If you’re missing one or more teeth due to injury, disease or tooth decay you are a candidate for dental implants. The strongest determining factor is the amount of available bone in your mouth.
Older patients typically wonder whether their age prevents them from experiencing dental implants. But overall health—not age--more accurately predicts success. If you’re healthy enough to have a tooth extracted, you’re likely healthy enough to receive dental implants. Certain chronic diseases may contraindicate dental implant treatment. Your dentist will determine if you are a candidate for dental implants after a careful evaluation of your dental and health history.
What are the advantages of dental implants over dentures or a dental bridge? Improved appearance. When you lose the entire tooth (root and crown) shrinkage of the jawbone may cause your face to look older. Unlike a traditional denture, implants can stop this process
Preserve natural teeth. Dental implants generally eliminate the need to modify healthy teeth.
Permanent solution. Implants contain no loose parts. They are stable, and no adjustment is required. Normally the implant serves its owner for life.
What does getting dental implants involve?
The conventional process of getting implants requires a number of visits over several months.
First, digital images and impressions (molds) are taken of the jaw and teeth to determine bone, gum tissue, and spacing. While the area is numb, the implant will be surgically placed into the bone and allowed to heal and integrate itself onto the bone for up to six months.
Depending on the type of implant, a second surgery may be required in order to place the “post” that will hold the artificial tooth in place. With other implants the post and anchor are already attached and placed at the same time.
Following several weeks of healing artificial teeth are made. They’re fitted to the post portion of the anchor. Because several fittings may occur, this step may be completed over one or two months. Next the artificial teeth are securely attached to the implant.
Another method permits dental implant in a single session. This new technique is called keyhole surgery. This approach significantly reduces healing time and discomfort. Like any procedure, it isn’t appropriate for every patient. Your dentist will advise you as to whether you are a candidate.
Is the treatment painful?
Discomfort is an aspect of any surgery. It’s normal to have some bruising and swelling in the gum and soft tissues. (Placing one implant normally produces fewer effects than when several are involved.) Anesthesia and patient sedation are commonly administered during the dental implant process. Most patients report the procedure was much more comfortable than they had anticipated. You can expect to return to work the following day.
How will I care for my dental implants?
Good oral hygiene, healthy eating habits, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new implant. The new teeth must be cared for and checked regularly, just as is the case with natural teeth. Brushing and flossing are critical.