When a tooth is damaged, but the root is intact, it is possible to save the tooth by installing a crown. But when the root is severely diseased, damaged, or loosened by bone loss, it is possible to put in a replacement root, and that replacement is a dental implant.
Dental implants are small titanium posts that replace the roots of your missing teeth. Bone reacts very well to titanium. In most patients, the body treats it just like actual bone and the jaw and the implant become firmly integrated. Thus, implants become part of your jawbone, creating a solid foundation to attach either permanent or removable teeth, bridges and dentures.
First for most patients is appearance. Implants look, feel and perform much like your natural teeth. They become a permanent part of your life, your mouth and your smile. The titanium post implanted into your jaw prevents bone loss and that “caved-in” look so common with tooth loss. They make speaking more natural and comfortable, eating more pleasurable and your replacement teeth improve your self-esteem. Implants are designed to fit well with the surrounding teeth and help them stay in place by keeping your jawbone strong and vibrant.
You can replace just one tooth, many teeth or all of your teeth with dental implants. In the case of a partial denture or full dentures, it is not necessary to have one implant for every tooth lost. As few as two to four implants can securely hold in a denture. Basically, you want to use as many implants as you can afford, as each titanium post helps prevent jawbone loss.
Modern dentistry and oral surgery procedures can be virtually pain free. Most patients report that the installation of their dental implants was not an unpleasant experience. With oral sedation, commonly called “sleep dentistry,” you can literally “miss” the entire procedure while still avoiding the use of general anesthesia. Post-operative discomfort is managed with over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen or OTC pain-relievers. Use of ice packs to reduce swelling is also beneficial in the first few days.
While the initial cost of implants is higher than other tooth replacement methods, such as dentures or bridgework, the long-lasting benefits are cost-effective. When viewed as a long-term investment in your dental health, jaw preservation, enjoyment and looks, dental implants are well worth the cost.
Dental implants need regular oral hygiene, just like natural teeth. If you lost your original teeth due to poor dental habits, new and improved practices need to be taken up. Daily brushing, daily flossing and regular visits to the dentist are all required to keep your new implants functional. Your implant teeth cannot decay, but the surrounding gums and jawbone will still suffer the consequences of neglect. If you lost your original teeth due to bad habits, keep in mind that implants can eventually loosen and fall out if your personal hygiene is extremely poor. In actuality, many patients enter a new phase of their life with implants, a time of diligent and regular dental care to keep their now beautiful smile healthy and long-lasting!.
The titanium used in implants is medically safe and metal allergies with this material are extremely rare. But an implant can fail to “take” to the jawbone if an infection develops. Certain habits, such as smoking or teeth grinding, and specific medical syndromes are connected with a higher risk of implant failure. Nevertheless, good dental practices and follow-up visits to your Yuba City dentist to check your progress ensures that your implants will last a lifetime.
If you have missing teeth, or teeth that will soon be pulled, you are most likely a great candidate for dental implants. With a complete oral examination, including x-rays to determine your jawbone health, your dental professional can determine how to proceed with your personalized plan for dental implants. If need be, grafting is possible to restore bone loss and provide “real estate” for mounting the implants. To find out for sure, come to the Yuba City Dentistry Group prepared to get your smile and bite back, and to see your confidence soar, as you benefit from a decision to have dental implants.