One or more missing teeth can negatively affect your self-confidence. Even worse, they can affect the health of your entire mouth and jaw as well, potentially leading to the loss of even more teeth. There are several well-known options for replacement, including temporary or permanent dentures, though dental implants often remain the best choice. But how do dental implants work? We lay out the facts to help you decide whether they’re right for you.
What are dental implants?
Unlike dentures, which sit on top of your gums or teeth and are not permanently attached to your mouth, dental implants are secured with metal posts that are surgically inserted into the jawbone. Once placed, they allow your dentist to mount replacement teeth (usually made from ceramic or resin) onto them, creating the appearance of a full and healthy smile growing naturally from the gums.
After a brief recovery period, you’ll be able to brush and floss normally in addition to biting, chewing, and speaking more comfortably. And because they’re permanently implanted into your mouth, they don’t have to be removed before sleeping at night. Implants can be even more durable than natural teeth, often lasting upwards of 20 years with proper care.
How do dental implants work?
During the procedure, your dentist will drill a small hole into your jaw bone to anchor the screw that holds the dental implant in place. The implant is then inserted into the bone socket where the tooth is missing. A small connector post is attached to your new tooth, matched to the color of your natural teeth.
For one tooth, the surgery usually takes about an hour. For multiple teeth, it can take two to three hours. The pain is generally minimal and for most patients, only local anesthesia is necessary.
Dental implants fuse to your jawbone, so they provide excellent stability and support for artificial teeth. Unlike regular dentures, implants won’t slip or shift in your mouth. The secure fit makes the implanted teeth look and feel much more comfortable.
Another benefit of dental implants is that no adjacent teeth need to be prepared or ground down to hold the new replacement teeth in place. Your new teeth are custom made just for you, so you can be sure they’ll fit perfectly in your mouth.
Do I need dental implants?
If you have a cracked, damaged, or missing tooth (or several), you may benefit from dental implants. However, speaking with your dentist first is the best way to determine whether you’d benefit from this popular tooth replacement option.
To receive implants, you must have healthy gums and adequate jaw bone to support them. You must also commit to keeping your mouth healthy. Thorough oral hygiene and regular dental visits are critical to the long-term success of dental implants.
If your mouth and jaws aren’t currently healthy enough, your dentist can always recommend procedures to get them into better shape with the aim of eventually getting dental implants. There are always options, for both the short and long-term.
Family Dentistry is proud to offer My Teeth Today™. This state-of-the-art dental implant system allows you to regain a healthy, beautiful, natural-looking smile in just a single day.