Dental Implants in Gretna, LA

At NOLA Dentures and General Dentistry, Dr. Schafer works hard to make people love their smile again.  Part of making a person love their smile is making teeth feel natural and comfortable.  Often times when a tooth is missing the best way to replace it is with a dental implant.

What is a dental implant

A dental implant is an artificial titanium root that is placed the jaw bone.  The implant is connected to a prosthesis such as an artificial tooth or a denture by an implant abutment. 

Dental Implant Advantages

Dental Implants offer a few key advantages for patients.  The biggest advantage to a dental implant is that an implant does not get a cavity on it.  While an implant still needs to be cleaned like a regular tooth, the fact that it is resistant to the same bacteria that causes about half of teeth to be lost is a huge advantage.  The implants must still have regular dental professional cleanings because they are still susceptible to periodontal or gum infections as the gums and the jaw bone are what holds the implant.  The second advantage is that a dental implant helps keep the surrounding bone in good health because it makes the bone be used.  When an implant is placed and chewing is done on the implant, the bone that holds the implant tends to strengthen and not deteriorate compared to areas where a tooth is removed and not replaced with an implant.  The third advantage of an implant is that you get a tooth back and it feels natural again.  The implant essentially functions like a tooth and feels normal to your cheeks and tongue. 

Dental Implant Process

To place a dental implant properly, Dr. Schafer breaks down the process into three steps: planning, surgery, and restoration.

At the first visit for a dental implant, Dr. Schafer takes models on the jaw as well as a 3d x-rays and camera photos.  With this information, he is able to plan exactly where the implant should be placed so that it heals well and predictably but also will function well.  Dr. Schafer plans out his implants with Blue Sky Bio software so that he can fabricate a surgical guide to show him exactly where the implant should be placed.  Dr. Schafer creates prints the surgical guide using his 3d printer.

At the second visit which usually happens, Dr. Schafer performs the minor surgery required to place an implant.  Surgery is typically takes one hour of a single tooth to two hours if it is multiple teeth.  Dr. Schafer numbs the area of the surgery, makes a small incision on the gums, and then places the implant.  Afterwards, a stitch is placed on the gums to cover and to protect the implant.  After the implant is placed in the jaw bone, the bone heals around the implant because the implant has a special coating around it that encourages the bone to mold around it. 

The third visit happens between three to six months later where the implant is exposed.  At that time a healing collar is placed on the implant to allow the gums to heal around the implant.  The healing collar also shows Dr. Schafer where the future crown or denture will be placed.  After the gums have healed, the crown is placed or the denture is attached so that the entire process is complete.

Maintaining a dental implant

Dental implants still need to be cleaned like regular teeth even though they do not get cavities.  The reason is that the gums and bone which support the implant are still suspectable to infection.  Cleaning around a dental implant is the same as cleaning around a tooth.  The same tooth paste and floss is used.  Dr. Schafer likes to also give his dental implant patients a prescription mouth rinse called peridex which helps kill harmful bacteria.  Peridex is a similar medication used by orthopedic surgeons to clean surgical sites and it works extremely well keeping the mouth healthy.

How to get a dental implant?

                Dental implants are a wonderful dental restoration because they give a patient back a tooth.  If you feel like you would benefit from getting a dental implant, please give us a call at 504-392-5104 and we will help you out.