Dental implants are a cosmetic treatment to permanently replace damaged or missing natural teeth and its root. Dental tooth implants are artificial, but provide the look, feel, function of a natural tooth, and are excellent alternatives to dentures or dental bridges. In addition, the material used for dental implants does not decay and is very durable, which results in a strong, stable, and functional solution.
Dental implants are made from titanium and are surgically placed in the jawbone where they serve as the roots of missing teeth. The titanium in dental implants fuses with the jawbone (osseointegration), which ensures that the implant is held in place and not slip. When osseointegration is complete, an abutment is attached to the dental implant post protruding through the gums in a subsequent appointment. After the abutment has been placed and your gums have healed (one to two weeks) the artificial tooth can be connected.
You may be a candidate for dental implants if one or more of the following apply to you:
- Missing natural teeth
- Have a fully grown jawbone and healthy oral tissues
- Have sufficient bone to secure the implants
- Restore dental functionality
- To support dental bridges or dentures
- Improve speech
The cosmetic treatment involving dental implants may take several months to complete along with several visits to the dentist. Due to the lengthy process involved, a thorough dental evaluation and review of your medical and dental history is required to prepare. Dental X-rays and impressions of your teeth and mouth will be taken to ensure that dental implants can be supported. Your dentist will then determine a treatment plan customized to your situation, which considers the quantity of teeth that need replacing and your jawbone condition.
To manage pain during the procedure, the patient is placed under anesthesia, and may be sedated. It is important to inform your dental practitioner of any medical conditions or medications that you may be taking. When the procedure has been completed, the patient will be provided with instructions to care for the dental implants.
Once the dental implants are in place, they will offer full functionality for many years, provided that good oral hygiene is maintained (brushing and flossing) in addition to recurring appointments with your dentist.