Missing teeth in adults can happen for a number of reasons – accidents where one gets teeth knocked out and are unable to be reseated, untreated cavities that result in a tooth “dying” and falling out or breaking off, as well as some cases of gum disease that have affected the bone, allowing teeth to become loose and fall out.
These fallen teeth can cause any number of other issues, from insecurity and embarrassment to speech issues or shifting of other teeth – and in the case of untreated cavities or gum disease, further complications may occur. The solution? Dental implants. Today we will answer some common questions about dental implants.
What is a dental implant?
A dental implant replaces an entire tooth with a three-part system. An artificial root, usually made of titanium, an abutment that screws into the artificial root, and a crown that attaches to that abutment.
What is the process for getting a dental implant?
After evaluation and consultation with the dentist to determine if an implant is right for your situation, the first step is the placement of the artificial root. This artificial root will need some time to heal. Once the root is healed well, the next phase will begin. The dentist will screw the abutment into place. The abutment is like a tooth base and will need one more piece to become a functional, tooth-like piece – a crown.
What if I have “bad” gums or bone around my missing tooth?
The underlying bone structure needs to be able to handle holding the implant in place. If the bone isn’t strong enough, more extensive surgery may be needed to improve the bone structure with a graft or other augmentation. The surrounding gums and other teeth need to be healthy as well before placing an implant.
Is a dental implant painful?
The procedure for placing a dental implant is done under a local anesthetic, so the process itself is not painful. You may experience some discomfort once this has worn off, but as you heal, you’ll feel as if the implant is one of your own teeth, allowing you to eat your favorite foods without pain or fear of something coming out of place as you may experience with dentures.
How do I know if a dental implant is right for me?
If you are interested in the possibility of a dental implant to replace a missing tooth, make an appointment with Dr. Jackson to discuss your options.