Implants are recommended for people who are missing one or more teeth, have several damaged or decayed teeth, or who require additional support for their gums and jaw bone.
How Do Implants Work?
After an initial consultation, your dentist will provide a 6 to 12 week treatment program. During your surgical visit, which typically involves local and general anesthesia or sedation, your dentist will implant a titanium screw or frame into your gums, which fix themselves to your jaw bone over time, creating a steadfast structure for your new teeth. The implants themselves – the metal screw on your jaw bone – can secure dentures, bridges, or individual crowns, depending on your unique needs. Once your implants are fastened and your gums are healed, your dentist can affix your natural-looking crowns that will act and feel like real teeth.
Benefits of Implants
Dental implants can provide a variety of benefits, from aesthetic to functional. If you are interested in dental implants, consider their advantages when compared to dentures or removable bridges.
- Long Lasting: Implants can last a lifetime with proper care.
- Durable: Dental implants fuse with your jaw bone, providing structure for your face and added functionality when you chew, swallow, and speak.
- Appearance: Once your implants have healed, your dentist will make your crowns look just like your natural teeth, even matching the color.
- Simple to Maintain: Because dental implants fuse with your mouth, there’s no need to remove them to clean; they won’t shift or fall out.
Can I Get Dental Implants?
Generally, if you are a healthy adult but are missing one or more teeth, you are a good candidate for dental implants. If your gums are otherwise healthy and your jaw bone is intact, talk to your dentist about replacing missing or damaged teeth with one or more dental implants. However, if you smoke or chew tobacco, suffer from disorders such as diabetes or heart disease, or have had severe jaw bone trauma, your gums and immune system may not be strong enough to properly assimilate new implants.
It’s important to follow your dentist’s care instructions while your implants are healing, and to maintain good oral hygiene thereafter. In most cases, implants heal within a few weeks with only mild discomfort. If you are in pain, your dentist can prescribe a stronger painkiller, but most patients report success with over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen. Because your implants function like real teeth, it’s important to continue to keep them clean and healthy; brush and floss daily, use an antibacterial mouthwash, and visit your dentist twice yearly for checkups and preventative treatment.