Dental implants are a popular and effective way to replace missing teeth and are designed to blend in with your other teeth. They are an excellent long-term option for restoring your smile. In fact, the development and use of implants is one of the biggest advances in dentistry in the past 40 years. Dental implants are made up of titanium and other materials that are compatible with the human body. They are posts that are surgically placed in the upper or lower jaw, where they function as a sturdy anchor for replacement teeth.
Most patients that implants are secure and stable replacements for their own teeth. There are generally 3 stages when getting an implant:
- The dentist surgically places the implant into the jawbone. Your dentist may recommend eating soft foods, cold foods and warm soup during the healing process. The procedure is done in the dental office under local anesthesia.
- Next, the bone around the implant heals in a process called osteointegration. During this time, the bone grows around the implant, making the implant strong. When the implant is fully integrated, the replacement teeth can be placed.
- Finally, the dentist will place the artificial tooth/teeth. For a single tooth implant, your dentist will customize a dental crown for you that has a good size, shape, and fit to blend in with your natural teeth. If you are replacing more than one tooth, custom-made dentures or bridges will be made to fit your implants.
How long does the process take?
The process of getting an implant and crown can take up to 9 months to complete, depending on your individual healing time after the surgical placement of the implant.
What is the success rate of implants?
The success rate of an implant depends on the tooth’s purpose and location in the mouth, as well as how well you care for the implant. Poor oral hygiene is a big reason implants fail, so it important to brush and floss the implant at least twice a day. It is also important to schedule regular cleanings with your dentist after the implant is placed to ensure your gums and bone remain healthy.
Talk to your dentist about whether you are an implant candidate. They will give you specific information about the health of your gums and bone structure, as well as the purpose and cost of the implant to help you make a decision about whether implants are right for you!
YouTube video showing an animated version of the procedure: