Until recently, patients looking for tooth replacement had two options - a fixed bridge or full or partial dentures.
Today, dental implants have proven to be an effective, durable alternative for tooth replacement that is changing the lives and improving the oral health of many patients. While they have only recently become well-known, dental implants have been used successfully for over 40 years with a high success rate.
As a board-certified oral surgeon, Dr. Suzin Um has extensive training in many areas oral-health areas including dental implantology. She is committed to providing her patients at Lake Forest Oral Surgery with the highest quality standard of dental care.
What Does a Dental Implant Do?
A dental implant is a small titanium post that, when implanted in the jaw bone, acts as a replacement root for a missing tooth. Because of its biocompatible properties, the implant can integrate fully with the jaw bone and provides a stable foundation for the restoration that will be placed on top of it.
Dental implants may be used to replace one tooth or several missing teeth. They may also be used to stabilize dental bridges and dentures.
Replacing missing teeth is not just important from an esthetic perspective, but it is also critical for protecting and maintaining your overall oral health. A tooth exercises the bone and allows it to maintain its shape. A missing tooth can cause deterioration of the jaw bone, a common result of missing teeth.
Replacing teeth is also important because the space caused by a missing tooth allows surrounding teeth to gradually drift out of proper alignment.
What Does Getting a Dental Implant Involve?
The first step is a consultation with Dr. Um who will talk to you about your decision to get dental implants. Using state-of-the-art 3-D cone beam technology, Dr. Um creates a surgical guide to plan the placement of the implant in its optimal position in your jaw. Guided surgery allows more precise placement that results in less invasive surgery, reduced swelling and pain, and shorter healing time.
The success of a dental implant depends mainly on the quality and quantity of bone in the area where the implant will be placed. If there isn’t sufficient bone density to support the implant, Dr. Um will recommend grafting to augment the bone and provide a solid foundation for the implant post.
A dental implant has three parts: the implant post, the abutment, and the implant restoration. First, using advanced technology and surgical guides, Dr. Um expertly places the implant post in its optimal position in the jaw bone. Over time, the implant heals and fully integrates with surrounding bone. Healing time is dependent on the quality and quantity of bone and differs from person to person.
After the healing is complete, a simple procedure is performed to attach an abutment to the implant that that extends above your gum line. This provides a stable base for a dental restoration that will be the visible, functioning part of the implant.
How Long Do Dental Implants Last?
With proper placement by a qualified oral surgeon like Dr. Um, the implant can last a lifetime. Factors that affect the longevity of the implants include smoking, uncontrolled gum disease, uncontrolled diabetes, unstable bite and grinding to name a few. Dr. Um will assess your risk during the consultation. The implant should be treated with the same care as any other dental restoration. Proper oral hygiene, regular dental exams, and professional cleanings can significantly extend the life of the restoration.
Call to Schedule Your Appointment
If you and your dentist have decided that a dental implant is the right tooth replacement for you, please call our Foothill Ranch office to arrange a consultation with Dr. Um.