If you’re one of the millions of Americans who suffer from tooth loss, chances are you’re tired of feeling embarrassed about your smile and looking for a solution that will bring your confidence back. While some people use dentures and bridges, these are removable solutions that require extensive care to ensure they aren’t ruined.
A dental implant is a permanent solution to tooth loss that implants a metal rod into your jaw bone and affixes a crown to the post. Implants can be used to replace single teeth or entire mouths.
How do dental implants work?
Dental implants are secured into the jaw bone using a metal post over a series of several visits. Once the metal post is set, permanent crowns that look just like your natural teeth are affixed to the crowns. These crowns also function as your natural teeth do, so you don’t have to worry about only eating certain foods or limiting yourself in terms of your nighttime routine.
When you first get dental implants you’ll come into the office for a consultation with Dr. Gonalez. She will take x-rays, examine your mouth, take impressions, and possibly even opt to have a CT scan done so she can get a comprehensive look at your mouth.
Once you’re cleared for the surgery you’ll come in for a second visit. During this visit the doctor removes any bone that is infected and replaces it with a bone graft that helps create a solid foundation for the new implant. She then places the metal rod. It might sound painful, but this is all done under general anesthesia so you never feel anything. We also place a temporary crown so that you don’t feel self conscious while you go through the implant process. While this crown isn’t as strong as your normal teeth, it does allow you to eat some foods without concern.
In the second stage of the implant process you’ll have custom permanent crowns created that are then attached to the rods. These look and function like natural teeth.
What are dental implants like?
Although the implant process is lengthy, most patients say they would do it all over again because of how natural they appear. They also are cared for just like your natural teeth, so you don’t have to remove them to be cared for like full and partial dentures.
How do I care for implants?
Implants are super easy to care for. Simply brush twice a day, floss once a day, and make it a point to get in twice a year for your cleanings. We also stress that patients should enjoy a healthy diet that’s free of processed foods and sugars, which while they won’t damage implants can still cause decay in surrounding bone and tissue.
Am I a candidate for dental implants?
The only way to truly know if you’re a candidate for dental implants is to come in for a consultation. However, the best candidates are those who are in good overall health. This makes healing much easier both from the surgery and from any preparation that needs to be done beforehand (including removal of teeth and treating any infections).