You’ve heard about dental implants, but what are they, exactly? A dental implant is essentially a fake root that holds a replacement tooth in your jaw. Perhaps you’ve had an injury, experienced periodontal disease, or another circumstance that has caused you to lose a tooth. If that’s the case, then a dental implant can be the best way to replace the missing tooth. If you’re wondering why it’s better, wonder no longer – it’s simply because it has the best, longest-lasting results. One of the biggest problems when you lose your natural teeth is bone loss – with implants, the bone that supports the tooth is actually strengthened by the implant. If you didn’t have the implant, the bone that’s under the tooth that you’re missing would deteriorate. No one wants bone loss in their jaw, so it makes sense to go with an implant.
A dental implant typically consists of a small post made of titanium that replaces the root of your natural tooth. When you get an implant, your dentist will offer local anesthesia so that you will feel no pain while the post is attached to the part of the bone where the original, natural tooth was lost. Once the area around the implant has effectively healed, your dentist will create a crown that matches the tooth. Dental implants have a 95% success rate – much longer than other options for restructuring.
How Does It Works
When your dentist recommends an implant, he or she will work with an oral surgeon to ensure that your implants are placed easily and painlessly. Minor surgery will be required during which your implant will be screwed into the gap in the bone that is created by the lost tooth. The expected outcome is that the implant, within a few months, will fuse to the bone surrounding the gap. Then, the crown will be attached.
How Are Implants Used?
Implants are used in many ways to replace missing teeth. You could, for example, replace just one missing tooth, in which case a single implant would be placed to restore the root section. Then, once the bone fused to the implant, a crown would be created that would mimic a genuine tooth. The advantage, obviously, is that the implant isn’t going to decay or require other treatment. Additionally, it will look just like your original tooth. The success rate for this treatment is extremely high, and that means you’ll get really good value for your money.
When it comes to multiple teeth, dental implants can be the perfect solution. You may not need an implant for each tooth – if there are three or more in sequence, you can actually have a couple of implants that form a framework for the remaining teeth. You won’t need as many implants, and the natural teeth that provide abutments for your bridgework will be less prone to decay.
Traditional dentures rely on the gums and the bones underneath the gums for support. The problem is that this can encourage bone loss. With implants, your dentures have something to grab onto, and the underlying bone is protected. You’re also less likely to displace your dentures when you’re eating or speaking. With implants, your dentures will be fixed securely, and the underlying bone will be protected.
Looking After Your Implants
There are only two reasons why your implants should fail. The first is a lack of good dental hygiene – this can result in a bacterial infecti
on called peri-implantitis. If you brush and floss regularly, and make sure that you have regular cleanings, then there’s no reason why this should happen. You can ask your implant dentist, or your regular provider, for advice on how to practice good oral hygiene so that this doesn’t happen.
The other thing that could cause damage to your implants is biting force. If you’re in the habit of grinding or gritting your teeth, then you could damage your implants. Many people grind their teeth without even realizing they’re doing it. If you sleep with someone else, they may notice you biting, gritting or grinding, and if that happens, you might want to talk with your dental provider about a night guard that can be fitted to protect your implants.
The final word? If you need dental implants, make sure that you see a qualified implant dentist. You should have the implants you deserve, and the support that you need to ensure your continued dental health. Louis K. Cheung DDS is a dentist who is highly skilled in implant technology, and who can help you to ensure that your investment in dental implants is both wise and supported.
Text Copyright © 2015 Louis K. Cheung DDS PS – All rights reserved. Images used under license from Dear Doctor, Inc.