How a Dental Office Can Replace Your Missing Teeth with Dental Implants, Improving Your Mouth’s Appearance and Function
Dental implants are a more permanent solution for replacing missing teeth. Aside from making your smile whole again, implants can help you chew properly and enjoy food to the fullest. Some patients with dentures may also opt for dental implants instead if they find their dentures are too loose and uncomfortable.
Whatever your situation may be, contact your local dental office to see if dental implants are right for you.
An Overview of Dental Implants
A dental implant consists of an artificial tooth root that a periodontist implants into the jaw bone. These implants are made from durable biocompatible material so your bone will be more likely bond to it instead of rejecting it.
The implant is buried in the bone and left to heal under gum tissue. The bone will naturally grow around the implant, bonding to it and securing it in place. Once the implant has healed, it will be uncovered so your dentist can connect a small metal post to it. This post will support an artificial tooth.
Good Candidates for Implants
A consultation with your dentist will determine if you’re a good candidate for this procedure. If you don’t have enough bone to support an implant, your dentist may suggest a bone graft or growing bone in the treatment area. During the consultation, your dentist will look for the following:
- Enough bone for an implant;
- Enough space for an implant; and,
- The roots of adjacent teeth are far enough away from the proposed location of the implant.
Length of Treatment
The initial implant surgery takes about an hour and you will be under local anesthesia This is when a periodontist will place the implant inside the jaw bone and stitch the gums over the implant.
After six to 10 days, you will need to return to your dental office to have the stitches removed. Your implant will then need to heal—bond to the bone—for three to six months, depending on its location in your mouth.
During the second stage of the procedure, your implant will be uncovered with a small incision and have a small post attached to it. Your dentist will then create a prosthesis—an artificial tooth—that closely resembles your natural teeth. This may take up to two weeks. Finally, your dentist will attach the prosthesis to the post, and your implant will be complete.
How long it takes to for the implant to heal, and the overall time to complete dental implants, will depend on the treatment area, such as the bone type and the location in your mouth. For the back upper jaw, an implant may take up to nine months, while an implant in the front lower jaw may only take four months. Implants located in the rest of the mouth take about six months to complete.
Although dental implant procedures usually have minimal discomfort—similar to a tooth extraction—your dentist will prescribe medication to help ease any discomfort you may experience during this time.
Dental implants have a high success rate—between 90 and 98 percent, depending on the location in the mouth. However, those who smoke have a lower success rate, by at least 10 percent. The majority of dental implants will last 15 years or longer, depending on your body, overall health, oral hygiene, diet, and use of tobacco.
If your missing teeth are a source of discomfort, embarrassment, and difficulty chewing contact your dental office for a dental implant consultation. Dental implants may be the solution for you to smile freely and fully enjoy food again.