Even though advances in dental healthcare have resulted in more people keeping their original set of pearly whites, tooth loss is still a significant problem.
In fact, the average number of remaining teeth for an American between 50 and 64 years old is only 22.3, down from an initial 32. Even when you factor in the removal of wisdom teeth, that’s still an average of almost six gaps in your smile.
If you’re one of the many people suffering from tooth loss, dentures aren’t your only option. A dental implant is a fantastic way to replace permanent teeth and fill the gaps without removable dentures.
Curious about whether you qualify for dental implants? Read on to find out what they are, how they work, and whether you’re a good candidate.
What Is a Dental Implant?
Dental implants are a way to permanently replace missing teeth. The entire implant consists of three main parts.
First is a metal “tooth root”. This is the piece that’s implanted beneath your gums and attached to your jawbone. It keeps the implant in place and helps it function like a regular tooth.
Next are the dental crown and abutment. The abutment is another metal piece that’s used to attach the implant beneath your gums to the crown outside of them. The crown snaps onto the abutment, replacing your missing tooth.
How Do Dental Implants Work?
Getting a tooth implant is a multi-step procedure. It starts with your dentist taking x-rays, making a mold of your teeth, and extracting the existing tooth if necessary. If your jawbone isn’t strong enough to support the implant, you may need a bone graft.
Once you’ve healed from the prep work, your oral surgeon will implant the metal tooth root into your jawbone. Then, you’ll wait for a few months for the new bone to grow around the implant and support it.
Finally, the dentist will attach the implant to the abutment and crown, filling that empty gap between your teeth.
Once the procedure is done, you can expect your implants to last for 10-20 years with proper care. Check out this article for a comprehensive overview of the dental implant procedure step by step.
Who Benefits From Teeth Implants?
There are a few things that could disqualify you from being a good candidate for dental implants. Your dentist may decide to take another approach to tooth replacement if you’re taking certain osteoporosis medications or undergoing radiation therapy in your head and neck. And because the implant needs your jawbone for support, it might not be a good choice if you have significant bone loss or gum disease.
But for many people who are only missing a few teeth due to age, decay, or dental abnormalities, a dental implant is a great way to permanently repair your smile.
Ready to Fix Up Your Smile?
If you think a dental implant might be the best way to replace your missing teeth, contact your dentist for a consultation. If they can’t perform the procedure in-house, they will refer you to an oral surgery clinic that can.
For more helpful health and wellness tips, make sure to check out the rest of our site!