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Everything You Need to Know About Dental Implants

The only time it’s exciting to lose a tooth is when you’re an adolescent who has been playing with a wiggly tooth for weeks, anxiously awaiting the tooth to fall out so the Tooth fairy can leave a payday under your pillow. Once those days are over, losing teeth is nowhere even close to an exciting moment. It’s a horrible moment, and it’s one that can be fixed. On the same note, it’s also just as devastating to someone who has a mouth full of adult teeth to find that their tooth is broken or damaged to a point it’s noticeable and significant.

Unfortunately, it’s easy to break or lose a permanent adult tooth. Accidents, injuries, sports, and even health problems can cause teeth to break or fall out, and you’re left wondering what to do. The Tooth fairy isn’t making a visit to pay you a fee for your tooth. Rather, you are about to make a visit to your dentist to pay them to handle your tooth. It’s unfortunate and inconvenient, but it happens. Before you panic, just remember our offices are hear to help you keep your smile beautiful, your teeth healthy, and to discuss everything you need to know about Dental Implants.

What’s A Dental Implant?

A dental implant is a safety net if you lose a tooth or break one. Not only does it keep your smile from looking different over time as your mouth changes shape due to the sudden availability of space, it also keeps your mouth healthier if you have a broken tooth. An implant uses an artificial root. It’s surgically anchored into your mouth to your jawbone, and its only purpose is to anchor down a bridge or an artificial tooth. What’s so good about this type of dental implant is that they have no impact on your existing teeth. You do not need them for support. You do not need them for stability. They have no effect at all.

However, what many dental patients consider the biggest benefit of a dental implant is the fact that they look just like a real tooth, and no one will ever know your teeth are not real. It doesn’t matter how many of them you have, you will not find anyone questioning whether your teeth are real. It’s a great way to maintain your confidence in your smile.

If you’re wondering what implants are made of, you are not alone. Most are made from a version of ceramic material designed to look just like bone, though there are some made of metallic material as well. Titanium is that material used to bond with the bones in your jaw, which is something that works well to keep your new teeth in place.

Do I Need Implants?

That’s the question many patients ask. Do I need implants? Are my teeth really in bad enough shape that I need false teeth in some areas? The answer for many is yes. They are not for everyone, but they are the best option for many. Those who find that implants work the best are typically those who meet specific requirements as listed below.

  • You must be in good health
  • You must have healthy gums
  • You must have good bone structure
  • You may not be able to wear dentures
  • You shouldn’t have chronic issues

Dental Implants and good health go hand in hand because surgery is required to implant these implants. If your overall health is not good enough to be put to sleep and have surgery, you are not a good candidate for this surgery. Additionally, those who have chronic issues such as teeth clenching problems, bruxism, diabetes, or other systematic diseases are often poor candidates for dental implants. The good news, though, is that this is a good option for those who cannot wear dentures.

Healthy gums are a must for you to qualify for dental implants. The gums must be healthy enough to support the implants, otherwise they will not work in your mouth. Good bone structure means adequate bone structure. If your jawbones are unhealthy or not good enough to hold up the false root for the implants to be placed, you cannot have this surgery. Finally, smokers and drinkers are not good candidates for this type of dental work, but you should talk to your dentist about this last one before you make a final decision as the occasional glass of wine might not have much of an effect on your implants.

How Are Implants Different than Dentures?

The obvious difference is that implants are not removable. If you have implants placed, you are not taking them out at night or to clean them. They are permanently affixed to your mouth, which is not how dentures work.

The other main difference is the stability factor. Dentures are nowhere near as stable as implants. They only rely on the support of your gums rather than the jawbone to keep them in place, which means they can come out and shift in your mouth if you are not careful with them. Furthermore, implants are easily placed if you are only missing a tooth or two because of health issues or injury. Dentures are only used if you need an entire mouth of new teeth.

What’s the Placement Process Like?

Everyone is curious about the placement process because no one wants to go into a surgery with no idea what to expect. Your dental professional is going over this with you carefully and precisely, but we can provide a general outline for you here. The first step is that your dentist will provide an exam. Any old teeth that are not in good shape will be removed. There is a recovery period for that. Once that’s done, the dentist will perform surgery to implant the anchor of the implant into the bone. This takes hours.

Now you wait for the surgery site to heal. For some, this takes as long as six months. For others, it takes a lot less time. However, your dentist will keep a close eye on the surgery site. You must wait for the jaw bone to begin to grow around the anchor to hold it firmly in place. No implants can be placed into the anchor until the bone has grown around the anchor. Every person heals differently, so there is not a specific timeframe for this.

Once the jawbone has anchored the anchor, you then have your implants placed. The dentist creates artificial teeth to fit the shape and size of your mouth. They are custom teeth made just for you. Each one is aesthetically pleasing, and it’s comfortable. Once those are placed, you will then go through the relatively simple recovery time, show up for a few follow-up appointments, and begin living a very normal life with your new implants.

What’s the Care Process Like?

Caring for implants is not much different than caring for your original teeth, but there are a few things to know. Your implants will not last long if you do not care for them properly. This means you must brush and floss twice daily, you must follow the dentist’ guide to caring for your implants, and you must see your dentist at least twice a year or more if you have any issues in between regularly scheduled appointments. Most implant patients are required to have four yearly cleanings, but this helps your dental implants last longer, look better, and it helps your oral health stay strong.

In terms of adjustment times, you will likely adjust right away to having your new implants. It doesn’t take more than a few days to grow accustomed to your new smile, your new mouth, and even your comfort. It’s not uncommon to feel a little uncomfortable as you become familiar with slightly new speech and eating habits. These are not your old teeth, and your mouth is accustomed to certain feelings. You will get used to this.

If you have any questions about dental implants because of broken or lost teeth, it’s time to call our offices. We can schedule an appointment for you to discuss the idea with one of our dental professionals. Our team of experts will evaluate you and your health history to determine if you are a good candidate, discuss cost and recovery time, and answer any questions you may have. If you’re unhappy with your current smile, there is hope for you in the future. Call our offices now to start on the path to a beautiful, fresh smile.