Dental implants are the most effective and permanent method in tooth replacement. These dental devices are one of a kind, in that you can use them as you would your natural teeth. Unlike other tooth replacement procedures, dental implants provide stability for both surrounding teeth and the jawbone. To find out more about these innovative artificial teeth, read on to find out the six most frequently asked questions about dental implants.
What are dental implants?
Dental implants are dental replacement devices that involve three different parts: the post, the abutment and the crown. The abutment sits atop the post as a connector between the post and the crown. The post is a titanium screw that is inserted directly into the jawbone where tooth loss has occurred. The post acts as the new artificial tooth root. Titanium is a unique metal in that it has the ability to fuse with living bone to become a permanent part of the anatomy of the mouth. For this reason, dental implants effectively replace the tooth, while preventing jawbone density loss.
Who can get implants?
Patients who are good candidates for dental implants have good oral health and good overall health. Dentists can fix some conditions like receded gums and gum disease before the dental implant procedure, but other systemic issues like diseases that prevent proper bone growth can pose a problem. A successful implant procedure and the longevity of a dental implant depends on maintaining oral hygiene and making sure the rest of the body is in optimal shape.
How do patients prepare for implants?
The great news is most patients with a successful implant can virtually forget it is there. Once the dentist places the permanent crown, it will be able to be put to use almost immediately and bear weight like a natural tooth. Brushing and flossing is still a must – although these artificial teeth cannot directly be affected by tooth decay, the gum tissue around an implant and surrounding teeth can still decay through neglect. Keeping the implant clean is a crucial part of helping it to last a lifetime.
Is the procedure painful?
In short, no. The dental surgeon puts patients under local anesthesia to insert the implant. Most patients report having little to no discomfort immediately following the surgery. However, over the counter pain medications can help if there is any pain.
How long do dental implants last?
A lifetime! With proper care, implants will last for decades. Parts of the implant, like the crown, might need replacing if damaged, but even this is a rare occurrence.
How long is the procedure?
The procedure in total should last about 30 to 60 minutes. If there is more than one implant to be placed, it is usually closer to an hour and a half.
Any further questions about dental implants?
If you are missing one or more teeth, consult with our office to determine if you are a good candidate for dental implants.
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