Dental implants are artificial tooth roots that are placed in the jawbone to support replacement teeth or dental bridges. They are designed to function and look like natural teeth, providing a long-term solution for individuals who have lost one or more teeth due to various reasons, such as tooth decay, gum disease, or trauma.
In this piece, we will explore how dental implants work as well as some common misconceptions about them.
Dental implants work by mimicking the structure and function of natural teeth. The process of getting a dental implant typically involves several steps and may require multiple visits to the dentist or dental specialist. Here is a general overview of how dental implants work:
- Initial Consultation: During your this initial consultation, the dentist will evaluate your oral health, examine your jawbone structure, and discuss your treatment options. Dental imaging, such as X-rays or CT scans, may be taken to assess bone density and determine the ideal placement of the implant.
- Implant Placement: If you are deemed a suitable candidate for dental implants, the next step is the surgical placement of the implant post. This is usually done under local anesthesia to ensure your comfort during the procedure. The dentist or oral surgeon will make an incision in the gum tissue, expose the underlying jawbone, and carefully drill a small hole for the implant post. The post is then inserted into the jawbone and the gum tissue is sutured back in place.
- Osseointegration: After the implant post is placed, a process called osseointegration takes place. This is when the jawbone fuses with the titanium surface of the implant post. It usually takes several months for this fusion to occur.
- Abutment Placement: Once osseointegration is complete, a second minor surgery is performed to attach an abutment to the implant post. The dentist will reopen the gum tissue to expose the implant, place the abutment, and close the gum tissue around it.
- Restoration: After the gum tissue has healed, your dentist will take impressions of your mouth to create a custom-made replacement tooth or teeth. This can be a crown, bridge, or denture, depending on your specific needs. The replacement tooth is then securely attached to the abutment, providing a natural-looking and functional restoration.
- Follow-up Visits: Regular follow-up visits will be scheduled to monitor the healing process and ensure the implant is functioning properly.
Myths About Dental Implants
There are several common myths and misconceptions surrounding dental implants. Let’s address some of them:
- Dental implants are painful: During the implant placement surgery, local anesthesia is used to numb the area, ensuring you do not feel any pain. Additionally, many patients report minimal discomfort during the recovery period, which can be managed with over-the-counter pain medications. The advancements in dental implant techniques have made the procedure more comfortable for patients.
- Dental implants have a high failure rate: Dental implants have a high success rate, with success rates typically exceeding 95%. However, certain factors such as inadequate oral hygiene, smoking, or certain medical conditions may increase the risk of implant failure.
- 10-Year Lifespan – When taken care of properly alongside the rest of your teeth, dental implants can last several decades.
- Implants Feel Unnatural – Once your implants are secure and the area surrounding them is healed, you won’t notice much of a difference in aesthetic or functionality of it. If anything, you’ll appreciate your smile even more because you won’t be facing pain or unevenness that prevents you from smiling.
Consultation For Dental Implants
If you’re ready to pursue dental implants, please schedule a consultation with our team at Brian Homann DDS. Contact us today.