When You Need Dental Implants

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Look in the mirror and smile at yourself. Are you missing a tooth or even several? If so, then you may be a candidate for dental implants. Dental implants can be used to repair one tooth or several. There are even replacement options for your entire mouth, as an alternative to dentures.

So, what exactly is a dental implant? A dental implant is an artificial tooth that is constructed of titanium metal. You undergo a procedure where an implant cylinder is put into the jawbone. Then, time is given for the cylinder to heal and fuse with the jawbone. When you are ready, your oral surgeon will use an abutment to put the implant in place. The advantage of this is that the implant is fused to the jawbone and it will likely last a lifetime.

You may be a candidate for dental implants if you are missing a tooth and have a strong jawbone, or one that can be strengthened by adding an implant cylinder. The strength of the jawbone is important because after you lose a tooth, the jawbone underneath can begin to breakdown. A simple physical exam and x-rays can typically help determine if you would be a good candidate for dental implants.

The Dental Implant Procedure

Typically, the implant procedure is going to start with an x-ray and a checkup to determine whether or not you are a good candidate for the implant. Your dentist will then help create a customized treatment plan that will consider factors like the strength of your jawbone and the number of teeth that are missing and review what you should expect for the surgery and aftercare.

Many people are surprised to find that the dental implant procedure is a long one. It can take 3 to 9 months for the entire process to be completed, but do not worry- this just gives your jaw time to heal after the initial part of the procedure!

First, a dental implant cylinder is placed in the jawbone. The oral surgeon will then wait several months for this to heal before beginning the procedure. When you are ready, an abutment will be placed to connect the cylinder or the implant and the dental implant will follow. Generally, sedation and/or anesthesia will be used to ensure your comfort.

After the procedure, you will care for your dental implant the way that your surgeon has instructed you. Eventually, you will be brushing and flossing it the way you would your normal teeth. Proper care will make it last a lifetime.

How the Procedure Has Changed

At one time, dental implants were considered to be the more difficult method, since it requires fusing to the jawbone instead of attaching to the adjacent teeth like would be necessary for a dental bridge procedure. The procedure was also once considered to be painful. Fortunately, the advances in medicine over the last few decades have also changed the dental industry. The dental implant procedure is minimally invasive and a lot less painful than it once was.

Benefits of Dental Implants

Dental Implants Improve Confidence

Have you ever started to smile at someone on the street or laugh at a joke, only to stop because you realized your missing tooth was showing? If so, you are not alone. Many people lose confidence when they do not have a nice smile. A dental implant can remedy this situation because it looks and feels like your natural tooth. As time passes, you may not even be able to tell that there is an implant in your mouth.

They Protect Adjacent Teeth

Dental implants help protect the teeth next to the area where you lost a tooth in two ways. First, the options for replacement include a dental implant or a bridge. If you choose the bridge, the replacement tooth must be fastened to the teeth on either side. This is problematic because it puts a strain on those teeth and weakens them with time. Also, when you have a hole in your teeth as you would when losing a tooth, the teeth on either side have room to migrate. This can cause a crooked or uneven smile with time.

In Most Cases, Dental Implants are Permanent

The final benefit of dental implants is that the process leaves you with permanent teeth. As long as you care for your implant with proper brushing and flossing, it has the chance to last a lifetime. Unlike bridges or crowns, the deep implant and the connection to the jawbone gives the implant the strength to stay in your mouth for the long haul.

If you are considering dental implants, then speak to your dentist and an implant specialist like Dr. Trevasani at Lifetime Teeth Today. It is pertinent that you replace the tooth before too much breakdown occurs in the jawbone.