to heal over the next several weeks. During a process called osseointegration, the jawbone will fuse to the implant for stability. Depending on the case, this can take between two to six months. Once the healing process is complete, your implant can be restored.

Learn More about Dental Implants

If you have one or more missing teeth, and would like to explore dental implants as a replacement option, schedule a visit with Dr. Futenma. Contact us online anytime or call our office at (360) 574-3061.