It’s estimated that about 178 million Americans are missing at least one tooth, and 40 million are missing all of their teeth. While dentures and bridges may have been the standard treatment option for replacing missing teeth in the past, dental implants are now the recommended treatment for many reasons.
If you’re missing a tooth or two, you may have questions about dental implants. In this blog, Carl Piontkowski, DDS, of Complete Health Dental Care in Clinton Township, Michigan, answers some of the most common questions.
A dental implant consists of three parts: the root, the abutment, and the new tooth. The root is a titanium post that we insert into your jaw where your tooth used to be. The abutment is fastened to the top of the abutment. And the new tooth is attached to the abutment.
Getting dental implants is a process that requires a series of appointments. At your first appointment, we surgically place the post — the new root for your tooth — into your jawbone. We also take an impression of your bite.
After we place the post, it needs to fuse with your jawbone, a process called osseointegration. Osseointegration may take 3-6 months. We may place a temporary restoration at the site while your jawbone heals.
Once the post fuses to your jawbone, we attach the abutment, which serves as the base for your custom-made crown. Then we secure your crown to the abutment to complete your smile. Even though there are three parts to an implant, the only thing anyone will see above your gumline is your new crown.
Dental implants are often the best choice for replacing missing teeth because they provide predictable, long-lasting results. We also prefer dental implants over bridges and dentures because they restore your whole tooth ― including the root ― which plays a vital role in maintaining your oral health.
Your tooth root and jawbone form a system that supports your oral health. When you bite and chew, your teeth move and stimulate the bone tissue in your jaws, which helps maintain the strength and integrity of your jaws.
When you replace teeth with dentures or bridges, you lose this important interaction and, over time, your jaw tissue can slowly erode, which may affect the stability of your natural teeth and facial features.
With dental implants, we recreate not just the tooth, but the tooth root as well, to maintain the vital bone stimulation needed to prevent the erosion of jaw tissue and the related consequences.
You’re not alone if you have concerns about pain regarding the placement of dental implants. After all, we cut your gum tissue and drill holes into your bone.
However, you can push these concerns to the side. With advancements in dental anesthetics and procedures, pain is minimal.
While you may feel some soreness or tenderness after the anesthetic wears off, these minor discomforts can be treated with over-the-counter pain medications or, if needed, mild prescription drugs.
You may be surprised to learn that most patients resume their usual routines immediately after their dental implant placement.
You take care of an implant just like your natural teeth. Brush and floss twice a day and attend your regular dental cleanings and checkups. With good oral care, your dental implant should remain in place for 25 years or longer.
When it comes to replacing missing teeth, dental implants are the next best thing to your natural teeth.
If you have questions about dental implants, we’d be more than happy to answer them. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with Complete Health Dental Care today.