Maybe your teeth are in bad shape? Perhaps you’ve lost a tooth or two recently? If so, you might have some interest in receiving dental implants.
What are dental implants, you ask? They’re synthetic “teeth” that permanently take the place of real teeth. But that explanation alone doesn’t cover it, so we’re going to get into more specifics below.
What are Dental Implants Exactly?
There are several different ways that you can replace or supplement missing or chipped teeth. You can insert crowns, wear dentures, or, of course, receive dental implants.
Dental implants are different from crowns and dentures in that they’re permanent and never have to be taken out. Mounted directly to the jawbones, they’re as rock-steady as authentic teeth.
These implants consist of titanium alloy, a rustless metal that is strong and sturdy. Designed to thrive through decades of consistent moisture exposure, they generally never need to be replaced.
The Benefits of Dental Implants
There are many benefits provided by dental implants. We’ll discuss the most prominent of these benefits below.
Can Be Used to Replace Just a Few Teeth
Before dental implants existed, dentures were the only viable option for tooth replacement. The problem with dentures is that they require the extraction of all teeth before insertion. As such, they forced you to either live with your missing teeth or have all of your teeth removed.
Dental implants are beneficial because they don’t require this. You can install dental implants directly next to authentic teeth, nixing the need for a full-mouth tooth extraction before the installation.
Cease Bone Loss in Jaws
Once a tooth goes missing, its portion of the jawbone starts to deteriorate. This deterioration lasts in perpetuity until the jawbone is, well, gone. As such, if you don’t want to lose your jaws, you need to do something to supplement any missing teeth.
Dentures are sometimes helpful in this endeavor. Note, though, that in some cases, they rub against the jawbones, wearing them down faster than they would wear down otherwise.
Dental implants, on the other hand, stop jawbone loss in its tracks. In fact, in some cases, they can even help the jawbone to grow back.
Facilitate Natural Chewing
Other than the fact that they appear to be real, dentures are nothing like real teeth. They can be extracted when necessary. And don’t even attempt to chew with them.
Dental implants, on the other hand, are designed to facilitate natural chewing. Shaped like real teeth and rooted in the gums like real teeth, they perform like real teeth.
Never Need to Be Taken Out
We noted that dentures need to be taken out from time to time. That is never true of dental implants. Dental implants root into the gums and are essentially impossible to take out.
You treat dental implants just as you would treat authentic teeth. You brush them, floss them, and, well, leave them in.
Keep Existing Teeth in Proper Position
Let’s say you’re missing a few teeth and that you’re alright with it. If you’re a hockey player or something else of the sort, you might even think it looks cool.
That’s fine, but you must know: failing to replace missing teeth can have serious negative effects on the rest of your teeth. Because those teeth are no longer there to keep the other teeth in place, the other teeth can shift around, causing aesthetic issues and chewing problems.
The solution? Dental implants, of course. Implants will provide stability and support to the existing teeth, ensuring that they remain in one place over time.
Getting Dental Implants: The Procedure
There are several components involved in getting dental implants. We’ll discuss them all in detail below.
The procedure begins with a dental assessment. A licensed dentist facilitates this assessment to ensure that the patient is a viable candidate for dental implants. If the dentist deems the patient to be a viable candidate, the dentist will establish a plan of action pertaining to inserting the implants.
Note, during this step. You’ll likely have to undergo x-rays. You’ll probably have impressions made of your teeth as well.
Bone Grafting/Tooth Extraction
Depending on your circumstances, you might need to have a tooth extracted, or bone added. That is particularly true if your lost teeth have come about due to neglect.
Note, this particular step could take more than one appointment. It depends on how many teeth you need to have extracted and how much bone you need to have grafted.
Once your teeth and bone are prepared, the mounting rod is placed in your jawbone. This is an intensive part of the procedure, as it requires cutting and drilling. You will likely experience pain during this step.
Note, it generally takes a few months for the bone to grow around the placed rod. In some cases, it can take as long as nine months.
Next, the dentist mounts the abutment onto the rod. This abutment does go down into the gums, and so can cause a little pain. Fortunately, the dentist administers local anesthesia, keeping discomfort to a minimum.
The procedure ends with the placement of the artificial tooth. In the vast majority of cases, this tooth is set permanently. Note, though, that there are removable implants available as well.
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