Missing or badly damaged teeth are uncomfortable and unsightly. Eating, smiling, talking or even laughing in public settings will prove awkward if you aren’t comfortable with the look of your teeth. Some people missing teeth go as far as avoiding social settings altogether as they are self-conscious about how their gap-toothed smile looks. If you are missing one or several teeth, you should consider the merits of dental implants. The addition of one or multiple dental implants has the potential to dramatically transform your smile. Dental implants will rebuild your confidence, empower you to be your true self when around others and live life as you have always envisioned.
The Basics of Dental Implants
Dental implants1 are essentially titanium rods inserted into the gums, all the way through to the jaw bone. These rods fuse directly to the jawbone in a process known as osseointegration. This process can take upwards of six months to complete in its entirety. Once the rods fuse to the jawbone, permanent crowns can be added so these artificial teeth resemble natural teeth for a truly symmetrical and uniform-looking smile. The implant itself is best described as a small metal cylinder comprised of titanium featuring strategically positioned screw threads. The dental implant functions as a tooth root, supporting the new tooth.
Do not worry about the fusion of the dental implants to the jaw. This procedure is generally pain-free. Once the dental implants are in place, they are left as is for several months so the soft tissues and bones can grow around the titanium implant, creating a permanent tooth root. A dental abutment is used to connect the dental implant to the crown. If the dentist were to bypass the abutment, it would prove impossible to keep the dental crown firmly connected to the dental implant. Once the abutment is connected, the dental implant crown is placed so the patient can chew and use the new tooth just like a regular one.
The Merits of Dental Implants
According to the American Dental Association2, nearly 6 million dental implants are placed each year by dentists operating in the United States. It is clear dental implants are becoming increasingly popular as time progresses and dental technology continues to improve. There are a number of reasons for the success of dental implants. For one, dental implants do not shift, slip or move in any other way, providing the stability every patient needs to eat with full confidence. Furthermore, dental implants are incredibly easy to keep clean. You can floss, brush and rinse dental implants just like regular teeth. You don’t have to remove your dental implants at night for soaking or cleaning.
Tooth structure is not lost as dental implants do not rely on adjacent teeth for support. This is a major advantage over the fabrication of a bridge that requires the elimination of much more tooth. Dental implants are also revered for their semblance to real teeth. You can speak, chew, talk, laugh and do anything else with your mouth with complete confidence thanks to your lovely-looking dental implants. In fact, these implants are solid to the point that they stop nearby teeth from shifting, ensuring your facial contour and jawbone integrity remain intact.
How to Tell if You are a Good Candidate for Dental Implants
In general, those with healthy gums and ample jawbone available to support a dental implant qualify as optimal candidates for dental implants. Furthermore, the patient should be in good health. However, even if the patient lacks considerable jawbone, it is possible to build up this important component of the mouth prior to the procedure. The dentist can build the jawbone up to the point that it can adequately support a dental implant.
It is also worth noting those who suffer from chronic illnesses such as diabetes will find these maladies likely interfere with the dental implant healing process. Furthermore, those who smoke double the chances of losing a dental implant. Such a loss is meaningful as a considerable amount of time, effort and money are invested in preparing the jaw and mouth for the dental implant.
The Placement of the Dental Implant
Once the dentist determines you are a good candidate for one or several dental implants, a full mouth analysis will be performed. The dental implant placement will take place in the office with the application of local anesthesia. There might be some moderate pain and swelling after the placement of the dental implant yet the pain medication prescribed by the dentist will help mitigate the discomfort.
Once the dental implant is placed in your mouth, stick to a diet consisting of soft and cold/room temperature food, soup and liquid. It will likely take between 2 and 6 months for the titanium rod to completely bond to the jawbone. At that point in time, the abutment and crown will be positioned on the dental implant. The process in which the dental implant and the jawbone connect is referred to as osseointegration. The dentist will likely place a temporary crown, denture or bridge at the site where the implant is placed until the process of osseointegration is complete.
Caring for Dental Implants
If you take proper care of your dental implant, it just might last the rest of your life. Do your best to follow through with your regular daily oral health care regimen of flossing, brushing and rinsing with antibacterial mouthwash each morning and night. Continue to meet with the dentist for checkups and cleanings at least once every six months. Floss and brush your dental implant as though it is a regular tooth. Be sure to zero in on the tissue surrounding the dental implant to ensure the area around this substitute tooth is flawlessly clean.
Pleasant Hill Dental
Are you interested in dental implants? Our staff is here to answer your questions and replace your lost teeth for good. Give us a call at (925) 692-2010 to schedule an appointment3.