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Answers to 7 common questions about dental implants.

What are dental implants?

Dental implants serve as replacement tooth roots, providing a solid foundation for permanent (fixed) or removable replacement teeth that are carefully made to match the look of your natural teeth.

What are the advantages of dental implants?

There are many significant advantages to dental implants. This includes:

  • Improved appearance. Implants look and feel just like your original teeth. Also, because they are constructed to fuse with bone, they become a permanent part of your mouth.
  • Improved speech. If you have poor-fitting dentures, you know how teeth can slip within the mouth, causing you to slur your speech. Because dental implants are fixed, this allows you to speak without any concern of slippage that could hinder your ability to speak clearly.
  • Improved comfort. Because they are so secure, implants eliminate all the discomfort associated with removable dentures.
  • It makes eating easier. Moving dentures can make chewing a constant concern. Dental implants function exactly like your own teeth, allowing you to enjoy all of your favorite foods without the stress and discomfort of dentures.
  • Less evasive. Implants don’t require reducing other teeth, as with tooth-supported bridges. Since the nearby teeth are not altered, you maintain more of your teeth, which improves long-term oral health.
  • Durability. Implants are highly durable and will last many years. With proper care, implants can last a lifetime.
  • Convenience. Dental implants eliminate the constant inconvenience of removing dentures and the need for messy adhesives to keep them secure. Dental implants also allow much easier access between teeth, improving oral hygiene.

What is involved in getting a dental implant?

The first step in creating an individualized treatment plan for a dental implant procedure is developing a detailed plan. The plan is designed specifically for your needs and is prepared by an expert team of dental specialists who are specially trained and experienced in oral surgery and restorative dentistry. This team approach provides coordination of care based on the best implant type for you.

Next, the tooth implant, which is a tiny post made of titanium, goes into the bone socket of your missing tooth. After the jawbone has healed, it grows around the implant, anchoring it securely into place. It takes between six and 12 weeks to complete the healing process.

Once the implant has been inserted into the jawbone, a tiny connector post is attached to hold the new crown securely. Your dentist takes impressions of your teeth, which capture all of your teeth, including their type and arrangement. The new tooth or teeth is based on this model. A crown is then attached to the tooth that was removed.
Some patients may have attachments placed on the implant that retains and supports a removable denture as an alternative to one or more individual crowns.

Your dentist will also match the color of the teeth to your natural teeth, so they blend in better. Because the implant is securely placed within the jawbone, your new teeth look, feel, and function just like natural teeth.

How Painful Are Dental Implants?

Most people who’ve had dental implants report minimal discomfort during the procedure. Local anesthesia can be applied during the procedure, and patients report that implants involve much less pain than tooth removal.

After the dental implant surgery, mild soreness can usually be treated with over-­the-­counter pain medication, such as Tylox or Motrin.

How do I take care of my dental implants?

Dental implants require similar care as natural teeth, including brushing, using an antibacterial mouthwash regularly, and regular dental checkups.

Do dental implants last?

Unlike natural teeth, which are susceptible to decay, dental implants are not. However, the health of the gum tissue is vital to maintaining long-lasting implant success. Regular professional cleaning and checkups are essential for dental implant sustainability. Conscientious home care by patients is also necessary. Each patient is unique, and success depends on diagnosis and planning, medical histories, and other factors.

Can anyone get dental implants?

Most people who are healthy enough to undergo a regular dental extraction or oral surgery are also healthy enough to receive a dental implant. Patients should have healthy gum tissue and enough bone to hold an implant. They also need to be committed to good oral health and regular dental appointments. People who smoke heavily, suffer from uncontrolled chronic diseases, or have undergone radiation therapy to the head or neck area should be evaluated on an individual case by case basis.

Talk to your dentist first before deciding whether to get implants. If you have any questions or would like a free consultation, contact Saratoga Dentistry today.