Missing one or a few teeth? While bridges and dentures are often used to replace missing teeth, they are not your only option. Dental implants can replace a tooth’s root and provide support to artificial replacement teeth, giving you the look and comfort of natural teeth. Implants can even be used to support dentures and bridges.
Why should you have a professional dentist perform a dental implant procedure? Unlike dentures, dental implants are inserted into your jawbone through surgery, meaning they won’t slip or shift out of place. The secure fit gives your smile a more natural feel that doesn’t often come with bridges or dentures. Additionally, dental implants can keep your jawbone from shrinking and other natural teeth from shifting by having the artificial root and tooth fill up the gap left behind by the missing tooth.
The artificial root of a dental implant is made of titanium metal and is placed in your mouth during a surgical procedure. First, the implant is inserted into your jawbone just beneath your gum tissue. While tissue heals, the implant will bond to your bone and attach to the gum. Healing takes several months, but once complete the second stage of the dental implant procedure consists of attaching an abutment to the implant. This abutment connects to the replacement tooth created by your dentist.
Dental implants aren’t for everyone. There are specific criteria you need to meet in order to have the procedure. Dr. Paul can assess whether or not you’re a right candidate for dental implants.
First, you have to be in general good health. Your jaw must be able to support an implant. Bone loss is a common side effect of missing teeth, so it’s important to have your jawbone assessed by our dentist. If it’s determined that your jaw bone can’t support an implant, there is an option to build up your jawbone through a bone graft or with sinus lift surgery.
If you suffer from a chronic illness like leukemia or diabetes, this may slow healing after implant surgery. Dental implants are not a good option for patients with these illnesses. Smokers are also bad candidates for implant treatment because tobacco also slows the healing process.
Should your dentist recommend dental implants, remember to practice careful oral hygiene. Keeping up with routine cleanings as well as brushing twice a day and flossing help you avoid gum disease. Gum disease can weaken the bone and tissue that supports your implant. Your dentist can show you proper cleaning techniques for your implants.
Several visits may be needed to your dentist in order to get the dental implant process done. And checkups will be scheduled the following year so we can make sure your implants are working as they should.
Compared to other tooth replacement options, dental implants may cost more and some dental insurance plans may not cover them. However, dental implant procedure is often a one-time cost unlike other replacement methods like dentures that may require future adjustments.
Schedule a consultation with Dr. Paul DeMan Dentistry. We can discuss whether or not dental implants are the right teeth replacement option for you.