The idea of implants, especially in the mouth, can be off-putting for a lot of people. It’s understandable, but they are a great tool to restore oral well-being and confidence in your smile. For those who aren’t sure as to what dental implants are, why or when they are needed, and the procedure behind implantation, let’s fill in the gap and hopefully remove any anxiety you may have about getting a dental implant.
Firstly, what are dental implants? They are artificial tooth roots that provide a permanent base for fixed or replacement teeth. Simply put, they replace your natural roots that keep the tooth in place. Some people think of dental implants as something like dentures or bridges or crowns, but they are more popular as a long-term solution. The reason for that is because dental implants feel, fit, and function like natural teeth. In fact, they are becoming the new standard over dentures, bridges, and crowns. More specifically, dental implants wouldn’t be the prosthetic tooth itself but hold it in place like a natural root would.
Next, let’s cover the procedure behind dental implants.
How Are They Implanted?
Many people have anxiety over going to the dentist, in part because they’re unsure what to expect in procedures like dental implantation. To help alleviate that, we’re going to cover the steps to getting a dental implant.
The first thing a dentist would do is evaluate the condition of your jawbone by doing an x-ray, taking impressions, and noting the color of your teeth so that the implant looks natural. You’ll also discuss any medical conditions and medications to ensure a safe and successful implant.
Next, your dentist will discuss anesthesia options; for example, using novocaine to feel numb or to sleep during the procedure. This is in preparation for extracting the tooth or remaining tooth fragments to make way for the implant. If you decide to go for local anesthesia to numb your mouth, you’ll feel no more than pressure and some tugging during the extraction.
The third step depends on the kind of dental implant you’re getting. One type consists of inserting the implant into the jawbone directly beneath your gum line. The second type is where a metal frame is installed just underneath the gum tissue so that it is fitted onto the jawbone. Neither option is better than the other and mostly depends on your jawbone itself.
This next step happens after you heal from the third stage in the implant procedure and the implant is confirmed stable. The dentist will place an abutment on top of your dental implant, which is the piece that connects to your crown. This stage requires no more than some local anesthesia since it’s far less invasive than the previous step. And now the hard part is over!
The final step of the dental implant procedure is adding a permanent crown that matches the rest of your teeth. You don’t have to have a permanent crown if it’s not desired; you can choose a removable crown for cleaning or replacement. An important thing to remember is while you can choose a removable crown, the dental implant itself is permanent.
After you’re all done with the dental implant it’s important to take proper care of yourself. You should stock up on soft foods and avoid tobacco as it can increase the risk of infections.
How do Dental Implants Improve Oral Health?
Dental implants are an incredible way to improve overall oral health, and not only because it replaces a damaged or rotted tooth. The special design of a dental implant also helps prevent future tooth loss. How that occurs is because of the way a tooth root interacts with your jawbone. A natural tooth root stimulates the bone replacement cycle, helping old bone tissue become replaced by new and healthy tissue. When a tooth falls out, the root no longer instigates that process and the jawbone can become thin and weak over time, causing other teeth to fall out. Dentures and bridges don’t solve that problem because they rest on top of your gums, having no interaction with the bone replacement cycle.
Dental implants are embedded in your jawbone, as previously mentioned, and help stimulate the process and keep fresh tissue being delivered to your jaw. This is the key reason why dental implants help promote overall oral health. Of course, removing a damaged or rotted tooth helps as well, but the dental implant instigates the bone replacement cycle, putting it above the other options for tooth replacement.
If you are in need of a dental implant, Dr. Li is available to help you regain your oral health. We have numerous payment options available and if you have dental benefits, we will submit your claims on your behalf. We also welcome cash, Visa, MasterCard, and e-Transfer payment methods to help make the dentist visit as pain-free as possible.