Whether you go to the dentist religiously or only when you are in pain, at some point you are going to need more than just a cavity filled. If your doctor mentioned dental implants to you, do not be scared. They are quite common and are a step up from bridges and dentures.
Dental implants are artificial teeth made of titanium metal and ceramic material. They are made to look like normal teeth and are fused to your jawbone. They not only stay put, they also look like real teeth, and never need to be replaced. In addition, no other teeth are involved in the process and there is no embarrassing or annoying clicking noise to contend with. In the US alone, more than 5.5 million of these procedures are done annually as a cosmetic dentistry procedure.
The dentist will take measurements and he or she may need to build up your jawbone before you can have implantation done. If it is not, then you may need a bone graft and have a bone from elsewhere or an artificial bone placed in your jaw. Moreover, you must be in good general health and have healthy gums in order to be a good candidate for dental implants. In addition, it is recommended that you not smoke as it can cause you to lose the implant.
The dental implant procedure is done in steps in your dentist office while you are under local anesthesia. As the doctor completes each phase, you will most likely experience some swelling and/or pain. You will probably be prescribed pain medication in order to help with any discomfort and you will have to eat a diet of soft, cold food and lukewarm soups for a day or two. You may also be prescribed an antibiotic in order to ward off an infection.
For a period that can last between two and six months, your jaw bone and the implant fixture will go through a process known as osseointegration. This is the term used for the time it takes for them to grow together. Once it is complete, the dentist will implant your artificial tooth. In the meantime, you will receive a temporary dental crown, bridge or denture to help you with chewing and speaking normally.
During the time of osseointegration, your gum tissue will cover the implant. Therefore, your dentist will need to add a healing collar. In addition, he or she will also have to take impressions in order to be able to make your new tooth. At that point, fixtures are then connected to the implants, in order to create a secure attachment for your new teeth.
Once the process is complete, you need to be sure to brush all of your teeth at least twice a day and floss daily in order to keep the gum tissue healthy. You also have to be careful when cleaning around your implants and remember to keep all dentist appointments, especially for professional cleanings.