If you are missing one or several teeth, you have several options for restoring a healthy and beautiful smile. One such option is a dental implant, which is considered by many dentists to be the most long-lasting solution to a missing tooth.
Here, Dr. Matthew Warner of Willoughby Dental explains what you need to know about dental implants.
Dental implants replace the root of a tooth.
Other tooth replacements (e.g., dentures, bridges) only replace the crown of a tooth, which is the visible portion of a tooth that sits on top of the gums. On the other hand, dental implants include a titanium post or screw that is surgically inserted into the jawbone. The post acts as an anchor to an artificial tooth that sits on top of the gums. Because the post fuses with the surrounding jawbone, the tooth is very stable and secure. With dental implants, you can eat, speak and smile without worrying that your artificial teeth will slip out (which may be a concern with dentures). Dental implants also stimulate the jawbone, preventing it from deteriorating. This helps support the facial features for a normal appearance, and minimizes the risk of oral health issues.
The implant placement process takes longer than that of a bridge or denture.
Because dental implants are surgically inserted into the jawbone, the process to place them is more extensive than that of a bridge or denture. The first part of the dental implant placement process is performed by an implant dentist or oral surgeon, who creates an incision in the gums and an opening in the jawbone in which to place the post. In order to create a stable foundation, the post must fuse with the jawbone. This process, called osseointegration, can take approximately three to six months. Dentures and bridges are typically placed in the span of two weeks.
Dental implants can last a lifetime.
When properly placed and cared for, dental implants can last a lifetime. Implants should be brushed and flossed like natural teeth, and checked by your dentist every six months.
To learn more about dental implants or the other restorative dental treatments Dr. Warner offers, please schedule a personal consultation. Contact our Greenville office by calling (864) 546-4242 or emailing us today.