If you are missing teeth, a dental implant can help you stop feeling self-conscious when you are talking, smiling or eating. Missing teeth can also cause some oral health problems. However, implant surgery can provide an artificial tooth that will resemble your natural teeth. It will also function as naturally as your original teeth. Read on to learn whether a dental implant is the right decision for your specific needs.
What is a dental implant?
The prosthetic implant is used to replace a patient’s missing teeth. It is created from titanium and is a small post. The dentist will insert the post into the patient’s jawbone. Once the implant has fully bonded with the bone, an abutment is attached to the implant. This provides a stable base for attaching crowns, dentures, or fixed bridges. This means that an implant tooth is created from three different parts: the implant itself, acting as the artificial tooth’s new root, the abutment, and then the new restoration.
How many teeth can an implant replace?
Patients are able to replace anywhere from a single tooth to all of the missing teeth using implants. It is not necessary for every missing tooth to have its own implant. For a removable lower denture, as few as two implants can be used for support. Compare this to a full, permanent set of teeth where only four implants are necessary for a solid base.
Does implant surgery hurt?
Dental implant surgery is usually easy for the majority of people to sit through. After the surgery, it is normal for the patient to feel some discomfort. This can be handled using over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen. Ibuprofen and other anti-inflammatories can also help with any swelling. It is also helpful to use ice to relieve some of the residual pain. It can take up to six months for the bone and post to bond together and heal properly.
How are implants cared for?
It is important to care for implants the same way that a person would take care of their natural teeth. This includes brushing and flossing daily, as well as remembering to go to dental appointments for both checkups and professional dental cleaning. Dental implants will not decay. However, the gum tissue that surrounds them may become infected or inflamed if not properly cared for.
Who can get implants?
A dentist will decide if someone is a good candidate for dental implant surgery. It will depend on a few factors. These can include the health of the patient’s gums and their general overall health. Another factor is whether there is enough bone in the jaw to support the implant. If a person falls short on this, it is routine for a dentist to build up the jawbone if the bone height is not enough to provide a stable base.
Knowledge is power
Knowing the various facts behind dental implant surgery can help you determine whether this procedure is the right one for you. If you have one or more missing teeth and want to go this route, talk to a dentist about how to get started with the restorative process.
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