Anyone who has experienced the loss of a tooth root may qualify for a dental implant. Unlike other tooth parts, the root cannot be replaced with a filling. It is the portion of the tooth that is below the gum and connecting to the jaw. Whether the patient lost the whole tooth at once or has a crowned root that is about to be pulled, dental implants are often the ideal replacement.
Implants look and act like natural teeth. People with them are able to eat and converse without worry. Dentures and partial dentures are prone to moving around, causing sores and pain. On the other hand, implants fuse directly to the jaw bone and become a permanent part of the mouth. Confidence is boosted with this guarantee.
Before a patient gets dental implants, they will need a proper assessment from their dentist. This will include evaluating overall medical health and the specific state of the gums and jaw bone that will support the new tooth. Certain health conditions must be addressed on a case by case basis. Cigarette smokers will need to discuss this with their dentist.
Once a patient has been seen by a dental team, the patient and dentist will formulate an oral health plan. In the case of one or more missing teeth, implants will be an option to consider. The dentist will discuss the others, including the costs of each. Then, future appointments will be scheduled for the various procedures.
During the first visit for a dental implant, the dental team inserts a tiny titanium post directly into the bone beneath the missing tooth. This is the actual implant; it requires between six and twelve weeks to heal completely. This process must be complete before the next step.
An abutment, which is simply a connecting post, is then attached to the implant. This is what the visible tooth will attach to. Generally, the dentist will have already taken impressions for the visible part of the tooth. These impressions are sent to another location and may take a week or more to return. The artificial tooth will match the color of the surrounding teeth and is bonded into place quickly. Patients can begin using it normally the first day though the area may be sensitive for a week or so due to the procedure.
When a patient is missing more than one tooth, the dentist may use implants to secure a bridge. These are permanent artificial teeth that connect to a tooth on either side. While natural teeth are ideal for this, an implant can be used on one or both sides to secure a bridge. They can also be used to help keep partial dentures in place.
This is the ideal solution to tooth loss. Implants keep the jaw bone strong and allow the patient to participate in normal activities without worry. With proper care, including brushing and flossing, these devices will last for the entire life of the patient.