If you’ve been in an accident or perhaps are just missing a tooth or two, your dentist may have suggested having a dental implant done. It seems like it’s straight forward enough, but do you know all the details about having a dental implant done? If this is a procedure you’re considering then here’s what you need to know about an implant.
What, exactly, is an implant?
A dental implant is, in short, a fabricated tooth that matches the shape, size and colour of your natural teeth. The implant itself is a replacement for the root, or foundation, of your tooth so that the portion of the tooth you see has something to secure to under your gums. You can have dental implants that are either permanent or removable, which your dentist can discuss the benefits of each with you to determine what’s right for you.
How are they secured?
Well, the short answer is your dentist will secure a post into your jawbone. The roots of your natural teeth go all the way down to your jaw, so it only makes sense that an implant would too. This post will be cemented in so that it can act as a really strong foundation for the tooth on top.
How long do they take to heal?
Depending on your dentist, it will probably take two trips to have a dental implant completely finished. In the first visit your dentist will prepare the space, or spaces, that will have implants in them. They will also complete the post portion of the implant, including drilling and cementing it in place. This procedure can take a couple weeks to heal as they do cut away some of your gums. Your dentist will likely want your gums to completely heal before the put the tooth portion on top of the post and make sure you didn’t have any issues with the post procedure.
If everything has healed well, your dentist will have a tooth made that looks like your other teeth, and ready to put on top of the post so you now no one would even know you were ever missing any teeth.
What are the benefits?
If you have lost a tooth, especially one in the front of your smile, you probably feel like it’s the only thing anyone ever notices about you. An implant can help restore your confidence and make your smile perfect!
Another big benefit, especially if you’ve had dentures for the past bit is that implants make you feel like you’re using your natural teeth. They will fit better than even the best dentures because they aren’t removal and won’t shift during a meal.
Finally, other dental procedures – like crowns – require surrounding teeth to be reduced down to have crowns put on the teeth to anchor the crown or bridge in place. Implants, however, don’t affect any surrounding teeth so they actually support better oral health over time by keeping healthy teeth whole.
Implants can seem like a scary procedure, but if you’ve lost a few teeth implants are a great option to restore your chewing function and perfect your beautiful smile!