Dental implants are considered the standard of care for prosthetic replacement of missing teeth in dentistry. A dental implant is a surgical fixture that is placed into the jawbone and allowed to fuse with the bone over the span of a few months. The dental implant acts as a replacement for the root of a missing tooth. In turn, this "artificial tooth root" serves to hold a replacement tooth or bridge. Having a dental implant fused to the jawbone is the closest thing to mimicking a natural tooth because it stands on its own without affecting the nearby teeth and has great stability. The process of fusion between the dental implant and jawbone is called "osseointegration." Over time, technology and science have progressed to greatly improve the outcomes of dental implant placement. Today, the success rate for dental implants is close to 98%.
Can Anyone Get Dental Implants?
In most cases, anyone healthy enough to undergo a routine dental extraction or oral surgery can be considered for a dental implant. Patients should have healthy gums and enough bone to hold the implant. They also must be committed to good oral hygiene and regular dental visits. Heavy smokers, people suffering from uncontrolled chronic disorders -- such as diabetes or heart disease -- or patients who have had radiation therapy to the head/neck area need to be evaluated on an individual basis. If you are considering implants, talk to your dentist to see if they are right for you.
How Painful Are Dental Implants?
Most people who have received dental implants say that there is very little discomfort involved in the procedure. Local anesthesia is used during the procedure, and most patients report that implants involve less pain than a tooth extraction.
What Are the Advantages of Dental Implants?
Improved speech : Dental implants allow you to speak without the worry that teeth might slip.
Improved comfort : implants eliminate the discomfort of removable dentures.
Easier eating : Dental implants function like your own teeth, allowing you to eat your favorite foods with confidence and without pain.
Improved oral health : because nearby teeth are not altered to support the implant, more of your own teeth are left intact, improving long-term oral health. Individual implants also allow easier access between teeth, improving oral hygiene.
Durability. Implants are very durable and will last many years. With good care, many implants last a lifetime.
What Is Involved in Getting a Dental Implant?
The first step in the dental implant process is the development of an individualized treatment plan. Next, the implant, made of titanium, is placed into the bone socket of the missing tooth. As the jawbone heals, it grows around the implanted metal post, anchoring it securely in the jaw. The healing process can take from six to 12 weeks.
How Do I Care for Dental Implants?
Dental implants require the same care as real teeth, including brushing, flossing, rinsing with an antibacterial mouthwash, and regular dental check-ups.