A dental implant can offer you back the confidence and oral health lost from a missing or broken tooth.
Broken, missing, or otherwise damaged teeth negatively impact your life in a variety of ways. Lowered self-esteem and being self-conscious about your appearance may make you want to avoid social interactions. Importantly, damaged or missing teeth can also negatively impact your oral health.
Dental implants can help improve your teeth so you smile more and maintain your oral health.
What are dental implants?
Dental implants are a preferred method of replacing one or more missing teeth.
The implant will bond with the existing bone and provide support for an artificial tooth. Because an implant is permanently fused to the jawbone, it becomes a very stable, long-lasting base.
Dental implants usually have three distinct parts:
- Implant - An artificial device that serves as a type of root for artificial teeth.
- Abutment - A permanent metal post that holds a tooth or set of teeth in place.
- Crown - The part of the tooth that's visible whenever you open your mouth or smile.
The dental implant process
In the event of infections, tooth decay, or gum disease, you'll need treatment before tooth implant surgery can proceed.
Once you're cleared for dental implant surgery, the process will start with a comprehensive dental exam that includes x-rays, photos, a low-dose cone-beam CT scan, and a digital mouth scan. Impressions of your current teeth will also be taken to help create artificial teeth that fit your mouth.
During the first procedure, your dentist will give you an anaesthetic so you don’t feel anything. They will then place a ‘post’ under the gum and into the jawbone.
Next is time for healing. You will go home and wait several months as your jawbone and gum heals around the post, sealing it in place permanently. During this time, you will either have a gap in your teeth, or you can get a temporary denture if the gap is obvious for aesthetic purposes.
Once the post is secure, you will return to your dentist for the second procedure where they attach an abutment to the post. The abutment will stick out of your gum, so again you may have a temporary denture in place.
It will take about two weeks for your gum to heal around the abutment.
Next, your dentist will take impressions of your teeth in order to create a custom crown. This crown will be made to fit in well with your other teeth, be the same shade, and function as a normal tooth.
Finally, you will return to your dentist to have the crown fitted and permanently attached to the abutment.
How long is the recovery time?
Each procedure that you undergo for your dental implants will take between 30 minutes and a few hours. After surgery, it's common to experience some swelling, bruising, or minor pain. Your dentist will prescribe antibiotics prior to surgery to ward off infection.
Depending on the complexity of your case, you may have to take some time off work to recover. You may also need pain medication to help ease your discomfort. Depending on the type of implant you receive, your jawbone and gums will heal fully within a couple of months.
Why is a dental implant a good choice?
If you permanently lose a tooth, it can cause further deterioration of your oral health. For example, tooth loss leads to loss of bone in the jaw, which may cause the face to look sunken. Additionally, getting a dental implant replacement will help you to continue eating as per normal, and it will fill any gaps in your smile.
This is why it’s a good idea to have a dental implant.
Other options include dentures and bridges. However, traditional dentures and bridges fit over the gums and jawbone, but do not attach to it. Because dental implants are surrounded by the natural jawbone and gum tissue, they're often preferred over dentures and tooth-supported bridges since they stimulate new bone growth.
This is especially the case when your teeth are weak, or when previous disease to the ligaments and jawbone has occurred.
Another reason that dental implants are a good choice is that they're more comfortable than other tooth replacements. Dentures can cause sore spots if they're not fitted properly, or if the person gains or loses weight. With dental implants, the artificial teeth are attached with a metal post and rarely cause these types of issues. Similar to natural teeth, dental implants don't slip, move, or shift when talking or chewing.
Speak to a dentist about dental implants
If you are missing one or more teeth, or your lower denture doesn't fit properly, dental implants may be a good option for you. However, only a qualified dental professional can make that determination. Your health, the condition of your teeth, gums, and jawbone all play a part in the decision process.
If you think that dental implants may be the right option for you, or if you want to learn more about them, please contact us to schedule an appointment. Our friendly, professional staff will answer all of your questions and address any concerns that you have about the procedure.