When teeth are missing, the surrounding bone begins to shrink. This unhealthy bones loss can make your jawline recede. Dental implants can help prevent deterioration of the jawbone caused by loss of teeth, so your face retains its natural shape. Because dental implants are securely anchored, there is no slipping or movement as there is with dentures. This eliminates some of the key worries of dentures, including poor fit, gum irritation, and pain from exposed nerves.
- Have one or more missing teeth
- Have a jawbone that's reached full growth
- Have adequate bone to secure the implants
- Have healthy oral tissues
- Don't have health conditions that will affect bone healing
- Are unable or unwilling to wear dentures
- Want to improve your speech
- Are willing to commit several months to the process
Prior to Procedure:
The dental implant process involves several steps that take place over a time period that averages from 4 to 9 months. A dental implant is a small “anchor” made of titanium. It is inserted into the jawbone to take the place of your missing tooth root. After osseointegration, or when the surrounding bone has attached to the implant, a replacement tooth is secured to the top of the implant.
This procedure is usually performed under either a local or general anesthesia. The doctor places the small dental implant into your jaw. Over the next several months, bone will attach to the surface of the implant anchoring it into position. Depending on your particular case, an additional minor procedure creates an opening through which your artificial tooth will emerge. During the phase, the doctor will painlessly attach a prosthetic “post” to the implant. A simple impression will be taken and over the next few days an artificial tooth will be created for a functional natural restoration.
After the Procedure:
Since dental implants look and feel like natural teeth, they naturally enhance your appearance. More importantly, the securely attached implant gives you the confidence of eating what you like, speaking easily and clearly, and freedom from embarrassment. By following a regular routine of careful oral hygiene and regular checkups, your implants can last for many years.