Need Tooth Replacement? 5 Answers to 5 Dental Implant Questions

Dental implants for missing teeth.

What to Expect With Dental Implant Restorations

If a missing tooth is causing you to miss out on the simple joys in life, like savoring your favorite food or flashing your best smile, dental implants could be your ticket to newfound self-confidence and comfort.

Dental implants, also known as tooth implants, are among the most reliable and effective tooth-loss solutions available today. Although dental implant restorations have rapidly grown in popularity, many people are still unsure of how they work and what to expect.

Today, we’ll demystify dental implants by answering 5 common questions about this state-of-the-art fix for tooth loss.

1. “What are dental implants?

Dental implants are the next best thing to natural teeth. The titanium implant posts are surgically placed in the jaw and, over several months, fuse with the bone. They are permanent replacements for the root of a missing tooth and are designed to match your natural teeth.

The purpose of tooth implants in restorative dentistry is to fill the gap of a missing tooth and maintain jaw bone health. They provide a strong foundation for fixed or removable replacement teeth tailored to match your natural teeth. Dental implants can replace single teeth or an entire arch with implant-supported dentures.

In terms of function and aesthetics, dental implants are crafted to mimic your natural teeth as closely as possible. This means they not only look like your own teeth but also perform like them too. Once healed, you’ll be able to eat, speak, and smile naturally without discomfort or self-consciousness. 

2. Am I a candidate for dental implants?

Your dentist will carefully evaluate several factors when determining candidacy for dental implants. Since dental implant surgery is much more invasive than, say, a dental bridge, it means your overall oral health and general medical history must be carefully considered to ensure the highest chance of long-term success. 

Ideal candidates will have a sufficient density of jawbone to support the implant. This is because the implant needs a stable base to fuse with and integrate successfully. If you have experienced bone loss in your jaw, it doesn’t necessarily exclude you from getting tooth implants, as a bone graft procedure can be performed to restore lost bone.

Candidates should also have good oral health without active tooth decay or gum disease and be in good general health without any uncontrolled medical conditions. Having a strong immune system is paramount for proper healing, so your dentist will carefully review your current health status before recommending implant surgery. 

3. How are dental implants placed?

The first step is a thorough examination of your oral health, which will include X-rays and 3D imaging. This helps to assess the condition of your jawbone and the position of your existing teeth so your dentist can plan for the most precise placement of the implant.

Next, your dentist will perform any necessary tooth extractions or bone grafts, if needed. Sometimes, an extraction can be immediately followed by a bone graft for maximum efficiency. Bone grafts take a few months to heal. Although techniques vary between dentists, a bone graft is usually done prior to implant placement.

Once your jawbone is ready for an implant post, you’re ready for the main step: placement of the titanium implant post. Although it requires oral surgery, dental implant surgery is very safe and can be done under dental sedation for maximum comfort.

After several months of healing, you’ll return to see your dentist for an abutment. This small metal connector attaches to the implant post and will serve to support your future permanent crown. Finally, a custom-made crown that perfectly matches your natural teeth will be designed to cover the abutment and complete the dental implant process.

If you’re receiving implant-supported dentures, the process is slightly different, as multiple posts will be placed at once. Usually, between four and eight or more implants are needed per arch. Your denture will also be custom-made to look as realistic as possible and match the rest of your natural teeth.

4. What are the benefits of dental implants?

Dental implants come with many unique benefits that make them a top-choice solution for tooth loss.

Dental implants enhance chewing and speaking functions significantly.

Unlike dentures that may slide around, implants are securely anchored to your jawbone, offering stability akin to your natural teeth. This allows you to savor your favorite foods without worry and to speak clearly without fear of any denture slippage.

Another selling point of dental implants is their lifelike appearance.

Designed to match the color and shape of your natural teeth, implants blend effortlessly into your smile, making it almost impossible for others to notice that you’ve had dental work done.

Implants play an essential role in preserving your jaw and facial structure.

With tooth loss, the jawbone may begin to deteriorate and reabsorb due to a lack of stimulation. Dental implants provide this necessary stimulation, helping maintain your jawbone’s integrity and preventing the sunken facial appearance that can result from bone loss.

Lastly, dental implants can significantly enhance your self-confidence.

With a complete, healthy-looking smile, you’ll feel ready to take on the world. No more hiding your smile or feeling self-conscious about missing teeth. Dental implants can give you back the confidence to live life to the very fullest. 

5. What is the recovery process like?

In the first couple of days following your procedure, you may experience some discomfort, swelling, and bruising. Ice packs and over-the-counter pain medications can usually manage these symptoms effectively. Your dentist will prescribe antibiotics, mouth rinses to prevent infection, and possibly pain medication if you find over-the-counter options ineffective.

After the initial healing, the implant and your jawbone will begin the process of osseointegration, where the bone grows around the implant. This phase lasts three to four months, depending on your body’s healing rate and the specifics of your procedure. When osseointegration is complete, your dentist will place the permanent crown on the implant. This crown is custom-made to blend seamlessly with your other teeth.

As for dietary adjustments, you’ll want to stick to liquids and very soft foods for the first few weeks after surgery to avoid disturbing the surgical site. As healing progresses, you can gradually reintroduce harder foods into your diet with your dentist’s permission.

Your dentist will provide you with a detailed care plan tailored to your specific needs to ensure a successful healing process. They will be your best resource for any questions or concerns you may have during your recovery from dental implant surgery.

Find out how dental implants can change your life.

Dental implants are a proven solution for tooth loss that can change your life, boost your confidence, and enhance your oral health. For the best dental implant restorations, look no further than Dixon, Boles, and Associates. Our team of general and family dentists near Wilson, NC, is deeply committed to providing you with the highest standard of dental care.

We invite you to experience our warm and personalized approach. Don’t wait to restore your smile and regain the joy of eating, speaking, and laughing without hesitation. Schedule your consultation today and embark on your journey towards a healthier, brighter smile.

Dixon Boles & Associates