Dental implants are changing how people replace broken, cracked or missing teeth.
Revolutionizing tooth replacement, dental implants offer a strong foundation for new teeth that look, feel and act as natural teeth. After a dental implant procedure, you’ll be able to eat anything and feel confident when you smile. Oral surgeon and dental professional Thomas Ocheltree took the time to explain dental implants and the associated benefits.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are small titanium posts surgically placed into the jawbone where teeth are missing, acting as tooth root substitutes. After they are placed, the bone bonds with the titanium and creates a strong foundation for artificial teeth. Then, small posts that protrude through your gums are attached to the implant to provide stable anchors for the replacement teeth.
The Dental Implant Surgical Procedure
If you’re thinking about getting dental implants to replace a tooth, you should know that the process involves two surgical procedures. First, implants are placed in your jawbones. Thomas Ocheltree explains that for three to six months following surgery, the implants beneath the surface of the gums begin gradually bonding with the jawbone. During the phase-two of the surgery, the implants will be uncovered, and the small posts will be attached to anchor the artificial teeth. Then, once the replacement teeth are placed in your mouth, the small posts will no longer be visible. The entire process usually takes six to eight months, with most patients experiencing minimal disruption to their daily life.
Why Dental Implant Surgery Is Done
Other than having a missing tooth, dental implants may also be right for you if you have a jawbone that’s reached full growth, have adequate bone to secure the implants or have healthy tissue. In addition, it may be right for you if you don’t have health conditions that will affect bone healing, are unable to wear dentures, want to improve speech and are willing to commit to the process.
Risks of Dental Implants According to Thomas Ocheltree
While dental implants can improve your oral health and fix your smile, there are some risks you should understand before deciding to go with this option. Thomas Ocheltree states that these problems are rare but can occur. These risks include:
- An infection can develop at the implant site
- Injury to surrounding teeth or blood vessel
- Nerve damage in your natural teeth, gums or chin can occur
- A sinus problem if the implants protrude into one of your sinus cavities
Again, while these issues are rare, it’s important to understand them before deciding on dental implants.
Why Select Dental Implants Over Traditional Procedures?
Dental implants last longer than traditional restorations because they become part of your jawbone and provide a permanent solution. Also, they help you prevent bone loss and is safe for your adjacent teeth. While some traditional procedures can be difficult to care for, caring for dental implants is no different than caring for your natural teeth. You brush and floss them daily and don’t need to apply special cream or adhesives.