Dental implants are titanium versions to replace your missing teeth. There are several types of dental implants, each with specific benefits for varying degrees of oral health, but each style of implant provides similar benefits.
- Functionality: A mouth missing several teeth can become weak from the lack of teeth connected to the jaw bone. Implants provide added stability for the jaw, preventing bone damage. Chewing, swallowing, and speaking are all made easier with the right amount of teeth in your mouth. Dental implants can replace missing or severely damaged teeth to improve your quality of life.
- Appearance: Dental implants look and feel just like your own teeth. Covering missing teeth, or removing rotten or damaged ones, can greatly improve your smile and your sense of self confidence.
- Durability: Dental implants can last for a lifetime, with proper care. Implants are fused with your jaw, meaning they won’t wiggle, shift, or fall out. Unlike dentures, which need to be removed and cleaned regularly, implants eliminate the need for adhesives, cleaning soaks, or storage cases.
Reasons for dental implants:
- Replace one or more missing teeth without affecting adjacent teeth.
- Resolve joint pain or bite problems caused by teeth shifting into missing tooth space.
- Restore a patient’s confident smile.
- Restore chewing, speech, and digestion.
- Restore or enhance facial tissues.
- Support a bridge or denture, making it more secure and comfortable.
Am I a Candidate for Dental Implants?
As with most dental procedures, it’s important to consult your dentist to determine whether dental implants are right for you. Most healthy adults with missing or damaged teeth can qualify for dental implants if their gums are generally healthy and they have retained enough of their jaw bone to fuse with an implant.
- Those who smoke or chew tobacco
- People suffering from chronic disorders such as diabetes, heart disease, or some forms of cancer
- People who have had severe jaw bone trauma or decay, or have experienced severe gum disease and have damaged gums
How Do Dental Implants Work?
Once your dentist determines that you are healthy enough for dental implants, they will provide a treatment plan and healing process, which typically takes 6-12 weeks. Your dentist will remove any severely decayed teeth and replace the tooth roots with a titanium screw, which fuses to your jawbone. After the bonding process, your dentist will install a new, porcelain crown created from impressions of your teeth. Depending on your individual needs, you may opt for a removable denture instead of a permanent crown.
Your dentist will match the look of your old teeth – including the color – to your new implants. In just a few weeks, your implants will heal; according to most patients, the healing process involves only mild soreness that can be treated with over the counter pain medications. Your new implants will look, feel, and function just like your original teeth.
How Do I Care for my Implants?
Your dentist will provide you with detailed care instructions during your healing process, during which your mouth may be tender. However, once healed, your implants can be treated as normal teeth, and require the same care. Practice proper dental hygiene, and brush, floss, and rinse with mouthwash daily to ensure that your implants last a lifetime.