Missing teeth can be detrimental to your overall health and wellbeing. They can cause crooked teeth, affect the health of your gums and jaws, and even impact your facial structure. In addition to damaging your oral health, missing teeth can also affect the appearance of your smile and impact your confidence.
The best way to correct missing teeth is by visiting your dentist to discuss your options. Many patients choose dental implants for a durable, long-lasting, and natural-looking solution to missing teeth. A dental implant occurs in two phases: implant placement and implant restoration. What’s the difference, and do you need both procedures? Read on to find out.
A dental implant is an artificial tooth root surgically placed in the jawbone to provide a foundation for fixed or removable replacement teeth. A dental implant has three parts:
Dental implants are designed to fuse with your bone; therefore, they last for years if well taken care of. They have several benefits, such as preventing cavities and bone loss, improving speech and biting force, supporting the adjacent teeth, and improving the appearance of your smile.
The first step of dental implant treatment is implant placement. An implant is a small screw that acts as an artificial tooth root for an implant restoration. Dental implants require adequate jawbone density to create a firm foundation for a dental prosthetic. If your jaw is too thin, you may need a bone graft before the surgery to provide a stronger base for the implant.
During dental implant placement, your dentist or oral surgeon will access your jawbone through the gums to secure the implant. After the procedure, your dentist may offer removable dental prosthetics to aid the stability and appearance of your bite during recovery. It generally takes three to six weeks to heal following implant placement. During this time, the jawbone grows around the implant and fuses with it through a process called osseointegration.
After you heal from your implant placement, you can revisit your dentist for an implant restoration. Your dentist or oral surgeon will put you under anesthesia and connect the abutment to the implant. It can take about two weeks for your gums to heal before having your dental prosthetic attached. Your dental care team will customize your replacement teeth according to your number of missing teeth, their size, and the color of other teeth. They then connect your replacement tooth or teeth to the abutment, completing the implant restoration.
Dental implant treatment can turn your life around, allowing you to smile and interact confidently in social situations. It can also be a permanent solution to health problems caused by missing teeth. If you have lost teeth to damage or decay, dental implants can present a variety of benefits and improve your overall quality of life.