Dental implants are becoming increasingly popular as a way to replace teeth and fix smiles but you may not be sure of what they actually are. The dental implant refers to a small metal post, usually made of titanium, that’s surgically inserted into the jawbone to replace a root of a tooth that’s fallen out or been removed. Once this implant has fused with the surrounding bone, it can be used as an anchor to attach a prosthetic crown or other dental work such as fixed bridges or implant dentures.
What Do Dental Implants Do?
The dental implant acts as a replacement root. Titanium is extremely biocompatible so your jawbone will heal around it and the implant will be held securely in place. This is good not only as a stable way to attach a crown, it also helps to stimulate bone growth in the affected area. Replacing teeth is important to keep the surrounding teeth stable, and to prevent gum disease and further tooth loss.
Once the implant is stable, a prosthetic crown, or false tooth, is screwed on to it by using a small connecting piece called an abutment. Your dentist will create a realistic looking tooth that’s color matched to the rest of your teeth, meaning that it will look and function exactly like a real tooth.
How Long Do Dental Implants Last?
While the crown might need replacing after 10-15 years, with good care the implant itself can last a lifetime. Just brush and floss as you normally would to keep your implants in good shape.
Are There Any Downsides to Getting Dental Implants?
Dentists consider dental implants to be the best solution to replacing teeth. While there are unlikely to be any issues with the procedure, there are a few things you may need to take into consideration:
- Titanium is used for its biocompatibility but you may not be a suitable candidate if you are sensitive to metals or have a metal allergy.
- Your jawbone needs to be dense enough to support the implant. Bone grafting may need to take place in advance of implant surgery.
- Due to the time taken for your jawbone to heal, the whole process can take many months from start to finish.
- Some oral and general health conditions may prevent you from being able to get dental implants.
- As with any type of surgical procedure, there is always a slight risk of infection or injury at the surgery site.
Thinking About Getting Dental Implants?
Talk to your dentist about getting dental implants to replace your missing teeth. If you’re in Lakewood, CO or surrounding areas, contact the implant experts at Callahan & Klein Dental and check out our ultimate guide to dental implants for even more information.