The Basics of Dental Implants
In most cases where a tooth is lost, a dental implant is the best choice and the standard of care. Even though the initial investment is substantial, in most cases it will save you money and time in the long run when compared to other options. Below we will run through the basics of dental implants to help you gain a better understanding of what may be involved.
What is a dental implant?
A dental implant is a metal post, typically titanium, which substitutes for a tooth’s root. It is placed in the jaw bone and allowed proper time to heal to become sturdy. Following healing (3-6 months depending upon a number of factors) a crown can be fabricated to be attached to the implant to mimic the natural tooth. This can be done to replace a single tooth, support a bridge, or even stabilize a denture.
Who can receive dental implants?
Dental implants are a viable option for patients of all ages who have lost teeth due to tooth decay, gum disease, or trauma. People with dentures are also candidates if they need more support to hold their denture. However, the placement of a dental implant is a surgical procedure and you must be in good general health to allow for proper healing. There must also be adequate jaw bone at the site for the implant, but there are procedures available to improve the quality of bone if needed.
What are some limiting factors that may exclude you from receiving dental implants?
If you have a history of bruxism (clenching and grinding), diabetes, smoking or leukemia there is a higher failure rate of implants. While there is still debate on the subject, a history of taking bisphosphonates over an extended period of time limits your chances receiving dental implants.
How do I care for my dental implant?
The main reason implants fail is poor oral hygiene. While an implant cannot get a cavity because there is no natural tooth structure, an implant can fail if the area is not properly cleaned. Like all other teeth, it is essential to brush and floss the area if you want to protect the implant and implant crown.