Fill the Gaps for Good
Teeth are a pretty hardy body part. They chew food every day, open the occasional lid (do NOT do that!), and sometimes take a hard hit by a ball, fist, or tree branch. For a variety of reasons, sometimes we part ways with our teeth, and while those tooth gaps are cute in youngsters, they aren't quite as endearing in adults. Retainers and dentures can fill the space, but there is a more permanent option: dental Implants. They can be a wonderful way to fix your smile, and we are here to help you learn about them.
Dental implants are meant to last. They become a permanent part of your smile, and you don't have to keep track of them like a retainer. That permanence is also a comfort because they won't slip and slide when you smile or eat. They also won't affect your speech like retainers and dentures can. Another nice benefit of implants is that they help your jaw. Leaving a gap in your mouth can cause bone loss and affect your other teeth. Implants promote bone growth as the bones heal around the implant. Sounds pretty good, right?
What are Implants?
So, they sound good, but what are implants and how do they work? Dental implants are screwed into your jaw bone (thank goodness for anesthesia, right?!?). The screw works as a false root. Your jawbone heals and grows around the new "root." The screw is generally made of titanium or zirconium, with the top of the implant being a lovely white porcelain. If you are looking to get implants, take time to find the best dentist you can. Look for reviews on how well they did at matching existing tooth color and shape. You'll want a good fit--both with the dentist and your implants.
How are Implants Put In?
There are three main steps in the process of getting a dental implant:
- Placing the root: The dentist will cut a hole in the gum where the tooth will be placed. This is a crucial step and another big reason to do your research and find the best dentist you can. The placement of the root is incredibly important. Once the implant is in, you'll want it to be as natural looking as possible which can be achieved with a bit of space on each side, allowing the gums to grow back up around the implant. The titanium drill is then inserted into the jaw bone. Sedation would be a good idea for this part! This might cause some soreness for a while, but over-the-counter pain medication will usually be enough to keep it under control. Now that the root is in place, it is on to step two.
- Osseointegration: Getting implants isn't a quick process, and that is due to this important second phase. This fancy word means that your bones are growing around the new false root. It takes time (four to six months), but it ensures that this new tooth will last for a very long time, holding as fast to your jaw as well as, if not better than, all the other teeth that grew out of the jawbone. Your dentist will keep an eye on the process and let you know when it is time to move on to the final step.
- Tooth Installation: This is the easy part! The dentist will place the prosthetic tooth on the secure root, and that's it! You'll have a tooth in place that will be strong, permanent, and beautiful. Congratulations!
Once you have the dental implants in place, taking care of them isn't all that complicated. Those bionic biters will function like your real teeth, so take care of them the same way. See the dentist twice a year, brush twice a day, and drink plenty of water. Some foods and drinks have the potential to stain your teeth, so take care to drink plenty of water when you have tea, coffee, wine, or dark juices. Hopefully, flossing is a part of your daily dental routine already. If not, now is a wonderful time to start! With implants, you'll want to use unwaxed floss or a floss that is specific for implants.
What about Whitening?
If you are considering dental implants, you might want to consider getting whitening teeth treatments first. You'll want to get your teeth to the desired shade before getting the implants. Dental implants are permanent in their color. They are non-porous, so the whitening agents won't work on them in the same way they will work on your natural teeth. Getting your teeth whitened after the implants are put in will make the implanted tooth stick out quite a bit. If you are getting an implant in the back of your mouth, this might not matter as much. If you are thinking about dental implants and want to brighten your teeth before you do so, let us help you! Our system will get your natural teeth to the shade you want, and then you'll be ready for a new forever tooth (or teeth) to finish off your irresistible smile.