A dental implant looks like a small screw that is placed into the bone where the tooth had been. A very realistic-looking artificial tooth is then attached to the implant. The new tooth is designed just for you, to match your other teeth. And the care it requires is no different than a natural tooth: daily brushing and flossing, along with routine professional teeth cleanings at the dental office.
Getting dental implants requires a minor surgical procedure that is done right in the dental office. The procedure causes very little discomfort, and usually only a local anesthetic is needed to keep you from feeling any discomfort during the implant placement. Once the area of your mouth that will receive the new tooth is numb, one of our dentists who has the necessary training and experience will place the implant into the area where your tooth used to be.
The amazing thing about implants is that the bone that surrounds them underneath your gums actually grows toward and attaches to the implant. This happens gradually, over several weeks or longer. We will not attach the new permanent crown (the part of the new tooth that people can see in your mouth) until this healing is complete and the implant is attached to the bone. On the day the implant is placed, we can give you a temporary to wear so that you can leave the dental office without any gaps in your smile.
If you have any minor post-operative discomfort when the local anesthetic wears off, your dentist will prescribe medication or recommend over-the-counter pain-relief medication for you. However, prescription pain medicine is often not needed.
Implants can be used to:
Replace One Tooth
If you have one tooth missing, you will need just one dental implant. The procedure will be the same as described above. When your new tooth is in place, no one will be able to tell it did not grow there naturally!
Replace Multiple Teeth
If you are missing more than one tooth, you may not need one implant for every missing tooth. For example, if you are missing three teeth in a row, you may only need two implants with a dental crown in between. This is known as a bridge, and it is an excellent way to replace a group of teeth.
If you wear removable dentures, you may find that they slip around and don’t always feel comfortable—especially when you are trying to eat. Implants can help solve this problem. In many cases, the denture you have can be modified to fit over two to four dental implants. The implants will hold your “overdenture” in place while you are wearing it. You will still be able to take the denture out as usual.
No matter which of these solutions are right for you, you will be likely to soon forget you have any dental implants in your mouth. That’s how natural they feel!
If you have any questions about dental implants or missing teeth, please contact us to schedule an appointment.