Dental implants are essentially the most effective replacement option for lost teeth. With proper care, implants can last for decades, restoring your smile and dental function. The procedure for installing implants involves placing a titanium rod into your jaw to support a crown, making for a sturdy, natural-looking tooth. If you're considering getting a dental implant to replace your lost teeth, here are some things you should know.
Bone structure is important
Before your dentist can recommend a dental implant, he will first examine your jawbone to ensure it can support the appliance. Tooth loss leads to the depletion of the underlying bone, complicating efforts to anchor a titanium rod into the jaw.
If you have suffered from severe bone loss, your dentist may recommend bone grafting, where synthetic bone material is installed into the jaw to build up the depleted bone mass. The new bone usually requires a few months to fully integrate with your jaw and provide a sturdy base for the insertion of the implant.
Once the implant is installed, it stimulates bone growth and prevents other complications such as crooked teeth. The titanium rod will essentially remain in the jaw bone for life, but the crown affixed to it may need to be changed after a decade or so.
Oral health matters
After the installation of a dental implant, it is important that you maintain proper dental hygiene so as to prevent complications. Food debris can easily infiltrate the surgical site, causing infections in the soft tissue and underlying bone. This can then cause pain and eventual implant failure. Be sure to brush/floss frequently and schedule regular dental cleanings with your dentist so as to keep plaque away from the newly-installed implant
To allow the implant to be fully integrated into your jaw, be sure to allow for proper healing of the surgical site by avoiding hard/hot foods. Drinking alcohol and smoking could also aggravate the surgical site, delaying healing and possibly causing an infection around the implant. You should also brush with gentle, circular motions so as not to injure the healing oral tissue.
The procedure is safe
Although it may seem complex, the insertion of a dental implant is safe, as dentists use modern technology to ensure the process goes smoothly. Typically, your dentist or oral surgeon will use CT scans and 3D imaging to map out your jaw and determine precisely where the implant needs to be inserted.
For more information, talk to a dentist who specializes in cosmetic dentistry.