Do you ever hide your smile because of missing or damaged teeth? Losing or breaking a tooth can wreak havoc on your smile, and in turn, your self esteem. More than 35 million Americans are missing teeth in one or both jaws. If you are one of them, you may be able to transform your smile with dental implants.
What exactly are dental implants?
Dental implants are metal posts, usually made of titanium, that act as substitute for a tooth’s natural root. Implants are placed into the jawbone, and fuses with the natural bone, becoming a sturdy foundation for a replacement tooth. A false tooth is then screwed into the implant. Implants can be used in conjunction with a bridge or denture containing multiple teeth, or it can simply be a replacement for a single tooth. According to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry, 3 million Americans have implants, and that number is growing by an average of 500 thousand per year.
What is involved in the process of getting a dental implant?
Placing and completing a dental implant takes time. First, a consultation will take place. The staff at our office will take note of the current state of your smiling and we will tailor a treatment plan specific to your needs. After a plan of action is determined, the implants will be made, and placed into your jaw, a process that usually takes an hour or two depending on the scale of work. Once the implants are placed, the jaw must be allowed to heal. The healing process can take as long as six months. It is important that the jaw has time to heal, and fuse with the implant to ensure they will last for many years to come. While the implant is healing, a temporary tooth can be placed on top in order for you to eat and speak normally. When the jawbone is healed, the permanent tooth with be placed on the implant and can immediately function as a normal tooth.
It may take some time to get used to new dental implants. Some people may feel slight discomfort or a variation in their chewing or speech. The majority of the time, these changes are temporary and will correct themselves in a couple days to weeks. If problems persist, you should make an appointment to allow us to determine if there is a larger underlying factor.
How should I care for my implant?
Dental implants can be cared for in the same way as normal teeth. It’s important to brush implants twice a day, as well as floss in between them daily. The number one reason implants fail is because of poor hygiene. To ensure your implants are being cared for correctly, regular dental visits and cleanings are necessary.
If you have questions about dental implants, or want to set up a consultation, call our office today. We will be happy to help determine if dental implants are right for you and your smile.