Dental implants are tooth roots that serve as a foundation for replacement teeth that blend in with your natural teeth. Dental implants replace missing teeth due to tooth decay, gum disease, or injury. Before dental implants, the only options for missing teeth were bridges and dentures. But now that dental implants are available, they have many advantages including:
- Dental implants look and feel like your natural teeth
- They are permanent
- They allow you to speak without worrying your dentures will slip
- Eliminates the discomfort caused by removable dentures
- Makes eating easier
- Increases your self-confidence with a natural-looking smile
- Implants are very durable and with proper care should last a lifetime
Are you a candidate for dental implants? In general, anyone that is healthy enough to undergo oral surgery is a candidate for dental implants. You must have healthy gums and enough bone to hold the implants. You must also be committed to good oral hygiene and regular visits to your dentist. Patients that smoke or have chronic conditions should be evaluated on an individual basis.
What happens during a dental implant procedure? The first step is to place the tooth root implant into the bone socket of the missing tooth. As it heals for approximately 6 to 12 weeks, the bone grows around the implant and anchors it securely into the jaw. Then a connector post is securely attached to the implant to hold the new tooth. The replacement tooth is based on a model of your bite taken from an impression of your teeth. The replacement tooth, or crown, is attached to the connector post.
For a visual explanation of the dental implant procedure, watch the animation below: