Missing teeth can take away from your smile and affect your oral health.
Although a partial denture or a dental bridge can replace missing teeth, the healthiest, longest-lasting, and most natural-looking form of tooth replacement is dental implants.
What Are Dental Implants?
They are small fixtures that are designed like natural teeth. Each fixture has a root form, usually made of titanium, that is surgically implanted in your jawbone. A fixture of the correct width and length is chosen to replace the missing tooth. A dental crown is secured to the implant, so it looks completely natural. Usually, one implant is used to replace each missing tooth.
Before you can receive dental implants, we will determine if you are a candidate for them. Most people qualify. Your dental and medical history will be carefully reviewed. Also, x-rays and three-dimensional images will be taken. The advanced imaging will provide a clear view your teeth, jawbone, nerves, sinuses, and facial structure. Adequate jawbone density and proper implant placement are critical in ensuring your implants are successful.
Dental implant surgery usually takes a single visit. If you don’t have enough jawbone density to support an implant, bone grafting will be needed first. A healing period may follow. Before the implant is placed, the affected area will be numbed. A small opening will be made in your jawbone, and the implant will be securely placed in it. You probably won’t feel any pain during the procedure.
A healing period of two to six months is needed for your jawbone and the implant to fuse together. After the healing period, a lifelike porcelain crown will be secured to the implant.
How Long Do They Last?
When properly cared for, dental implants can last a lifetime. Although the dental crowns may wear over time and need to be replaced, quality implant fixtures will last.
How to Care for Dental Implants
Before your dental implant surgery and during the healing process, you will be advised not to smoke. Smoking interferes with the healing process. You will be given additional instructions for after care.
Maintain good oral hygiene by caring for your dental implants just as you would your natural teeth. Floss around the implants and brush them to keep them clean and to help prevent gum disease. Special instruments are needed to thoroughly clean dental implants, so keep your regularly scheduled appointments for dental cleanings and exams.
- When a tooth is lost, jawbone shrinkage occurs. An implant stimulates your jawbone like a tooth root and helps prevent further shrinkage.
- Implants fuse to your jawbone. They will look and feel lifelike, and function like your natural teeth.
- They can be used to stabilize dentures. You won’t have to worry about your dentures slipping around or falling out.
- They are comfortable, and you can eat and smile with confidence.
- When properly cared for, they can last a lifetime.