If you’re considering dental implants, you may be wondering if it’s really the best option for you. But what exactly is it? How do you know you need one? What other options are there? You may even feel scared to move forward because of the overwhelming amount of information being given to you. In this article, we’re breaking down the basics and what you need to know about getting an implant.
What is a dental implant?
When you lose a tooth, a dental implant can be placed to replace the root of your tooth. The implant, typically made from titanium, is placed into the bone. This piece resembles a screw and helps to keep your new “tooth” in place. A crown is connected to the implant using an abutment or post extension. The crown is an artificial tooth that is often made of porcelain. This is the piece that sits at the top of the implant and fills in the missing tooth from the gumline. This allows patients a permanent solution to missing teeth.
What does the process look like?
Your doctor may recommend a dental implant if you are missing a tooth or need to have one removed. They will begin with a consultation, exam, and x-rays to determine what steps would be best for your specific case. Some patients require a bone graft to help create a solid base for the implant to be placed. This helps with the longevity of the implant. A bone graft is a bone substitute that can be from natural or synthetic material. Once placed, it can take up to a few months to set before your doctor is ready to place the implant.
With solid bone in place, your doctor will be ready to place the implant. Your doctor or specialist will open the gums and place the implant deep into the bone using carefully placed holes. Each doctor has a different method but the overall goal is to create a base for your new “tooth”. It will take time for the implant to fuse to the jawbone. This process is called “Osseointegration”.
Once you have healed from the implant placement, your doctor will place the abutment. This piece is the anchor that attaches your new crown to your existing implant. Because this process can require additional healing time, you may need to wait for the permanent crown to be placed. When your doctor is ready to place the crown, they will create a realistic looking tooth to place on the abutment piece.
After the crown is permanently fixed, you will require additional healing time. Post-surgery symptoms can include pain, swelling, and minor bleeding. Your doctor will let you know what to expect and what you can do to take care of yourself.
Can I afford an implant?
Though costs vary from place to place, dental implants have a higher cost due to its complexity and permanent nature. Utilizing insurance and payment plans are a great way to meet your dental goals while making it affordable. Talk to your dental team about your options when considering treatment.
What other options are available?
There are many options available to replace a missing tooth. After talking with your dentist, you may decide that dental implants aren’t the best option for you based on time, money, or comfort. Other treatment options include bridges, partial dentures, and complete dentures. The treatment you receive is best to be discussed with your dentist so you find the one that meets your needs.
In conclusion, dental implants are a great way to replace one or more missing teeth. The process can take several months to complete but offers a permanent solution for your dental needs. There are a variety of alternative options you can consider such as a bridge or dentures. It’s best to consult with your doctor to find the best treatment for you.