A dental implant is an artificial tooth root (typically titanium) that is placed into the upper or lower jaw bone. The implant is used to support a crown to replace a missing tooth or to support a fixed alternative to removable dental appliances, such as partial dentures or complete dentures. Implants are very stable and provide excellent support for dental appliances. In addition, the prosthetic teeth attached to implants are extremely natural and can do wonders in restoring or enhancing the appearance of your smile.
Dental implants can be used to:
– Replace a missing tooth
– Resolve joint pain or bite issues caused by shifting teeth due to a missing tooth
– Restore chewing or speech
– Restore or enhance the shape of the face
– Support a bridge or denture comfortably and securely
What does getting dental implants involve?
Getting a dental implant requires multiple appointments over the course of several months. At the first visit, x-rays and impressions of the jaw and teeth are taken to make an assessment of the space available for an implant. The dentist will also examine the amount of bone in your jaw and the health of your gums. While the area is numb, the dentist will surgically place the implant into the bone. The area is then allowed to heal while the implant integrates with the bone for up to six months.
Depending on the type of implant the dentist uses, a second surgery might be required to place the post that holds the implant crown (artificial tooth) in place. Some implants are made with the post and anchor attached and, as a result, are placed at the same time. Other implants are made with the two parts separate and require a second surgery.
Once the bone and implant are successfully integrated and the area is fully healed, you will come back to the office to take impressions for your artificial tooth. Since the tooth is fitted to the post portion of the implant, several fittings may be required. This step can take one to two months to finish. After another healing period, the artificial tooth is securely attached to the implant.
Dental implants are very stable and durable and will last for many years. However, on occasion, they may need to be re-tightened or replaced due to normal wear.
You will receive care instructions for your implant. Good oral hygiene and regular visits to your dentist will aid in the life of your new implant.