So let’s start off by learning what a dental implant exactly is. A dental implant is an artificial tooth that replaces a tooth that has been taken out or fallen out. Implants look natural, can provide support for dentures, and do not affect the teeth bordering them. They are as stable as your real teeth and protect you from the loss of jawbone, which occurs when you lose teeth. To receive an implant, you need to have healthy gums and enough bone to support the implant.
After the Tooth has been Removed
Once your tooth has been removed, your dentist, oral surgeon, or gum disease specialist (periodontist) will place an anchor and post in your jawbone. The anchor functions as the tooth root and is made from metals such as titanium. The post extends out of the anchor. Your new tooth will attach to the post. It takes 3 to 6 months for the jawbone to grow around the anchor and hold it in place. Sometimes two operations may be necessary to put in the anchor and the post. Then, once the anchor is well attached to the jaw bone, your dentist will cement the artificial tooth (crown) to the implant.
For a few days after the surgery, you may have swelling and/or tenderness so your dentist may give you pain medicine to lessen the pain around the implant area. Your dentist may also suggest that you eat only soft foods for a period of time.
One of the best things about dental implants, is that once you have an implant, it stays in. You do not have to remove it for cleaning or soaking, as you do with dentures.
It is just as important to brush and floss implants as it is with natural teeth. If bacteria build up on implants, you can end up with gum disease and bone loss the same as you would with your natural teeth.
Dental implants have come a long way over the years. They are now stronger and better looking than ever! There is no replacing your natural teeth of course, but with a dental implant most likely only your dentist will ever be able to tell the difference. So don’t be afraid of implants anymore, and contact us today to schedule a consultation to see if dental implants are right for you.