Sometimes people have accidents that severely damage their teeth or knock them out entirely. Other times, teeth fall out or become decayed to the point where they need to be removed due to poor oral health. Whatever the case may be, if you find that your teeth are damaged or missing, you’ll want to consider repair and/or replacement options. One option that may be available to you is the placement of a dental implant or implants.
Dental implants are tooth replacement prosthetics. These prosthetics are designed to closely mimic a natural tooth or teeth. Unlike other repair and replacement methods, dental implants are extremely secure. This allows patients to continue to bite, chew, and enjoy the food they love without worrying about the replacement breaking or falling out of place.
What sets dental implants apart is how they are secured. The dental implant placement process involves the installation of a titanium rod into the jaw of a patient. This then attaches to a dental crown (false tooth) via an abutment.
Dental implants are able to closely mimic the appearance of a natural tooth, and they can easily blend in with a patient’s smile. With that said, there are other material options (like gold) that stand out more. The choice will ultimately be decided by your budget and personal preference.
There are a few advantages that dental implants have that make them an ideal choice for tooth or teeth replacement. These include:
Strength and durability. Dental implants are very strong and are able to take similar pressure to natural teeth. This means a patient is able to continue to bite and chew their favorite foods without worrying about damaging the prosthetic.
Security. As Dental crowns are attached to a titanium rod fused with the jawbone, the crowns and implants overall tend to stay put. This is unlike traditional dentures that can shift around.
Protecting surrounding teeth. What many patients don’t consider is that your teeth help to support each other and keep each other in place. With as little as one tooth missing, teeth can begin to migrate. This means possible impacting and crowding. Not only does this cause damage, but it can also make brushing and flossing difficult. This, in turn, can lead to cavities, decay, and gum disease. Implants help to keep your healthy teeth in place.
Appearance. A missing tooth means an incomplete smile. This leads a lot of people to be self-conscious, which can impact their mood. Some people find that when they have a missing tooth or teeth, they smile less. With a dental implant, you can continue to smile without worrying about a gap in your teeth.
The dental implant process is multi-step. It starts with a patient making a trip to the dentist so the dentist can take a look at the patient’s missing or damaged tooth or teeth to see what the best course of action will be.
The examination involves a visual exam, x-rays, and a review of the patient’s dental records. From there, they determine if the patient is a good candidate for a dental implant procedure.
Once they have made the determination, an appointment will be set for the initial procedure. The initial procedure involves the installation of a metal rod into the jawbone of the patient. Around six to twelve weeks will be allotted for after surgery to allow the rod to fuse with the jawbone. After this is complete, the patient can return for the installation of the abutment and dental crown.
There are some preparations you’ll need to consider before dental implant surgery. One is any jaw prep that may need to be completed before the surgery is done. For instance, your dentist may need to perform jaw reshaping or a bone graft in order to ensure the dental implant is able to stay seated.
Once you are ready for your implant surgery, you’ll need to make sure you fast for at least twelve hours beforehand if your dentist is using general anesthesia. Also, show up in comfy clothing.
Once you’ve received your dental implants, it’s extremely important to take proper care of them. This actually isn’t too difficult. Like with your natural teeth, make sure you don’t chew on anything too hard, as you don’t want to damage the dental crown or crowns. Also, continue to brush and floss normally. While a dental crown won’t decay, you can still develop gum disease and the teeth surrounding your implant can still decay. Take proper care of your oral health and your implants should hold up fine.
If you notice any damage to your crown or experience discomfort, set an appointment with your dentist so they can take a look.
There are a few considerations when it comes to whether or not you are a good candidate for dental implants. If you have a damaged tooth, your dentist will consider how healthy the remainder of the tooth is and whether or not they can save it. Dentists generally prefer to maintain at least a portion of a healthy tooth if possible.
Another consideration is the condition of your jawbone. You may need to undergo procedures to provide the bone required to hold the implant. These procedures can be costly.
Your insurance coverage sadly is another factor you’ll need to consider. Some insurance plans don’t cover dental implants, or they have very minimal coverage. If this is the case, you’ll need to consider what payment options are available.
If you have a gap in your teeth or you have a damaged tooth or teeth, don’t wait around. It’s not just an aesthetic issue. A gap in your teeth or damage can lead to major oral health issues in the future. Instead, schedule an appointment with your dentist today. They will take a look at the gap or damage and determine the best course of action for treatment.