Understandably, having any teeth missing makes many people self-conscious. Everyone wants to have a full smile they can be proud of.
So, if you are looking for options when it comes to your missing teeth, dental implants could be a very good choice for you. This is definitely true for those who do not want to remove any good tooth structure to have a bridge put in and/or those who are currently wearing uncomfortable or inconvenient dentures.
Dental implants are by far the top tooth replacement option for many people because they offer a permanent option for replacing teeth. One that gives a degree of stability and reliability that comes close to that of natural teeth. Implants are an exceptional way to restore your smile and are designed to blend in almost seamlessly with the rest of your teeth.
In fact, the development and use of dental implants is one of the biggest advances in modern dentistry over the past 40 years. Implants use materials that are all extremely durable and biocompatible with the human body, including titanium and ceramic or porcelain. The titanium posts are surgically placed into the upper or lower jaw where your missing teeth were and function as a sturdy anchor for the replacement teeth.
If you’re considering dental implants, chances are you want to (and should) be armed with as much information as possible to make a confident decision on your dental needs. You’ve come to the right place!
In this article, we’ve covered some of the most important things you should know about dental implants.
The Phases of Getting Dental Implants
Most patients find that a dental implant is a good stable and secure replacement for their own tooth. But it’s important to understand that in most cases dental implants will involve multiple visits.
Generally, there are three phases to getting a dental implant done:
#1 – The Implant is Placed Into Jawbone
First, your dentist will surgically place the implant post or posts into your jawbone. It is often recommended that during the healing process after this appointment, you eat a diet of soft foods (both cold foods and warm soup) and take over-the-counter pain medication as needed.
#2 – The Bone Is Allowed to Fuse With the Implant(s)
The next phase is all about being patient. After the implants are placed, the bone around the implant needs time to heal and grow. This process is called osseointegration, which means “combines with the bone”. Dental implants are so strong and long-lasting because the jawbone actually grows around the implanted post and holds it in place. In most cases, you have to wait until the implant is completely integrated before the replacement teeth can be attached to the implant, This can take up to several months.
#3 – Placement of the Artificial Replacement Tooth (or Teeth)
Once the implant post is fully supported by the jawbone, it’s time for the artificial tooth to be placed. If it is a single tooth implant, your dentist will customize a new tooth for you, which is known as a crown. The crown will be created based on shape, size, fit, and color, and it will be designed to blend in as much as possible with your other teeth.
If more than one tooth is being replaced, a custom bridge or hybrid denture will be made to fit your mouth and placed on your implant posts.
It’s important to note that most of the time, the replacement teeth will take some time to be made. If you do have to wait on the permanent replacements, your dentist will place a temporary crown, bridge, or denture for you to have in until the permanent replacement is ready.
Top Things You Should Know Before Getting Dental Implants
Deciding on dental implants is a big decision. So, it’s important to gather as much information as you can beforehand to feel comfortable and confident about it.
Here are five things you should know about dental implants:
The procedure will not be painful
The application of local anesthesia will prevent you from feeling any pain at the implant sites. While you are numb, the dentist will use surgical guides to expertly place the implant post(s) with pinpoint accuracy. You may feel some pressure during this but you shouldn’t feel any pain.
You may experience minor soreness and discomfort for the first couple of days after the implant posts are put in. This is easily managed with over-the-counter pain medicine as needed.
Expect to invest some time in planning, placement, and proper healing
The dental implant process is not usually something that can happen in one day. So, plan to invest at least several months into the process, sometimes longer. You’ll start with the initial consultation and examinations, where a date will be set for the actual implant procedure. You’ll then have the implant placement done, followed by a few months of healing with temporary replacement teeth. Once your implant posts are secure and the permanent replacement teeth are done, the dentist will place those to finish off the process.
Of course, each case is different, so the entire process, from consultation to final restoration, can take anywhere between 3 months to a year. It will all depend on your jawbone health, bone structure, oral health, etc.
Dental implants do work and look like natural teeth
The roots of natural teeth are embedded into the jawbone, giving teeth their stability. This is what helps your teeth transfer the power of the jaws into the biting and chewing power that is needed to break down food. Dental implants work in the same manner.
Embedded into the jawbone, the titanium rods of dental implants act as the root of the teeth. This provides the reliable foundation needed for your replacement teeth.
You’ll still have to protect against gum disease
A good oral hygiene and good gum health are just as important with dental implants, if not more important. Implants are resistant to gum disease, but they aren’t impenetrable to bacteria. Long periods of irregularity in your oral care routine, or even worse, total lapses in it, can accelerate the growth and spread of harmful gum disease. This can even compromise your new replacement teeth.
Caring for your implants is easy and the routine should be very familiar:
- Brush for 2 minutes twice a day
- Floss thoroughly before brushing
- Use floss threaders, Smart Floss, or a water flosser to clean between your replacement teeth and your gums (in the case of an implant-supported bridge)
- Rinse your mouth with a fluoride/antibacterial mouthwash
Dental implants can last you a lifetime
When you work with a dentist experienced in restorative dentistry and take the time to diligently care for your implants, they can easily last you the rest of your life.
Talk to Your Dentist About the Possibility of Dental Implants
If you are interested in possibly getting dental implants, take the time to discuss it carefully with your dentist, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
If you are in generally good health, this restorative treatment option may be a great solution to help you smile confidently again. In fact, when it comes to the possibility of dental implants, your overall health is more of a factor than your age is. You may need to be evaluated by your primary physician before any dental implant surgery is scheduled.
Keep in mind that chronic illnesses, like leukemia or diabetes, can possibly interfere with healing after implant surgery. Patients with these types of issues may not be good candidates for dental implants. Smoking or using tobacco orally can also slow the healing process.
Dental implants may be able to restore your smile. If you’re looking for an experienced dental implant specialist in Drexel Hill, trust the caring team at Radomile Family Dental Care. To learn more about dental implants and get answers to any questions you may have, contact our office today!