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The placement of dental implants is actually a rather involved procedure, performed over a series of months. A titanium post is drilled and affixed in the patient’s jawbone, and left for months to fuse with the bone in a process called osseointegration. It is only once this process is complete, when the jawbone is holding the metal post firmly, that your dentist will continue with the placement of a permanent crown or dental bridge.
This waiting period can take months, and proper healing is critical. During this time, it is imperative that patients exercise proper dental hygiene to the best of their abilities. If the utmost care is not taken to keep your mouth as clean as possible, bacteria left behind can develop at the implant site and cause swelling, irritation, and infections.
Before proceeding with the placement of dental implants, a good cosmetic dentist will ask his or her patient to quit or refrain from smoking during the healing process. This is for a number of reasons. Most importantly, smoking can slow the healing process significantly by depriving the body of oxygen it needs. Furthermore, the smoke itself can act as an irritant and encourage infections and abscesses to form in the mouth.
Permanent dental implants are not always the best choice for patients suffering from tooth grinding, a condition also known as bruxism. Constant movement from grinding can interfere with the healing process of the dental implant, preventing it from setting in the proper position. Even if the implant is able to set, bruxism can quickly wear down a crown. In a case like this, easily replaceable and removable bridges may be a more sensible option.
It is also possible to suffer a dental implant failure through no fault of your own. A dental implant must be perfectly sterile before it is placed in a patient’s mouth. If proper care is not taken and a titanium post contaminated with bacteria is implanted into the mouth, infection can set in at the implant site and cause dental implant failure.
The best defense against dental implant failure is good communication with your cosmetic dentist, to ensure that you are on the same page regarding treatment, as well as proper aftercare during the healing process. Contact the cosmetic dentistry practice of Andrew R. Glenn, DDS, to schedule a consultation and discuss your dental implant options today.
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