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Owasso Dental Implants

A mature woman with long hair looks at the camera and smiles with confidence because her dental implants look and feel perfectly natural.Since implants mimic both the look and function of natural tooth roots, a dental implant is the best way to replace a missing tooth  Here at Life Smiles of Owasso, Dr. Heng Lim performs both dental implant placement and dental implant restoration.

Dental implants are tooth replacements that consist of a metal  post topped with a restoration like a crown, bridge, or denture. In a brief and minimally invasive surgical procedure, the post portion is placed in the bone. This implant post develops a tight bond with the surrounding tissues of the bone as the surgical site heals. This gives the implant a strong foundation and provides stability for the restoration, which is visible above the gums.

Why Get a Dental Implant?

Dental implants offer the obvious benefit of filling in empty spaces in your smile. Filling in those gaps will certainly boost your confidence in your smile and prevent neighboring teeth from shifting out of place. But other tooth replacements like dentures and dental bridges do the same thing.

Implants are the ideal option because they can do something that dentures and bridges cannot: prevent facial collapse.

What Is Facial Collapse?

The presence of your teeth is what gives your smile its height. Losing most of your teeth will cause your nose and chin to meet closer together when you bite down. Wrinkles and sagging skin will also quickly form around your mouth when there is no framework of teeth to support your facial tissues. This is the first stage in facial collapse.

Bone loss is the next stage. When a permanent adult tooth is lost, there is no need for the bone tissue that once surrounded the roots of the tooth that used to be there. Your body will dissolve that bone tissue in a natural and painless process so that the calcium and other minerals can be used elsewhere in your body.

The bone resorption process shrinks the area where your tooth used to be, creating a cratered appearance. If you are missing all or many of the teeth on the lower half of your mouth, then, over a period of ten or twenty years, your entire jawbone will gradually shrink in height. As your smile height continues to collapse, facial wrinkles will deepen and your profile will look aged.

Comparison of the profile of an older woman. In one image, she is experiencing facial collapse as a result of missing teeth. In the other, she has a full and youthful smile thanks to dental implants.
Notice how facial collapse affects the profile. Dental implants can prevent this collapse and keep your smile looking young.

By replacing lost teeth with implants, the implant posts act like natural tooth roots and stimulate the bone in your jaw to keep it from shrinking. This makes dental implants the superior tooth replacement option in comparison with removable dentures, which merely rest on top of your gums.

Benefits of Dental Implants

  • Boost your confidence. Dental implants can help you feel better about the appearance of your smile because they fill in unsightly gaps. Additionally, the stability that implants provide to restorations like bridges and dentures will give you confidence that your restoration won’t fall out.
  • Enjoy improved nutrition. Implants are just as strong as natural tooth roots. You can chew all kinds of foods with ease and in comfort when you have dental implants. This opens up more possibilities when it comes to choosing a healthful diet.
  • Avoid facial collapse. Dental implants prevent bone resorption and preserve the height of your smile. A denture can temporarily improve your profile, but it cannot stop the gradual loss of bone in your jaw.
  • Natural look and feel. When it is done well, no one will ever be able to tell that your dental implant is not a real tooth. Implants also feel and function just like natural teeth, so you will speak and eat normally.
  • Long-lasting. Unlike dentures and other tooth replacements, dental implants have the potential to last you a lifetime, provided you take good care of them.

A cross-sectional diagram showing where dental implants are placed and how they resemble natural teeth.

Getting Dental Implants: The Process

Here is what you can expect from your treatment here at Life Smiles of Owasso.

Step 1. Evaluation

Dr. Lim will perform a thorough examination of your dental health and bite to determine whether implants are right for you. You will have X-rays, photographs, and even a CT scan taken in order to capture a comprehensive picture of the structures in and around your mouth. Dr. Lim will let you know whether he recommends implants, and then review with you a suggested treatment plan that has been customized to your needs and preferences.

Step 2. Implant Placement

In a brief procedure, Dr. Lim will administer local anesthetic to the treatment site and then carefully create an opening in your gums and bone. He will place the implant screw in the site and then close up the gum tissue around it to allow your implant to heal undisturbed. If you have a tooth extracted prior to getting an implant, Dr. Lim may recommend building up the bone tissue in the socket to ensure a strong foundation for the implant. If the surgery is extensive, or if you are nervous about the procedure, conscious sedation is available for your comfort.

Step 3. Healing

It takes several months for a dental implant to create a tight bond with the surrounding bone tissue in a process called “osseointegration.” An implant can only bear the forces of biting and chewing once it has integrated with the bone. It may take three to six months for your implant to fully heal. In the meantime, Dr. Lim will carefully monitor your progress.

Step 4. Abutment Placement

The abutment is a small piece that connects your restoration to your dental implant screw. In most cases, the abutment is placed after the implant has successfully integrated with the bone tissue.

Step 5. Restoration

Dr. Lim will begin designing your restoration at the start of your dental implant journey, and you will be fitted for your restoration once your implant has healed. Dr. Lim makes dental implant crowns out of zirconia, a ceramic material that looks like natural tooth enamel but is as strong as metal.

Your Treatment Journey With Us

Dr. Lim places and restores both traditional dental implants and full-arch dental implant bridges, including  All-on-4 dental implants. You can read more about these denture alternatives on our All-on-4 treatment page.

Since 1994, Dr. Lim has successfully placed thousands of dental implants. His treatment philosophy centers on taking a whole-health approach, and he has special training in creating balanced and functional bites.

If you would like to explore the possibility of restoring your smile with implants, request an appointment with Dr. Lim. If you aren’t quite ready to book an appointment, then ask us about scheduling a complimentary consultation during which you can tour our office and meet with Dr. Lim to get answers to your questions about dental implants.