Dental Implants: Everything You Need to Know

The popularity of implants is skyrocketing with 500,000 Americans getting dental implants every year! To date, there are about 3 million people in the United States that have them. For those who have not had them or are not familiar with this incredible technological advancement, many questions may arise. Learn more here about this increasingly popular procedure and why it is being used.

What are dental implants?

Experts say that dental implants are the next best thing to natural healthy teeth. Simply because dental implants are basically artificial tooth roots. Their shape resembles a screw and they are the base for any artificial teeth, or crowns, that one might have. They are typically made of titanium and fuse with the bone in your jaw.

How do dental implants work?

Dental implants are an outpatient procedure that is typically performed in stages. First, the tooth needing to be replaced is removed. Next, the jaw needs to be prepared for the implant, which in some cases requires bone grafting. Then the implant is placed in the jaw beneath the gums. Now you will allow time for your implant and jawbone to grow together in a process called osseointegration. This will create a strong, long-lasting foundation for your replacement teeth. This healing process can take up to a few months. In the next step a connector, or an abutment, is placed on top and connects the implant to the custom-made crown that we will be creating for you. It keeps everything in place, mimicking how a real tooth works.

Are dental implants safe?

Yes, dental implants are a safe option for replacing a damaged tooth. In fact, they are safer than other traditional methods such as dentures and bridgework because the procedure does not create bone or adjacent tooth damage. Implants actually preserve adjacent teeth and stimulate bone growth! The materials used in dental implants (i.e. titanium) are also safe and made to last. Individuals who have certain medical conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure should consult their care physician prior to having the procedure. Typically there are not any issues, but they will need to take the proper precautions. Children are not recommended to have the procedure as the jaw needs to be full grown for the implants to be successful. The typical age for a fully developed jawbone is 16 for girls and 18 for boys.

What should I expect when getting dental implants?

X-rays and molds of your teeth and mouth will be made so that your implants will give the best fit and most natural look. Each case is different, and as mentioned before, it is typically done in stages. Those stages depend on several factors including your specific needs. During the actual procedure, you will have the option of what type of anesthesia you will have. To ensure the best results and your safety, be sure to tell us about any health issues you have and any medications you take. This includes supplements and over-the-counter drugs. After the procedure, it is common to have swelling, bruising, pain and minor bleeding at the site. We will give you a plan for treatment post-op for you to follow.

Why are dental implants necessary?

If a tooth is damaged and needs to be removed, dental implants are an alternative to dentures or bridgework. Not removing a damaged tooth leads to several consequences including infection, discomfort, and compromising adjacent teeth and overall health. Dental implants give patients an option that is as close to a natural tooth as possible.

What are the benefits of dental implants?

The biggest benefit of dental implants is how realistic they are! They are the closest one can get to a natural tooth. Implants also have other benefits that make them a popular alternative to dentures and bridges. They are more sturdy than other methods because the titanium fuses with the bone in your jaw, creating a better fit. They will not move, create noise nor cause potential bone or tooth damage in the way that dentures or bridgework can. They don’t require removal like dentures and the materials do not decay like that which is used in bridgework.

How do I care for dental implants?

Dental implants are very similar to natural teeth in the way they look and function and the care of dental implants is also very similar to how natural teeth are taken care of. Brushing and flossing are necessary for the health and sustainability of dental implants the same as they are for natural teeth. You should continue to have routine cleaning and check-ups with our hygienists and dentists to ensure that your oral health is in check.

If you think you may need dental implants, contact the office of Daniel J. Derksen, DDS, PLLC to assess your situation and schedule an appointment.

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