Unlike sharks, we’re only born with one set of adult teeth. If we’re lucky, these teeth will last us a lifetime, but life happens! We have accidents that chip and knock teeth out, teeth that can’t be saved due to decay, and sometimes teeth just fall out. In the past, the only way to “replace” a tooth was with dentures or a bridge. These days, when we replace a tooth with implants, it’s truly a lasting and strong replacement.
What Exactly is a Dental Implant?
A dental implant is essentially a permanent replacement for a tooth. The implant is placed into the jawbone and then is attached to an artificial tooth. After it heals, the implant is expected to last your entire life.
Just like a real tooth, implants are tightly set into the jawbone. While receiving an implant takes a long time to heal, implants are set to last a lifetime. To check if the jawbone is ready for an implant, we’ll have a pre-operative exam where we will review your medical history, radiographs, and area the implant is needed. If everything looks good to go, we’ll schedule an appointment for your implant.
Using local anesthetic and with the option of nitrous oxide, we will prep the area. This involves removing any damaged tooth particles and preparing the jawbone for the implant. If you’ve ever had a root canal or filling, it will feel and sound very similar. Once the area is numbed, you won’t feel any pain, even throughout your bone.
The implant’s integrity will depend entirely on how dense your jaw bone is. If your jaw bone is not as strong as it should be to hold an implant tightly, we have the option to graft bone into the weaker part of your jawbone to create the best circumstances for an implant.
Once the implant is placed into the jawbone, we wait for the bone to heal. This can take several months. The implant is deep within your bone and gums, so you won’t really feel anything but a gap in your teeth. Once the implant has been healed within the jawbone, a screw-like piece called an abutment combining the implant to the artificial tooth is added. After the added abutment heals into the gums, the artificial tooth is added.
The most amazing thing about implants is no one will be able to tell you have one. They look exactly like your pre-existing teeth! By matching the tint of your teeth’s enamel, they blend in and look fantastic.
Keeping Implant Sites Healthy
Despite how an artificial tooth cannot get cavities, keeping the area clean will keep the bone and gums around the implant healthy. Regular brushing and flossing will continue to keep the area healthy.
Schedule an Exam Today
If you’re looking for an alternative to your dentures or bridge, definitely give us a call today! Plus, even if you’re suspicious about a specific tooth needing a replacement, we can see what the next steps are. If you have any questions or concerns before your exam or procedure, don’t hesitate to call! We’re excited to see you soon.</p