What are implants?
When people lose or break their teeth, one of the best ways they can replace them is with implants. Dental implants are artificial tooth roots that are surgically anchored to the jaw to hold a replacement tooth or bridge in place. One of the major benefits of implants is that they do not rely on neighboring teeth for support and they are designed to last a lifetime. In fact, dental implant treatment is the tooth replacement option with the highest documented success rates. Clinical studies over the past 40 to 50 years indicate that dental implant treatment has a success rate well over 95%.
What are implants made of?
Implant material is made from different types of metallic and bone-like ceramic materials that are compatible with body tissues. Most implants are made of titanium, which bonds well with bone and is biocompatible, making it an ideal material for implants.
How are implants placed?
First, a general dentist, oral surgeon, or other specialist will perform surgery to place the implant into the jaw. The surgery can last several hours, and it will take three to six months for the bone to grow in and around the treads of the anchor to hold it firmly in place. Once the implant is stable, the dentist places an abutment on top of the implant and then places an artificial tooth/crown on top of the abutment. Your dentist will work with you to create and implant that fits well and is comfortable and attractive.
Who should get implants?
Implants are not an option for everyone. Because implants require surgery, patients must be in good health, have healthy gums, and have adequate bone structure to support the implants. While lack of adequate bone support is a limitation, a bone graft can be placed to create a good implant site. People who are unable to wear dentures may also be good candidates.
How do I care for implants?
Poor oral hygiene is a main reason why some implants fail. It is important to floss and brush around implants at least twice a day. Additional dental cleanings may be necessary to ensure that you retain healthy gums.
How will I adjust to implants?
Most people adjust to implants immediately; however, some people feel slight discomfort and notice differences in chewing or speech for a short time. Patients will soon see a difference in their confidence level and enjoy their new smile.