If you have experienced the loss of a tooth, or significant damage to one from trauma or decay, you may be considering options for replacement. Likewise, if you have lost a full arch, or all of your teeth, replacement becomes necessary in order to function properly while doing things like speaking and eating. There are a number of venues you could take: a bridge, dentures, and so on. An exciting option that is available today is getting a dental implant.
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A dental implant is the closest thing you will ever find to an actual tooth. Dental implants are essentially replacement teeth crafted from ceramic or some similar substance and connected to your jaw by means of an implanted metal socket. It involves a few steps to put in a dental implant, and those steps are determined based on how many dental implants you need put in, but it is basically a multi-step process that will leave you with a solid, healthy, full smile.
A dental implant represents the pinnacle of technology in the area of cosmetic and restorative dentistry. They feel and act just like your natural teeth once did, plus, unless people know you had implants put in, no one will ever be able to tell! Other options, while serviceable, may leave you with constant reminders of the fact that you have lost teeth.
Dentures need to be removed regularly for cleaning; some of them, depending on the extent of your tooth loss, may actually interfere with your ability to eat certain types of food. Likewise, dental bridges—although an improvement over full dentures—can bring complications to the table in matters such as maintenance and hygiene.
Perhaps the largest difference between implants and all other forms of restorative dental work is the matter of convenience. A dental implant looks and functions exactly like a real tooth; all other dental restorations involve additional removal and cleaning, sometimes even shaving off part of a natural tooth, whereas a dental implant remains in your mouth and may be cleaned the same way you clean your other teeth.
When you opt for a dental implant, you will need to visit our office a few different times. We will first make a small incision in your gum tissue in order to access the underlying jawbone. We will create a small hole in the bone and insert a specially designed metal rod; this rod will eventually act as the root for your new tooth once the process is complete.
After the metal rod has been inserted, you will need to give it time to heal and fuse to the bone. After a period of time—your exact time will vary depending on how quickly you heal, but it is usually around 4-12 months—you will return to our office. We will inspect the implants to ensure that they have healed correctly, and then we will attach a special device to the implants. This device helps the gum tissue to heal further while your final tooth is prepared.
A short time after—usually around 2-3 weeks—you will return to our office for the final step in the process. We will attach your new ceramic tooth to the metal rod, and when you leave, you will have your new smile! It will instantly give you the confidence your missing tooth took with it, and it will help you look and feel younger, just by having the new tooth (or teeth) in place.
Benefits of Getting Dental Implants
On top of looking like regular teeth, dental implants also act like regular teeth. You can chew up your favorite foods, speak without an issue, and keep your jawbone strong. When a tooth goes missing, the bone beneath that tooth begins to deteriorate because there is no pressure on it. By getting a dental implant, you retain the structure of the bone and keep your jawbone healthier from it having regular pressure and use. Dental implants also help you look younger, because you avoid the sunken, aged appearance that comes with jawbone deterioration that often accompanies missing teeth and dentures.
Talk to our Dental Implants Periodontist
There are a number of factors to consider in the dental implant process. The location of the tooth to be replaced, the condition of your jawbone, and your own health status can all affect healing times. Come see us today and let us help you make an informed choice.