Before you undergo any dental or medical procedure, you probably have a lot of questions: Why do I need this? How long is the recovery time? Do I have other options? These questions are not only reasonable but critical to your role as an informed patient.
Getting dental implants is a relatively straightforward procedure but still one that you may have a lot of questions about. Read on to get the answers about dental implants and to decide whether they’re a good choice for your unique needs.
What Are Dental Implants?
A dental implant is simply a prosthetic tooth root. It is placed to hold or anchor replacement teeth. The implant itself is anchored into the jaw bone and is usually made of titanium. This is due to titanium’s strength as well as its tendency to be non-irritating. The titanium fuses directly to the bone so that the prosthetic teeth stay fixed and secured. Neighboring teeth do not support the implant.
Why Do People Get Dental Implants?
People get dental implants to replace their lost natural teeth. If you lose a tooth due to disease or an accident, a dental implant is a great replacement option. They look and feel completely natural, and you can eat the same foods that you did with your original teeth. Full sets are also available to replace dentures.
Who Can Get Dental Implants?
In general, adults with a missing tooth or teeth that are generally healthy are candidates for dental implants. Some diseases, like oral cancer or uncontrolled diabetes, may prevent you from receiving dental implants. Also, dental implants are generally not recommended for heavy smokers. Otherwise, anyone who wants natural-looking and natural-feeling teeth should consider the procedure.
What is the Recovery Like?
Your periodontist or dental surgeon will supply you with specific instructions, but generally, you’ll be back to a normal diet within two to three days following the surgery, with the exception of very hot or cold foods and drinks. You may notice some swelling for a few days, but this should resolve rapidly. Most patients fully recover within a week or two.
How Do You Care for Dental Implants?
Once you are fully recovered, you’ll treat your new implants just like normal teeth. You can eat the same diet that you did before the procedure. Keep in mind, however, that just like natural teeth, you should brush and floss your new prosthetics. Also, as with your natural teeth, avoid mistreating your implant teeth. Don’t crunch ice or use your teeth as tools to open bottles, etc.
How Long Will the Implants Last?
With proper oral care—brushing, flossing, and regular dental visits—dental implants can last a lifetime. It’s important to note that implants will not prevent periodontal disease or bone loss, so good oral hygiene is still vital. If an implant crown or prosthetic tooth breaks or is chipped, it can usually be replaced without removing the implant itself.
Remember, your oral surgeon or periodontist in Denver is still your best source of information about your dental implant options. Don’t hesitate to ask them any questions you may have!