How Do Dental Implants Work?
If you’re considering dental implants, you might wonder how they work. Dental implants are a type of tooth replacement that involves placing artificial roots into the jawbone. These roots then fuse with the bone, providing a solid foundation for artificial teeth.
Dental implants may work for you if you:
- Have one or more missing teeth
- Don’t smoke tobacco
- Possess healthy oral tissues
- Are unable to wear dentures
- Have a fully grown jawbone
- Want to improve your speech
- Don’t have health conditions that can disrupt bone healing
- Have adequate jawbone to secure implants or able to undergo a bone graft
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are a permanent dental solution available to individuals who have lost one or more teeth due to dental trauma, age, or other factors. The dental implant replaces the natural tooth root, allowing a crown, bridge, denture, or dental appliance to attach securely.
This innovative dental procedure typically involves surgically placing a titanium post into the jawbone and allowing it to fully integrate with its surrounding bone structure for improved stability and strength. With proper care and regular dental visits for maintenance, dental implants can last for many years and make an aesthetically pleasing addition to your smile.
The Dental Implant Procedure
Although the dental implant procedure may seem complex, it has continuously improved over the years. You can generally expect the following steps to occur when receiving dental implants:
- Jawbone preparation (if needed)
- Dental implant placement
- Bone growth and healing
- Abutment placement
- Artificial tooth (crown) placement
The dental implant procedure starts with a consultation between you and your dentist to evaluate whether you’re a good candidate for the procedure. During the initial consultation, your dentist also performs a comprehensive medical history to ensure success. Then, they customize a treatment plan according to your needs and refer you to an experienced oral surgeon.
Your oral surgeon will perform a bone graft if your jawbone isn’t thick enough or too soft to support an implant. During a bone graft, the surgeon places healthy tissue in the intended implant location. Once your jawbone heals and grows with the new tissue, you’ll have a strong foundation for the implant.
Dental Implant Placement
In the next step of the process, your oral surgeon inserts a titanium screw into your jawbone that will act as an anchor for your prosthetic tooth. They do so by opening your gum to expose the bone, drilling a hole, and placing the “root” into the designated space.
Bone Growth and Healing
Following the implant placement, you will likely have to wait for your jawbone to heal. The goal is to ensure that your jawbone fuses successfully with the titanium screw, which can take 12 weeks or longer. However, each case differs, so your surgeon can give you an accurate timeline according to your situation.
Placing the Abutment
The abutment is the piece where the prosthetic tooth (crown) attaches. Sometimes, oral surgeons place the abutment during the same procedure as the titanium screw. However, this piece points upward into the mouth, causing discomfort, so many patients prefer a separate procedure to place the abutment once their jawbone heals.
Placing the dental crown over the implant is a delicate but essential procedure for successful surgery. Your dentist takes impressions of your mouth and remaining teeth to create a crown that fits snugly and blends seamlessly with the surrounding structures.
It’s important to note that your dentist can’t place the crown until your jawbone is fully healed and strong enough to support all implant components. Next, your dentist attaches the prosthetic tooth using unique materials and techniques – such as cement – to ensure it remains firm.
How Dental Implants Work
Once you receive dental implants, you’ll enjoy numerous benefits, such as the following:
- Restores your ability to chew
- Restores cosmetic appearance
- Helps keep nearby teeth stable
- Improves your quality of life
- Helps keep your jawbone from shrinking due to bone loss
- Preserves the health of your surrounding bone and gums
Because they look and feel like natural teeth, dental implants blend perfectly into your smile and reduce further damage to other areas. Additionally, they directly connect to your jawbone and stimulate it as you chew and talk, similar to natural teeth. As a result, they promote better health for the surrounding tissue and prevent additional bone loss. It’s no surprise why so many people are now opting for dental implants as their preferred choice for tooth replacement!
Caring for Dental Implants
Taking proper care of your dental implants is essential to preserving the health of your smile. As with natural teeth, brushing at least twice a day and regularly flossing helps maintain oral hygiene and protects your implants from food particles, bacteria, and tartar buildup.
Ensure you visit your dentist for regular cleanings so plaque doesn’t accumulate around the abutments. Avoid chewing hard foods such as ice cubes and other hard candy, as it can damage your implant’s surface.
Further, don’t smoke or excessively use alcohol, for doing so can lead to implant failure. These simple steps ensure you maintain a beautiful, healthy smile for years to come!
Schedule Your Appointment for Dental Implants
Dental implants are a great way to improve your smile and confidence. The procedure is simple, quick, and relatively painless. They also offer numerous benefits, such as restoring your ability to chew and improving your quality of life. With proper care, dental implants can last a lifetime.
We take pride in our far-reaching dental services at Lake Pointe Dental Group in O’Fallon, IL. Our team is here to ensure you love your smile! If you’re curious about how dental implants could work, schedule an appointment with us today!