What are dental implants?
Dental implants are replacement tooth roots that resemble natural teeth. They can be used as either permanent or removable fixtures and are a successful option for individuals who have suffered tooth loss and have traditionally used bridges or dentures. Dental implants are surgically secured into the jawbone and made of titanium, a material that is typically not rejected by the body. Dental implants help to restore the functionality of your teeth and the pleasing appearance of your smile.
Why choose dental implants?
Dental implants have been a crucial scientific discovery for dentists and one of the most successful forms of implanted surgical devices. Reasons to choose dental implants are many since they provide:
- Natural appearance
- A strong and resilient smile
- Comfort (unlike dentures)
- Easier, pain-free chewing
- Improved self-confidence and self-esteem
- Improved overall oral health
- The convenience of once again having teeth that do not require removal
Dental implants have a high success rate and, if properly cared for, will last a lifetime. In addition, they are convenient and eliminate the need for repeated dental procedures.
What kind of procedure is involved in getting dental implants?
The procedure begins with an evaluation to determine the best method of treatment to address your particular dental concerns. Your dentist, who must be trained in both oral surgery and restorative dentistry, will implant a small post composed of titanium into the jawbone. Sometimes two dentists, an oral surgeon or periodontist, and a restorative dentist will work in conjunction with each other. The surrounding bone will heal and fuse to the post. This process will take about 6 to 12 weeks, but may take longer depending on how your body heals. Once healing has taken place, a small connector post, called an abutment, is attached to the implant post. Impressions are taken to create a model for your custom-made replacement tooth, or crown. The crown is then cemented or screwed into the abutment.
Dental implants are used to treat both single and multiple teeth. In a procedure similar to the one used for single tooth replacement, abutments are used to attach custom-made crowns or bridgework for multiple teeth. Dental implants can also be designed to support removable dentures, using a different type of abutment.
Replacement teeth are created to match the color of your natural teeth and to have the same consistency and feel as the other teeth in your mouth. Since this procedure is surgical, a local anesthetic is administered to help you cope with any pain. Pain after the procedure is minimal and can usually be controlled with over-the-counter pain medications, such as Tylenol or Advil.
Do dental implants require special maintenance?
Other than good daily oral hygiene practices at home, dental implants do not require much special maintenance. Professional teeth cleanings are recommended so that implants can be thoroughly cleaned without becoming damaged. A dentist will also evaluate the implants to make sure that the crowns and bridgework are functioning properly.