What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are artificial anchors inserted into the jaw to provide patients with a solid, permanent base for replacement teeth. Because they are stable and permanent, they are a popular and effective long-term solution for people with missing or failing teeth, or chronic dental problems. Unlike dentures, bridges or crowns, they fit, feel and function like real teeth: no slipping, clacking, or difficulty chewing. The procedure is permanent and should last the rest of your life.
How Does It Work?
There are three main steps to a dental implant: implantation, healing, and teeth replacement.
Your dentist surgically inserts one or more posts made of medical-grade titanium and other biologically compatible materials into your jawbone. This is a surgical procedure, and you may experience pain and swelling for several days afterward. Your dentist may prescribe a special diet and/or pain medication.
The cells in your jawbone grow around the inserted metal post, fusing with it in a process called osseointegration (OSS-ee-oh-in-te-GRAY-shun). This process forms the stable anchor that permanently attaches to your jaw. This process may take time - often months - depending on the number and type of teeth being replaced and the type of implant, as well as your general health and oral hygiene.
Once the anchor is stable, replacement teeth are placed. These replacement teeth - called a bridge - are usually made of zirconium or porcelain, and will match your existing teeth in shape, size and color. Every implant is different, depending on your unique anatomy and bone structure, the type of implant being used, and the number and type of teeth being replaced. The process usually occurs over several visits and can take up to a year to complete.
Am I a Good Candidate for Dental Implants?
Most people are good candidates for dental implants. The ideal candidate should be in good general health, be old enough that your jaw has stopped growing, have healthy gums and good oral hygiene, and have enough bone in your jaw to support and anchor the implants. However, the procedure might actually be recommended for people who already have bone loss in their jaw to prevent further breakdown.
As with any surgery, there is a risk of infection and other complications. People with chronic conditions, such as diabetes, cancer, uncontrolled gum disease and previous radiation to the jaw are at higher risk of poor outcomes. Tobacco users and those with alcohol use disorder are also at higher risk.
Dental implants are usually the best option to replace missing teeth. With a natural look and feel that can help restore your self-confidence, speech, and chewing ability, they are a long-term solution that should last you the rest of your life.
If you are considering implants, come see the experts at Artistic Smiles for a detailed examination to determine what options are best for you. Call (818) 930-5647 for an appointment today!