As you probably know, the older one gets, the more likely we will have missing teeth, whether due to accidents or because poor brushing and flossing habits result in some falling out or needing to be extracted. You no doubt have questions about whether a dental implant is your best option.
Are there less expensive and quicker alternatives to implants?
Dentures are not an ideal solution because they do not stop the natural erosion of the jawbone that occurs when teeth are missing, which is why they need to be adjusted for fit about every five years. Dental bridges can slow this down by suspending a crown that looks like a tooth between the two teeth on either side of the gap, tricking the body into thinking no tooth is missing, but bridges typically only last 5-7 years. Dental implants can be a permanent solution with good oral care and so very cost-effective. The success rate for experts like Dr. Louie is about 95%.
How long does it take for each tooth to be replaced by an implant?
If a tooth is loose, it first needs to be extracted and the socket allowed to heal, which could take a couple of months. Otherwise, the first step will be for Dr. Louie to use his iTero intraoral scanner to take a 3D image of the area of the missing tooth and transmit the image to a top dental lab to create the biocompatible titanium implant. Because of this fast and highly-accurate digital process, you will quickly be able to have it ready to be screwed into the jawbone. Then you will need to wait a few months for the implant to integrate with the jawbone. The lab will have also made the dental crown, which will look exactly like your lost tooth (or teeth) and this will be attached to the top of the implant as soon as the implant has bonded. But multiple implants can be done in the same time frame.
When can I start eating normally after an implant?
In the first couple of weeks, it is important to rely on healthy soft foods like yogurt, eggs, smoothies, protein shakes, and soups. Drink lots of water, which will wash away food particles, buffer teeth from bacterial acids, and keep tissues hydrated. Avoid spicy, sour, and sweet foods, since they can irritate the surgical site while it is healing. Do not eat hard, crunchy, and sticky foods for a couple months, since they could dislodge the implant. But once the implant has become settled, it is a true treatment for missing teeth, then you can eat normally (and hopefully healthfully).
Call today for a full exam and consultation to determine if dental implants are right for your case.