Thanks to dental implants, you can replace your missing, damaged teeth with a restoration that looks and acts just like the real thing. At West Brazos Dental Center in West Columbia, Texas, the team of experienced family dentists places implants to help you fill the gap in your smile.
Dental Implants Q & A
What is a dental implant?
A dental implant is, essentially, a replacement root. It’s a metal post your dentist places in your jawbone, which then supports an artificial tooth called a crown.
Implants are a permanent replacement for missing teeth. Unlike dentures or bridges, artificial teeth supported by implants look and act just like natural teeth. There’s no complete substitute for a healthy natural tooth, but implants are the closest available option.
Who is a good candidate for dental implants?
You’re a good candidate for dental implants if you have missing teeth and are generally in good oral and overall health. Implants are most effective if you have healthy gums. You may still be a good candidate if you’ve had gum disease in the past, as long as it’s now cleared up.
Implants fuse with your jaw, so you need healthy, strong jawbone to securely support them. If you’ve lost bone in your jaw, your dentist may recommend a procedure to rebuild the bone.
If you’re considering implants, be sure to tell your dentist about any medical conditions. As a general rule, if you can safely undergo a minor dental procedure like a tooth extraction, you’re healthy enough to handle the procedure. However, certain conditions, like uncontrolled diabetes and immune system problems, may interfere with healing and cause the implant to fail.
What is the process for receiving dental implants?
The entire process of placing an implant takes a few months. That may sound like a while, but remember that at the end of the process, you have a replacement tooth that can last the rest of your life with proper care.
At your first appointment, your dentist places the implant in the socket of your missing tooth. You then have to wait for the implant to fuse with your jawbone as it heals. This can take 3-6 months, which is most of the time you have to dedicate to the process.
Once the implant is secure, your dentist installs an abutment, a post on which your new artificial tooth sits. It takes about 1-2 weeks for your gums to heal after placing the abutment.
After your gums heal, you come into West Brazos Dental Center to make impressions of your teeth. A dental lab uses these impressions to create your new artificial tooth. Once that’s done, your dentist either screws or adheres the tooth to the abutment.
How do I care for dental implants?
It’s important to treat your dental implants like natural teeth. Though they can’t decay like natural teeth, they can still develop plaque, so be sure to brush and floss regularly. Be sure to keep your gums clean and healthy, especially around your implants.
To learn more about dental implants, schedule an appointment at West Brazos Dental Center.