When it comes to oral health, you should be seeing your dentist at least once a year. What are you going to discuss with your dentist at your next appointment? Are there any procedures you would like for a full, bright, healthy smile?
If you have missing teeth, you may be thinking about doing something to plug in those holes in your smile. One of the most effective procedures for replacing missing teeth is getting dental implants.
Dental implants give millions of Americans a bright and strong smile every year, but are they right for you? Below you will learn what patients they are appropriate for, the pros and cons of choosing this procedure, and the process of putting these implants in.
What Exactly Are Dental Implants – and How Do They Differ from Dentures?
Dental implants are false roots that are surgically added to your bone. These implants can hold different types of replacement teeth. (For more information about the different types of implants, click here.) Dental implants can replace one tooth or a full mouth of missing teeth.
Who Should Consider Dental Implants?
Dental implants are a great option for the following candidates:
- Patients whose jaw has finished growing
- Patients who have lost one or more teeth
- Patients who can no longer wear, or do not want to wear, removable dentures
- Patients considering a root canal
- Patients who have healthy gums and strong jawbones to hold the implant
- Patients who do not smoke or are on the path to quitting
What Are the Benefits of Dental Implants?
Dental implants are so popular because they offer a wide range of benefits for patients who are looking for a long-term solution to missing or damaged teeth. If you are still on the fence about implants, consider the following:
- Dental implants preserve bone health, preventing any additional problems later on in life. Cavities cannot grow in dental implants. If you are considering dental implants in lieu of a root canal, you may breathe easy knowing there is no chance of additional cavities in that tooth.
- Whether you want crowns or dentures to replace your teeth, dental implants can make it happen. Implants are compatible with different types of replacement teeth and materials.
- No dentures! Removable dentures can limit the foods you want to enjoy, and can slip and slide while you are talking, eating, laughing, and so on. Dental implants stay in place, and there’s no need to put them in a cup overnight.
- Dental implants are one of the most natural replacements for teeth on the market. Your replacement teeth will look, feel, and function like the teeth you were missing.
How Does the Procedure Work?
Before you receive a dental implant, your dentist will make sure that your gums are healthy and that your jawbone can support the implant. If there are concerns, dentists can build up a patient’s jawbone to prepare it for the implant.
During the first procedure, your dentist will fuse the implant to your bone, which is made out of titanium and ceramic. Patients are given a local anesthesia before this process begins. Most implants (endosteal implants) are placed in the bone, but the implant may also be placed on top of the bone (subperiosteal implants).
Patients may feel some pain or discomfort after this first procedure, but it is often subdued by prescribed medication. During the healing process, patients should only be consuming cold, soft foods. Dentists may provide patients with a temporary crown or replacement tooth so that they can chew and speak properly while their mouth heals.
Eventually, the implant and bone will begin to grow together. At this point (usually two to six months after the implant is installed), the patient will have to visit the dentist for a second procedure and installation of the permanent replacement tooth, crown, bridge, and so on.
Are Dental Implants Right for You?
Dental implants have a lot of benefits for candidates who want to regain their beautiful smile and maintain their oral health for years to come. They aren’t right for everyone, though.
If you would like to know more about dental implants, talk to your dentist about them at your next appointment. Don’t have an upcoming appointment? Contact South Florida Dental Care to schedule one today.