Dental implants are a popular option for people looking to replace missing teeth. They look and function like natural teeth and last much longer than other traditional tooth replacement options.
If you’re considering dental implants, it’s essential to understand how they work and what kind of care you’ll need to keep them in good shape. In this article, we will provide a basic overview of what dental implants are and how they work so you can make an informed decision about your dental health.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are artificial tooth roots that are surgically placed in the jawbone to support a replacement tooth. They are made of titanium and other biocompatible materials that fuse with your jawbone over time, making them a stable and secure base for replacement teeth.
Tooth implants are made of three parts: the implant body, the abutment, and the crown. The implant body is the actual implant post that is surgically placed in your jawbone. The abutment is a connector piece that attaches to the implant body and holds your replacement tooth in place. The crown is the visible portion of the implant, which looks and functions like a natural tooth.
How Do Dental Implants Work?
Dental implants work by replacing the root of a missing tooth with a metal post (implant body). Once in place, the implant integrates with your jawbone over several months, giving it a solid foundation for the abutment and crown.
Implants are more secure than traditional tooth replacement options like removable dentures because they are integrated with your jawbone. This ensures your replacement teeth stay in place even when eating and speaking.
Implant placement requires healthy gums and adequate bone structure in your jawbone. You must also be free of certain medical conditions that could interfere with the healing process.
The Dental Implant Procedure
The implant procedure requires several appointments, depending on the number of implants you receive. During the initial consultation, your oral surgeon will assess your oral health and take X-rays to determine if you are a good candidate for tooth implants.
Once your oral surgeon has determined that you are a viable candidate for the implant procedure, they will create a personalized treatment plan that outlines the steps of your dental procedure.
Implant surgery typically requires three separate steps:
Step 1. Dental Implant Placement
During the implant placement, your oral surgeon will make a small incision in your gum tissue and place the implant body into your jawbone. The implant is then secured with screws or other devices to integrate with your jawbone over the next several months.
After the implant is placed, your oral surgeon will close the incision and may provide you with a temporary restoration to protect your gums while the implant heals. A process called osseointegration then begins. This is when the bone tissue fuses with the implant, creating a strong and stable foundation for the replacement tooth or bridge.
Step 2. Abutment Placement
After the implant has healed and integrated with your jawbone, your oral surgeon will place the abutment. The abutment is a connector piece that attaches to the implant body and holds the replacement tooth or bridge in place. Your oral surgeon will also take an impression of your gums to create a custom-fit crown or bridge for your implants.
Step 3. Crown Placement
The final step in the dental implant process is the crown attachment. A crown is a prosthetic tooth custom-made to match your surrounding teeth. Your oral surgeon will place it onto the abutment and make any necessary adjustments for a secure fit. You will then be finished with the surgical procedure and can enjoy your new smile!
Why Are Dental Implants The Best Tooth Replacement Option?
Dental implants provide a more comfortable and convenient solution than traditional dentures. They are securely anchored in the mouth, eliminating the need for messy adhesives or worrying about them slipping out of place.
Another significant benefit of implant placement is that they help prevent bone loss in the jaw. When there are lost teeth, the bone beneath them can deteriorate over time. This can lead to further tooth loss and changes in facial structure. Since dental implants serve as artificial tooth roots that stimulate the bone, they help to prevent bone loss and preserve the natural shape of the jaw.
They can also improve oral health by preventing the shifting of surrounding teeth and reducing the risk of periodontal disease (gum disease) and tooth decay. Unlike bridges that require adjacent teeth to be filed down to support the replacement tooth, dental implants do not affect the surrounding teeth. This means that the real teeth are left intact and can be properly cleaned and maintained.
Implant treatments are also long-lasting and durable. With proper dental care and maintenance, they can last for many years or even a lifetime. This makes them a cost-effective solution in the long run compared to other tooth replacement options, such as bridges or removable dentures that may need to be replaced every few years.
Maintaining Your Perfect Smile
With proper care and regular visits to your dentist or oral surgeon, implants can last for many years. Here are some tips to help you keep your implants clean and healthy:
- Practice good oral hygiene: Just like natural teeth, implants require regular brushing and flossing to keep them clean and healthy. You should brush your teeth at least twice daily with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Flossing should also be done daily to remove any food particles or plaque that may have accumulated between the teeth and around the implant.
- Avoid chewing on hard objects: While dental implants are durable and long-lasting, they are still susceptible to damage from excessive force or pressure. Avoid chewing on hard objects such as ice or hard candy, as this can cause the implant crown to crack or break. Avoid using your teeth as tools to open packages or bottles, as this can also damage the implants.
- Visit your dentist regularly: Maintaining regular dental appointments for check-ups and cleanings is important. This allows your dentist to monitor the health of your implants and make sure they are functioning properly. During these visits, any necessary adjustments or repairs can be made to keep them in good condition.
- Make healthy lifestyle choices: Healthy choices can also improve the longevity and success of your dental implants. Smoking, for example, can increase the risk of implant failure by reducing blood flow to the gums and bone surrounding the implant.
Get Started on Your Journey Toward a Brand-New, Gleaming Smile!
Dental implants are a long-term investment in your oral health and overall well-being. With proper care and maintenance, they can provide a permanent solution to missing teeth and improve your quality of life for years to come. Book an appointment with our dental specialist today to learn how dental implants can benefit you and restore your bright smile.