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Posted on: August 7, 2020
Are Dental Implants Right for You?
What Should I Know About Dental Implants?
Dental implants are a permanent tooth replacement option that functions, looks, and feels exactly like natural teeth. The implant itself consists of a titanium post or screw that’s surgically inserted into the jawbone and functions as an artificial tooth root. Once the post is positioned, it provides a sturdy foundation for a dental bridge or replacement tooth or teeth. Unlike dentures, dental implants aren’t uncomfortable and can never come loose, and they don’t have to be anchored to surrounding teeth.
Subperiosteal implants and endosteal implants are the two types of implants that are approved for their safety. Endosteal implants are the most common, and they are surgically implanted into the jawbone. Subperiosteal implants are placed on top of the jawbone, just below the gum tissue.
Here are the three main components of dental implants:
- The post, also known as the body, is the foundation of the implant. This component is made of durable hypoallergenic titanium and is similar in appearance to a screw. The post sits below the gumline and is surgically implanted into the jawbone. Once in place, the post acts as an artificial tooth root, providing a sturdy base for a dental crown or other restoration.
- The abutment is screwed onto the post and acts as a connector, holding the replacement tooth in place.
- The crown is attached to the abutment and is the part of the tooth you can see. Crowns are made to look just like your real teeth.
What Should I Expect During a Dental Implant Procedure?
Dental implant surgery takes place over multiple appointments. The appointments are usually several months apart to allow enough time for healing between procedures. The surgery is done on an outpatient basis, and you’ll be sedated to ensure that you won’t feel any pain.
Every patient is different, but these are the typical steps involved in dental implant surgery:
At your consultation, a full dental exam is performed and X-rays of your mouth are taken. Your dentist or oral surgeon discusses your treatment plan, and you have a chance to ask questions. If needed, any damaged or infected teeth are extracted.
If your jawbone isn’t strong enough to support dental implants, a bone grafting procedure is performed. The healing time for this procedure can take a few months.
During your appointment to place the implant, an incision is made into the gum tissue and holes are drilled into the exposed jawbone. After placing the body of the dental implant, the incision is closed with stitches and you’re sent home to recover. Over the next several months, the jawbone fuses with the implant, which is a crucial process called osseointegration.
After you’ve fully healed and the implant has fused with the bone, the abutment is placed over the titanium post. When your gums fully heal, another appointment is needed to create dental impressions. These are used to make your custom crown, which is then attached to the abutment.
Will I Need a Bone Graft?
If you have enough bone structure in your jaw and have healthy gums, you’re likely a strong candidate for dental implants. However, if you’ve lost bone tissue due to missing teeth, you may first need a bone graft to replace any lost bone. This procedure creates a strong base for the implant, increasing the chance for a successful placement.
There are several different sources of bone grafting material, such as taking bone from another part of the body, using man-made materials that encourage the growth of new bone, or using donor tissue. If only a minor bone graft is needed, your oral surgeon may be able to complete both procedures in a single office visit. However, it may take several months for bone maturation to occur if an extensive bone graft is needed.
What to Expect After Dental Implant Surgery
After dental implant surgery, you can expect to feel mild discomfort. It’s likely that you’ll need to eat soft foods for a period of time. For a few days after the surgery, it’s normal to experience some facial swelling or tenderness, minor bleeding, pain at the site of the implant, and mild bruising. Your dentist or oral surgeon may prescribe pain medicine or recommend an over-the-counter pain reliever to provide relief from any discomfort. You can also apply an ice pack to reduce swelling. If your symptoms don’t subside or worsen, you should call our office as soon as possible.
Are There Benefits of Dental Implants?
These are some of the many benefits associated with dental implants:
- Ability to preserve bone and prevent future bone loss
- Improved oral health
- Improved speech
- Enhanced durability
- Easier eating
- High success rate
- Natural appearance
- Easy to care for with daily brushing and flossing
Disadvantages of Dental Implants
From beginning to end, the process to receive dental implants can take several months since the jaw and gum tissue need plenty of time to heal. In addition, these disadvantages should also be considered:
- Crowns may need to be replaced in the future
- Risks are associated with surgery and anesthesia
- High cost
- May not be covered by insurance
If you’ve lost a tooth or multiple teeth, dental implants can restore the natural look of your smile and prevent the negative effects that are caused by tooth loss, including gum disease. Our team of dental experts is here to help. Get in touch with us today to learn how dental implants can meet your oral health needs and give your confidence a boost.