Are Dental Implants Really Better?
Dental implants are considered to be modern day dentistry’s best option for replacing a missing tooth. If you have lost a tooth or otherwise may be having one extracted it is important to replace the tooth in order to maintain proper oral function. A tooth that is not replaced when lost can contribute to a wide array of dental concerns from shifting to bone loss and even disfigurement.
Dental implants are the most natural looking and feeling replacement solution on the market, offering an option that feels and looks like the real thing; and that even actually becomes part of the jaw naturally. The implant is actually able to become part of the jaw through a process referred to as osseointegration. Special properties in titanium (of which implants are made) allow for natural fusion or growth with living bone. Since the discovery of the osseointegration process in 1952 there have been major improvements in dental implants, which has brought about a much improved quality of life for millions of Americans.
What Is a Dental Implant?
Understanding dental implants requires that you understand the structure of the natural tooth. The natural tooth has two parts: the crown, which is the part that is exposed that we see; and the root, which lies below the gum line. The term dental implant refers to the root part of the tooth. Dental implants are artificial roots that also lie below the gum line. Once a dental implant has been installed a crown must then be placed over the top.
Dental Implant Procedure
The dental implant procedure is relatively non-invasive and comfortable. The procedure is generally performed under local anesthesia, meaning that you will be awake, but sedated, numbed and unable to feel any pain. You may feel a minor vibration during the preparation process of the procedure, but overall the procedure itself should be tolerable and virtually pain-free.
Prior to installing a crown the dental implant will need to be left for a period of anywhere between two and four months to allow for integration. The density of the bone at the site of the lost tooth plays a large role in determining how long the integration process takes, where the more dense the bone the quicker the integration.
Once the implant has had time to integrate into the existing bone your dentist will then custom create a dental crown to attach to the site that will look and function just like a natural tooth.
Am I a Candidate for Dental Implants?
It is impossible to determine whether or not you are a good candidate for dental implants without a thorough exam. Your dentist will need to evaluate the remaining bone density of the site of the lost tooth before determining whether or not you are a suitable candidate. A certain level of density is required to support a dental implant and thus if you have experienced bone loss from not replacing a missing tooth for an extended period of time, a dental implant may not be a viable solution.