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Dental Implants – The Growing Trend for Replacing Missing Teeth and Restoring Smiles

Dental implants are made from titanium and other materials that are compatible with your body. They are posts or frames that are surgically placed in your upper or lower jaw. During the healing process, they fuse to your jawbone and function as an anchor for your replacement teeth. They effectively mimic the function of a tooth’s natural root.

Due to the nature in which implants fuse to your jawbone, they provide stable support for your artificial teeth, allowing them to look and function as natural teeth would. Many individuals prefer this method over traditional bridges and dentures that can slip and shift in the mouth. When implants are placed, dentures and bridges can be mounted securely to them, which is a big advantage when speaking or eating.

The Process of Receiving Implants

Typically, there are three phases to receiving an implant, as it is a multi-step process that requires oral surgery.

  • The first phase involves oral surgery for the placement of the implant into your jawbone, beneath your gum line. During this visit, after receiving anesthesia, a hole is drilled into your jawbone and your implant is then screwed into place. The implant is secured by your gums, and will remain covered during the time it takes for the implant to fuse to your jawbone. This healing process is called osseointegration, meaning that the bone grows around the implant to hold it in place.
  • During the second phase of this procedure, your implant is uncovered and a post is added. This serves as an extension, which will support your replacement tooth.
  • The third phase is begun after the gum tissue around the post has had time to heal. During this visit, a dental crown is fixed to the post. With the support from the post, the crown is secure and able to function as your original tooth. Your cosmetic dentist will customize the dental crown based on the size, shape, color and fit that is needed to match your other teeth.

This process may vary per individual, as some patients can receive placement of the implant and replacement teeth in the same visit. While others may need to wait until the implant is fully integrated, a process that can take up to several months.

Caring for Dental Implants

Implants have a high success rate, however, the longevity and success of your implant also depends on your oral hygiene. You can take the following steps to ensure your implant’s optimal function and longevity.

  • Avoid smoking, as this can weaken your bone structure and contribute to implant failure.
  • Maintain good oral hygiene. This includes brushing your teeth twice daily and using an interdental device or floss daily to clean hard to reach areas between your teeth.
  • Schedule regular cleanings and exams every six months to ensure the health of your dental implant and original teeth.
  • Avoid chewing on hard foods such as hard candy or ice. This can lead to breakage of your crown or natural teeth.

If you have missing teeth, a dental implant may be a great solution as it offers many benefits that are not afforded by traditional bridges or dentures. To find out more information or to schedule an appointment with your cosmetic dentist, call our office today.

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