Whether you’re missing a tooth or find yourself wearing poorly fitting dentures, dental implants may be the solution you’ve been waiting for. Implants, or custom-made artificial teeth secured to permanent anchors, can be a long-term fix for missing teeth. Because they blend in perfectly with your natural teeth, implants are an ideal solution for filling in gaps and restoring your smile. At Red Bud Dental in Round Rock, Texas, Dr. Lisa Ochoa provides dental implants to patients from communities in the Austin metropolitan area.
A dental implant is a custom-fitted, artificial tooth root made from long-lasting, medical-grade metallic and ceramic materials. The implant itself, which is typically titanium, is surgically anchored into your jawbone where it holds a porcelain crown -- an artificial tooth -- in place. There are two main types of dental implants: One the dentist places directly into the jawbone, much like a real tooth root, and one that involves a custom metal framework fixed onto the jawbone.
Dental implants are strong, stable, and permanent. As one of the most important developments in modern dentistry, implants are among the most commonly requested offerings of cosmetic dentistry.
Because proper bone structure and healthy gums are essential for successful implant surgery, patients who are in good health and have adequate bone mass can get dental implants.
Before implantation surgery, Dr. Lisa Ochoa refers her patients out to a lab for a 3D cone beam CT, a special type of X-ray that produces a 3D image of your teeth, soft tissues, nerves, and bones. This image will help Dr. Ochoa assess your bone structure and determine the size and type of implant that should be used.
Dental implant surgery is an in-office procedure performed under local anesthesia. After Dr. Ochoa anchors the titanium root into or onto your jawbone, she’ll secure your gum over the implant, leaving it covered until the implant fuses with the bone.
After she uncovers the implant, Dr. Ochoa will attach a post to the implant and an artificial tooth, or porcelain crown, to the post. She also may attach the implant over the denture. Although the process varies from patient to patient, it can take up to nine months to complete. Some patients require up to six months to recover after the initial implant surgery while fitting the replacement teeth doesn’t usually take longer than a couple of months. For patients with very good bone quality, the process can go much faster.
Dr. Ochoa may recommend against dental implant surgery if you’re affected by certain chronic health problems, such as diabetes or leukemia. That’s because systemic diseases like these can interfere with the healing process following surgery. Because people who smoke cigarettes heal more slowly, they’re not ideal candidates for implant surgery either. To find out if implants are a good option for you, schedule an appointment with Dr. Ochoa.