Dental implants are an effective and popular way to replace missing teeth. They are artificial teeth roots dentists place into your jaw to hold a bridge or replacement tooth. They’re made to blend in naturally with your other teeth. They could be an option for you if you lost a tooth or teeth as a result of an injury, periodontal disease or another reason.
Benefits and risks of a dental implant
It’s always good to know exactly what the pros and cons are to a procedure before you jump into it head first, so we’re going to lay out a couple of points here and list a few advantages and disadvantages of getting dental implants.
- They’re convenient.If you’ve had to wear removable dentures for a while then you know how inconvenient and at times uncomfortable they can be. With dental implants you can completely avoid any potentially embarrassing or inconvenient situations where you’d have to remove your dentures. Not to mention you don’t need to use any messy adhesives as you often to with dentures to keep them in place.
- You’ll look better!Dental implants are made in such a way that they infuse with your bone and because of this they feel like your real, natural teeth.
- They’re made to last and your dental implants will likely last you for many years, especially if taken good care of.
- Clearer speech.Sometimes crooked, damaged or missing teeth can cause people to slur their words or not be able to pronounce certain sounds properly. With a mouth full of good healthy teeth (or good healthy implants) you’ll be able to speak a lot clearer.
- Elevated oral health.The teeth around generally don’t have to be modified in order to place dental implants. The implants come right in and work together with your other teeth setting you up for good, long-term oral health. Individual implants allow for better access between your teeth which is excellent for oral hygiene.
- Eating becomes easier.With a mouth full of teeth, and no dentures to complicate things, eating becomes a breeze. Food becomes chewable and you’ll be able to fully enjoy your meals.
- Heightened self-esteem. Once you are able to smile your fullest, happiest smile full of healthy teeth, it can make you feel a whole lot better about yourself and get rid of a lot of discomfort about the way you look.
And the cons? Well, to be honest, there really aren’t any! The procedure itself involves very little discomfort and with the use of local anesthesia most patients have stated that getting implants is less painful than having a tooth pulled. There is a soreness that sets in for about a day after receiving implants, but this is not very intense and can be easily treated with most over-the-counter pain medication.
What to expect in dental implant procedure?
Dental implant placement usually involves the following steps:
Your implant dentist will thoroughly examine your mouth, including taking X-rays or 3D images, discuss the various implant options and develop a plan for your implant surgery.
Dental implant placement
At your next scheduled appointment, your implant dentist will place the dental implant in your jawbone where your tooth is missing. Although each patient’s experience is unique, most people find they experience less pain and discomfort than they expect, and typically return to work the next day. Local anesthesia or IV sedation can be used to keep you comfortable, depending on the procedure. Post-implant surgery discomfort is similar to that of any other dental surgery. It may include swelling, bruising, minor bleeding and/or pain, but most patients usually manage any pain with over-the-counter medications.
As you heal, your implant and jawbone will grow together in a process called osseointegration (os-e-o-in-tuh-GRAY-shun), forming a strong, long-lasting foundation for your replacement teeth. During this healing process, which can take up to a few months, you go on with your normal life. You will be on a soft food diet for the first few weeks to make sure your implants heal properly. In some cases, your implant dentist may also be able to place temporary teeth during this period, if you choose.
Once your implant bonds with your jawbone, a small connector – called an abutment – is placed on the dental implant just above the gumline. In some cases, the abutment can be placed at the same time as the implant.
Custom-make and attach new teeth
After your gums heal, your dental implant dentist will make impressions of your mouth and remaining teeth to custom-make your artificial teeth. These teeth – which can be an individual crown, implant-supported bridge or dentures containing multiple replacement teeth – will be attached to the abutment. Although they don’t decay, your new teeth will need the same routine care, checkups and cleanings as your natural teeth.
Periodic check ups
Depending on the number and type of implants and replacement teeth you receive, the entire process can take three to nine months. After your dental implant placement is finished, you’ll visit your dental implant dentist periodically for follow-up checkups, just as you do your regular dentist.
How long does a dental implant procedure take?
Now that you know the dental implant procedure steps, you want to understand the factors determining how long your implant procedure will take, including:
- The number of involved teeth
- Your oral health
- If you require a tooth extraction before your implant placement
- Which teeth you’ll have replaced
How long do teeth implants last?
Can dental implants last forever? In other words, how long do dental implants last? Unlike your natural teeth, implants aren’t vulnerable to dental disease like decay, but your gum health is essential for maintaining lasting dental implant success. Caring for dental implants through routine professional cleanings, dental check-ups and conscientious home care are key to dental implant sustainability. Every individual is different, however. The success of your dental implants will rely on planning and diagnosis, your medical history and lifestyle choices during your healing.
Some things you can do to protect your remaining natural teeth and help your dental work are:
- Practice good oral hygiene: Just like with your regular teeth, you need to keep your dental implants clean. Interdental brushes and other specially designed brushes slide between your teeth which help clean around your teeth, metal posts and gums and in between the nooks and crannies.
- Visit your dentist routinely: Be sure you schedule dental check-ups to ensure the proper functioning and health of your implants, and follow your dentist’s advice regarding professional cleanings.
- Avoid damaging habits: Never chew on hard candy, ice and other hard items that could break your crowns and even your natural teeth. Don’t use caffeine and tobacco products that can stain your teeth. If you grind and clench your teeth, get treatment.
Does it have any Complications?
Though it’s unlikely, there’s always a chance something can go wrong during the surgery or healing. See your dentist if:
• Your body rejects the dental implant
• You get an infection in your gums or the bone
• Your dental implant falls off or doesn’t adhere to the bone
• You suffer from bone loss
There are common complications that are normal during the healing process.
This includes swelling, pain, and numbness around the dental implant area and even on the gums and your whole mouth. Contact your dentist if any of these issues persist.