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Part 1: How Do Dental Implants Work to Restore Smiles?
There is nothing quite as stressful as a missing tooth—or several missing teeth.
Missing a tooth can significantly affect your bite, your speech, and of course, the aesthetics of your smile.
While a gap-toothed grin can be cute when you are young, most adults with missing or broken teeth struggle with how their teeth look and function.
Measures like dentures or dental bridges can correct the gaps, but they only go so far in repairing the damage, and, therefore, are more likely a temporary remedy.
Dental implants offer patients a truly permanent form of restoration by filling the gaps with teeth that look and act like the real thing.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are artificial tooth roots that are made of durable materials like titanium or zirconium.
These screw-like posts fuse with the bone, creating a solid support system for artificial crowns or bridges to replace the visible gaps above.
Dental implants operate and look just like regular teeth, ensuring functionality and appearance.
When Should I Get Dental Implants?
Dental implants can help patients who have:
- Missing, cracked, or broken teeth that cannot be repaired
- Impaired speech from missing or broken teeth
- A misaligned bite
- Concerns with using dentures or bridges
Patients who do not have issues with their gums are good candidates for dental implants, as gums and other oral tissues have to be healthy enough to tolerate the procedure.
Ideal candidates should be generally healthy and without any conditions that may affect how the jawbone heals.
In some cases, a bone graft on the jawbone may be necessary before the implants are placed to ensure there is enough bone to support the implants.
How Do I Prepare for Dental Implants?
Because the procedure involves the bone, dental implants can be a long-term process.
It can take between three and six months for the metal implant to fuse to the jawbone, and a few weeks longer to craft and place the crown.
There will be long waiting times where patients simply have to wait for the bone to finish healing. Patients must be willing to commit to this long-term time frame to ensure the best results.
However, this lengthy process means greater durability as opposed to other options, such as dentures. And with proper care, dental implants can last a lifetime.