Losing a tooth can be devastating. If it’s prominent, it will really alter the appearance of your smile. If it’s towards the back, it can affect the way you chew.
Not only that but there are many oral health problems that can emerge as a result of losing a tooth. The gaps between teeth can be difficult to clean. This means bacteria will make their home in these spaces, increasing the risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
Without a tooth anchored into it, your jaw may also deteriorate affecting your facial structure, Your neighbouring teeth may also slide into the gap. So, what can you do to combat these issues?
Here are the answers to all of your questions about dental implants; the ultimate solution for replacing missing teeth.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are small titanium rods that are placed into your jawbone to replace missing tooth roots. Once in position, an implant will give a replacement tooth the full stability of your natural tooth and will fuse to the jaw in a process called osseointegration.
The dental implant will be capped off by a prosthetic tooth that matches the appearance of your natural teeth.
What Are the Benefits of Dental Implants?
The benefits of having a dental implant are:
- Dental implants are very durable and give supported teeth the stability needed to confidently bite or chew any type of food
- Once in position, dental implants prevent the deterioration of the underlying jawbone
- Implants improve facial structure
- Sturdy, natural-looking replacement teeth can help boost confidence
- Using implants to anchor replacement teeth will reduce the risk of tooth decay and gum disease
Who Can Have Dental Implants?
Dental implants are ideal if you’ve lost a tooth to trauma or decay, or have one that needs extracting.
To place the implant into your jaw, there needs to be sufficient bone density. If there isn’t enough bone, it may be possible to have a bone graft or sinus lift.
We’ll take X-rays and digital images of your teeth and jaw in your initial consultation, and will be able to let you know what the course of treatment will be like for you.
We’ll also take into account your general health and whether you’re a smoker as these factors can affect your recovery.
How Long Do Dental Implants Last?
The great thing about implants is they’re designed to last a lifetime. Made from a biocompatible material, once they’re in place, there’s very little need to worry about them.
The prosthetic tooth that we place on top of the implant should last for many years if properly cared for.
We thoroughly recommend reviewing your oral hygiene routine and making regular visits to see us. We’ll keep an eye on your implant and the tooth or teeth it supports and give you advice on maintaining your oral health.
What Is the Procedure for Placing Dental Implants?
The first stage of the process is to get you in for an initial consultation. Here, we’ll run you through what you can expect from the procedure, and we’ll carry out a full assessment to check your suitability.
When placing the implant, we’ll make a small incision in your gum to access your jawbone. Next, we make a small hole in your jaw to accommodate the titanium post. This will be as deep as a natural tooth root.
Once the implant itself is in position, we’ll add the abutment. This is the element that your crown will be attached to. Finally, we’ll close up the gum and the recovery process can begin.
We’ll let osseointegration—the process of the bone fusing with the implant—take place before placing your crown, however, we’ll take impressions so that this can be made up by the laboratory.
How Long Is the Dental Implant Procedure?
This depends on whether your jaw is ready to take the implant straight away, or whether you need a procedure to prepare. Typically, it takes several months for the bones to fully heal after a sinus lift or graft meaning we won’t be able to get started straight away.
The actual procedure to place a single implant will take between one and two hours. If you’re having more than one implant, the length of the procedure will increase accordingly.
Once the actual procedure has taken place, osseointegration needs to take place. It can take some time for the implant to fuse to your jaw, but it’ll be worth it when it does!
Are Dental Implants Painful?
We’ll carry out the dental implant procedure under anaesthetic. This eliminates any pain, leaving the area we’re working in completely numb for the duration of your time in the chair.
Once the anaesthetic wears off, you may experience some tenderness around the implant site, and it’s important to stick to soft foods while you’re recovering. We’ll be able to advise you on what you can expect from the recovery process.
What Can You Eat After Having Dental Implants?
Immediately after your dental implant procedure, you’ll find it hard to bite down on anything hard. Don’t skip your meals, you’ll need to keep your strength for recovery.
For the first few days, stick to soft foods such as soup, mashed potatoes, and yoghurt. After a week to ten days, you can start eating food that’s easy to chew such as pasta, rice, and eggs. Where possible, avoid chewing on the side of your mouth where the implant has been placed.
After a couple of weeks, you should be able to start eating whatever you want! Take it easy, and introduce things gradually.
What Happens If You Need More Than One Tooth Replacing?
That’s not a problem. A simple implant can hold one tooth; however, using multiple implants it’s possible to replace up to an entire arch of teeth.
When replacing single teeth, we’ll cap this with a custom-made crown that perfectly matches the rest of your mouth. For multiple teeth, we’ll use bridges or dentures.
Dental Implants at Love Teeth
Dental implants are life-changing. They restore lost confidence and improve your general oral health. If you’d like to learn more about how they work or find out whether you’re a suitable candidate, make an appointment with the team at our Cheam, Chessington, or Stonecot today.