If you’re missing a tooth or planning to have one extracted, you’re likely considering your tooth replacement options. Several standard tooth replacement options are available today, including dental implants, crown and bridge appliances, and dentures. Many patients who want a permanent solution that feels and functions like their natural tooth opt for dental implants. Dr. Brianne Fratantonio of Chesterland Family Dental Care in Chesterland, Ohio, helps patients understand how implants work, which patients are ideal candidates, and the process for restoring their smile.
A dental implant is a replacement tooth root. A titanium metal post with threads is placed into the jawbone. The bone heals and grows around the implant and into the threads, providing it with great support. After the bone grows, a replacement tooth is attached to the metal post by an abutment.
Dental implants are commonly used to replace teeth that have been lost due to decay or damage. For example, a tooth with an untreated cavity can become so severely damaged that it can’t be saved. Or a tooth can become badly broken or damaged during an accident or a fall.
Most adults who have a missing tooth are good candidates to receive a dental implant. However, implants do require a certain amount of bone density, width and height to ensure that the post stays strong and secure. Your dentist will be able to tell if you’re an ideal candidate for dental implants by examining your mouth and taking x-rays.
The first step to receiving a dental implant is to visit your dentist. After an examination of your mouth, the dentist will be able to confirm whether a dental implant is the best replacement tooth option for you. If it is, you’ll be scheduled for the implant procedure.
It’s important to note that it can take several months from start to finish because the entire procedure includes healing time. During that time, you will visit your dentist a few times to ensure that your mouth is healing correctly.
During any dental procedure, you will receive local anesthesia to ensure you stay comfortable. Most patients find that they don’t even notice the implant once the post is in and the replacement tooth is attached. The tooth fits securely to the gum line, which keeps any gum irritation to a minimum.
Dental implants offer several advantages over other tooth replacement options, including: