Dental implants are a great way to replace missing teeth. They are incredibly durable and look like natural teeth. While single dental implants replace one tooth, you can also ask about implant bridges and implant dentures if you're missing multiple teeth. If you would like to know more about what to expect with dental implants, keep reading.
Before Dental Implant Treatment
Before the dentist can place an implant, they must treat any underlying causes of tooth loss, such as poor oral hygiene and gum disease. Gum disease can wreak havoc on the teeth, gums, and jawbone. If you have gum disease, the dentist will recommend a deep cleaning, antibiotics, and better at-home oral hygiene. For more advanced gum disease, the dentist may recommend gum flap surgery and/or a gum graft.
Next, the dentist must determine your jawbone health. The jawbone must be strong to support the implant, and tooth loss causes jawbone atrophy. Once placed, however, the implant keeps the jawbone strong. If your jawbone is weak from gum disease and/or tooth loss, you may need a bone graft or a sinus lift.
During Dental Implant Treatment
The dentist drills the titanium implant into the jawbone, but the area must fully heal before they can continue. During this healing process, the gum tissue regrows and closes over the implant, but, more importantly, the jawbone fuses to the titanium implant, which makes implants so durable.
Once the implant is secure, the dentist cuts open the gum tissue to access the implant and place the abutment and crown. Naturally, the entire process can be scary and invasive, but you can ask your dentist about sedation options to help reduce anxiety and make the process seem faster. While many people still choose nitrous oxide, other sedation options include oral and IV.
After Dental Implant Treatment
After the procedure, the tooth is impervious to decay, but you'll still need to brush and floss regularly, including around the implant. If you get an implant bridge, you'll also clean under the bridge and along the gumline. Implant dentures are removable, making it easy to keep them and your mouth clean.
If you neglect your oral health, the implant won't rot or decay, but you can develop periimplantitis, which is basically gum disease around the implant. This drastically increases the risk of implant failure, but it also exposes the titanium root, which affects your smile.
Many people have missing teeth, but there are more tooth-replacement options now than ever before. Dental implants are a great option thanks to their many benefits. If you would like to know more about dental implant treatment, contact a dentist in your area today.