These days, if you lose a tooth or teeth, your periodontist is likely to recommend dental implants as a long lasting solution. These are basically replacement teeth that are positioned directly in your jaw bone. Dental implants can last a lifetime, and they help protect your remaining teeth from damage. If you or someone you know is considering a dental implant, here are a few key things you should know.
What Are Dental Implants Made From?
The part of the dental implant that is inserted into your jaw bone is typically made from titanium. periodontists use titanium because it is non-bioreactive. In other words, your body won’t react negatively to its presence. This means that you typically don’t need to worry about rejection or a bad reaction to the material in your dental implants.
The crown portion of the implant, which is the part you see, or the part that looks like a tooth, is made from ceramic or porcelain. Both materials are really hard-wearing and can be colored to look like your existing natural teeth.
How Are Dental Implants Inserted?
Dental implants do need to be surgically inserted into your jaw bone. Don’t worry; you don’t usually need to undergo general anesthesia for this procedure. Instead, your periodontist can use a local anesthetic to numb your jaw, plus a sedative to keep you calm and comfortable.
After making an incision in your gums, your periodontist will expose your jaw bone and insert the implant. They’ll then suture your gums back over and around the implant. Then, at a later appointment after the healing process, your periodontist will add an attachment piece called an abutment. The crown – the visible part of the tooth – can then be attached to the abutment.
What Do Dental Implants Look Like?
Once your mouth is healed, a dental implant will look just like a natural tooth. Your periodontist will color the porcelain to be the same color as your natural teeth. Nobody will have to know you have an implant except you and your periodontist!
What Are The Benefits of Dental Implants?
Replacing a missing tooth or teeth with dental implants allows you to continue eating the foods you love. This ensures you’re able to get the nutrition your body needs for ongoing health and energy.
A dental implant also helps protect the teeth that remain in your mouth. When you have an empty space in your smile, your teeth may try to shift into that space, which weakens them over time. A dental implant will prevent this from happening. You won’t have to worry about the tooth misalignments or decay that can develop when a missing tooth is not replaced.
Dental implants can also improve or preserve your speech. You need your teeth to make certain sounds, such as “th.”
Can You Replace Multiple Teeth With Dental Implants?
Yes. If you are missing multiple teeth in a row, your periodontist can often provide you with a few different options for completing your smile.
There are also several types of implants that can be used to replace an entire arch of teeth. Typically, with these systems, you’ll have four screws implanted into your jaw. The entire arch of crowns will attach to those four screws. These full-mouth implants are a great alternative to traditional dentures. They don’t move around or cause irritation, and they help keep your jaw bone healthy.
Who Is a Good Candidate for Dental Implants?
Most people who are missing one or more teeth are good candidates for dental implants. You do need to be in good overall health so that your body is able to heal after the initial implant surgery. You also need to have enough jaw bone to support the implant.
If your jaw bone is thin or weak, your periodontist may recommend a bone graft. Cadaver bone, or even your own bone, can be grafted onto your jaw bone in a straightforward surgery. You can heal from the bone graft within a few months, at most. Then, your jaw bone should be strong enough to support an implant.
Some people with osteoporosis and similar bone conditions are not good candidates for implants. However, if your osteoporosis is well controlled with medication, implants could still be an option for you.
Hopefully this article has deepened your understanding of dental implants, their benefits, and how they work. If you have any other questions or would like to schedule a consultation, contactPeriodontal Specialists in Kansas City today.