Dental implants can be necessary for a number of reasons—perhaps you’re missing teeth because you had an injury or suffered an illness that weakened your enamel or gums. Maybe you’re the victim of bad genetics or have incurred disease or decay in your mouth.
No matter the reason, dental implants can replace gaps, making it easier to eat while giving you back your beautiful smile. Naturally, you probably have a few questions about dental implants. Here’s a quick guide:
1. What exactly is a dental implant?
A dental implant is a titanium alloy structure that replaces the root of a tooth. The metal is placed inside the jaw, so it’s firmly anchored in, allowing you to chew, smile, and speak as though all of your teeth are natural.
In short, dental implants are man-made teeth roots. Unlike dentures, they won’t come loose, and unlike bridges, they are not connected to other teeth. You may have one dental implant or many, depending on the severity of your particular situation.
2. Can my body reject dental implants?
Rejections rarely occur; they typically only happen if a person has an uncommon allergy to titanium alloy or if the patient doesn’t take care of his or her teeth after the surgery.
3. Do dental implants require special care?
Normally, regular flossing, brushing, and dental checkups are all you’ll need. Your dentist will advise you if he or she has any special concerns.
You must have healthy bones and gum tissue to support a dental implant. If your bones are weak, your dentist may need to do a bone graft.
4. Is dental implant surgery painful?
The idea of drilling and screwing things into your mouth probably sounds scary; that’s completely natural. In actuality, dental implant surgery is similar to having a tooth removed. If your gums are healthy, you won’t likely feel any pain during surgery. Additionally, the bone where the implant is placed doesn’t have a lot of pain-sensitive nerves.
Many dental implant patients actually manage pain with over-the-counter medicines such as Tylenol. Depending on the severity of your situation, your dentist may prescribe pain medications or use anesthesia.
5. How long does dental implant surgery last?
Dental implant surgery is a process that occurs over a few months. You’ll begin with regular visits so your dentist can evaluate the health of your bones and gums, as well as properly assess your implant needs.
A single implant can go as quickly as 30 minutes. Complex surgeries can take several hours. Each situation is different; your dentist should be able to give you an estimate before you schedule your surgery.
Healing time is about three to six months, which allows the jawbone to grow around the implant. Your dentist will finish the process once your body has healed from the surgery.