If you’ve been evaluating various tooth replacement options, no doubt you’ve heard about dental implants. So what exactly are they, and will they be the right fit for you? Below are some key things to know about getting dental implants to help you make an informed decision.
What Are Dental Implants?
When you get a dental implant, an oral surgeon or periodontist will surgically attach a small titanium post to your jawbone in order to secure a crown, bridge or denture. The implant basically serves as the “root” of the missing tooth (or teeth), and over time it will bond with the jawbone, offering outstanding durability as a long-term tooth replacement option.
Advantages of Dental Implants
- Dental implants are a great confidence booster. With traditional options such as bridges or dentures, patients often experience slippage and/or clicking, which are not only inconvenient, but can also be embarrassing. Because dental implants stay firmly fixed in place, you can be confident that everything will stay where it’s supposed to be when you talk, chew and smile.
- Dental implants look great! They have a definite aesthetic advantage over bridges and dentures in terms of looking like real teeth.
- Dental implants help keep the surrounding teeth healthy as well. With bridges, you have to alter the adjacent teeth in order to properly fit the crowns of the new bridge, and this can have a negative effect on those healthy teeth over the long term. A dental implant allows you to replace the missing tooth (or teeth) with no adverse impact on the surrounding teeth.
- Dental implants are very reliable. It’s not uncommon for dentures to be misplaced, but with implants, your teeth will stay put! In addition, dental implants rarely (if ever) require replacing, while bridges typically have to be replaced several times throughout their lifespan.
- You can clean dental implants the same way you clean your natural teeth. You don’t have to worry about taking them out at night to clean or soak them!
The Dental Implant Process
It is important to note that getting dental implants is not a quick “in-and-out” procedure; instead, it occurs in phases in order to ensure that your jawbone and the implant fixture are properly fusing together (a process known as “osseointegration”).
During the first phase of the procedure, your dentist will place the implant in your jaw using a local anesthesia. After this happens, you will typically have to wait anywhere between 2 to 6 months to allow the healing and fusing process to take place. Once this is done, your dental specialist will then place an artificial crown or tooth on top of the implant. The entire process can take anywhere between 3 to 9 months to complete, but your dental professional will be with you every step of the way to ensure the success of the procedure.
Getting dental implants is a big decision, and it definitely requires plenty of discussion and consultation with your dental professional before you decide to take the next step. At West Chester Dental Group, our team of dental specialists will help you navigate this decision by answering questions and providing treatment options that are tailored to your specific health history. Contact us today to see how we can help you maintain a healthy, beautiful smile!