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Posted on: October 6, 2020
Are Dental Implants Right for You?
While accidents, disease and decay can cause people to lose one or more teeth, they don’t have to live with a gap in their smile. Having only one visible missing tooth is detrimental to a person’s professional and social life. In fact, over 66 percent of adults ages 40-64 have lost at least one permanent tooth, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Fortunately, most people are good candidates for dental implants, which offer a permanent solution for missing teeth. Dental implants allow those with missing teeth to smile confidently once again.
What Is a Tooth Implant?
A tooth implant is an artificial tooth attached to artificial tooth roots. It’s a fixed restoration that performs the same function as a natural tooth. Implants also match your natural teeth in size, color and shape.
Dental implants contain three parts: the screw that goes into or above your jawbone, an abutment that connects to the top of the implant and the crown which is held in place by the abutment. The screw is technically the implant, although most people refer to the entire structure as a dental implant.
Why Do People Get Dental Implants?
Patients typically choose implants over partial dentures or dental bridges because the implant works the same way as a natural tooth does. When you chew, the action stimulates your jawbone, so the sensation is the same as it would be if you had a natural tooth in the spot. Neither dentures nor traditional bridges can produce the same sensation.
When Is a Bone Graft Necessary to Get an Implant?
Did you know you could lose about a portion of your bone at the site after having a tooth extracted and not replaced immediately? Periodontal disease can also cause bone loss. If you want a dental implant, you might lack support for an implant if you lose a large portion of bone.
Your dentist may recommend a bone graft in this case. It’s a fairly routine procedure where your dentists adds bone material to encourage bone growth. In about three to six months, you should be ready for implant placement. Your dentist will tell you during your consultation if he or she believes you need a bone graft before dental implant surgery.
What Is the Tooth Implant Procedure?
Dental implant surgery involves several procedures with time in between for healing. It can take between six to nine months to complete. Generally, you will have the following steps completed:
Placing the Implant
A titanium post or screw is surgically implanted into the bone where you are missing a tooth. The screw fuses with the bone where it creates a solid base for the implant in a few months. The procedure takes about an hour or two. You’ll either have local anesthesia or sedation, so you shouldn’t feel any pain.
Placing the Abutment
After the implant fuses with your jawbone, your dentist will make a small incision to expose the top of the implant. The abutment screws into the top of the implant. It will hold the crown once the gum heals around it. This should only take a few weeks.
Placing the Crown
This is the easiest, least invasive step. Your dentist will make sure your custom crown fits well and then he or she will attach it to the abutment.
There are two types of implants; endosteal and subperiosteal. Endosteal are the most common and the steps are described above. Dentists may suggest subperiosteal implants to patients who have inadequate bone, but are not interested in bone augmentation. Subperiosteal implants are in a metal frame which goes above the jawbone and under the gum, so you need less bone to support the implant.
How Will I Feel After Dental Implant Surgery?
After the implant surgery, you will feel some discomfort after the anesthesia wears off. A little bleeding, swelling and bruising is normal. None of these should get any worse three days after surgery, but the swelling should last for about five days and the discomfort about 10 days. Your oral surgeon will tell you how to handle these inconveniences.
What Are Dental Implant Advantages and Disadvantages?
Dental implants have many advantages, but there are also a few disadvantages.
Keeps Other Teeth from Shifting: When you have a missing tooth, your other teeth will shift to fill the space. Having a missing tooth in your mouth is detrimental to your oral health.
Long-Lasting: Dental implants last longer than a bridge or partial dentures, which only last five to 15 years at best.
Stops the Look of Aging: Because implants help preserve your jawbone, they help prevent your face from appearing sunken.
Improved Chewing Ability: Implants will help you chew better than you would if you chose partial dentures.
Easy Maintenance: Just brush and floss your implants and you’re ready to go.
Not Everyone Is a Good Candidate: People with certain medical conditions and heavy smokers are not good candidates for implants. Implants are also only for adults as children’s jaws have not stopped growing.
Lengthy Procedure Time: An implant isn’t a quick fix for a missing tooth. The procedure can take months to complete.
Expensive: Implants are more expensive than other options, but your dentist may offer financing to help make them affordable. Also, dental insurance may not cover the cost of implants.
Do General Dentists Install Implants?
Some dentists have the training and expertise to install implants. You should ask your dentist about his or her credentials and experience in implant dentistry. A dentist comfortable installing implants will not hesitate to give you this information.
Please phone us if you would like a consultation. You can also use the online form to contact us. We enjoy restoring smiles and would like to help you restore yours.