Dental Implants Explained

dental implant

Dental Implants Explained

A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that supports a replacement tooth. Made of titanium, the implant is surgically placed in the jaw bone to hold a new tooth or denture. When properly cared for, implants look and feel like natural teeth. They also help preserve the jaw bone, preventing the bone resorption that occurs when teeth are missing.

Dental implants are designed to last a lifetime. However, they require good oral hygiene to prevent infections and other complications. You should brush and floss at least twice a day, and visit your dentist at least twice a year for routine cleanings and X-rays. You should avoid tobacco and other substances that can cause gum disease, which may delay healing after surgery.

Your dental professional will perform a comprehensive exam to determine whether implants are right for you. Then they will design a treatment plan that fits your needs. They will explain how long the entire process will take, how many appointments you will need and any underlying issues that must be addressed first. For example, if you don’t have enough bone mass to support an implant, your dentist might recommend you undergo a bone graft before scheduling the surgery.

Before the procedure, your dental professional will give you a local anesthetic to numb the area of your mouth where the implant will be placed. They might also offer sedation dentistry to make you as comfortable as possible during the surgery.

After the surgery, your dentist will place a piece called an abutment on the implant head to connect it to the new tooth. The abutment is shaped like a hexagon and sits atop the implant head, making it visible when you open your mouth. The abutment can be shaped to blend in with your gumline or to jut out past it, depending on your preferences.

In most cases, the abutment will be attached directly to the implant metal post, meaning you don’t need a separate surgery to expose the implant head. But in some cases, the abutment will be positioned below the gum line and covered by soft tissue. This is usually the case when replacing a lower molar, where the inferior alveolar nerve and artery run through the mandibular canal.

You should call your dental professional right away if you experience any pain or notice signs of infection after the surgery. The sooner you address these issues, the less likely they are to worsen and the easier it will be for your implant to heal correctly.

During your recovery, your dental professional will remove any sutures from the site and check that it’s healing well. They’ll also let you know if they need to take any further steps, such as placing a temporary restoration or performing minor surgery to expose the implant head if it isn’t completely healed yet. They’ll also advise you on proper eating and drinking habits to ensure your implants stay healthy for a lifetime.