What is a Dental Implant?
A dental implant is a surgically positioned support for an artificial tooth. These small anchors, typically made of titanium, act as substitutes for your natural tooth roots. Once placed, they provide a strong foundation for a replacement tooth or bridge.
Who is a Good Candidate for Dental Implants?
Dental implants are ideal for individuals who are missing one or more teeth and are looking for a replacement that looks, feels, and functions like a natural tooth.
Those considering the procedure must have healthy gums and strong jaw bones. When the bone is unable to support an implant because it is too soft or thin, a bone graft may be required prior to placing the implant.
Candidates for dental implants must also be committed to maintaining stellar oral hygiene following the procedure. This includes brushing and flossing daily and visiting the dentist at least twice a year.
What are the Benefits of Dental Implants?
Dental implants are considered the next best thing to natural, healthy teeth and are known for their impressive benefits. For starters, they are built to last. With proper care and maintenance, they can last a lifetime, requiring only occasional adjustments.
Also, because they look, feel, and function like natural teeth, they will not interfere with everyday actions like eating, speaking, and smiling. Additionally, they can prevent further deterioration in the jaw by stimulating bone growth.
What is the Procedure Like?
Dental implant surgery is performed under local anesthesia on an outpatient basis. In the past, it required three visits to complete the process – an initial visit to place the implant in the jawbone, a second visit three to six months later to attach a small post (or abutment), and a third visit to complete the tooth restoration.
However, recent advancements in dental implant technology now allow the first two steps – the implant and the post – to be performed at the same time. Called a “single stage” implant, this procedure can cut months off your treatment time. Following the surgery, you will only need around six weeks of healing time before your artificial tooth can be placed.