You may have heard of dental implants as a way to replace teeth, but how much do you really know about them? Here, we’ll explain what dental implants are, what their benefits are, how long dental implants last, and how dental implants are placed.
Dental implants are replacement tooth roots made of durable materials to create a strong, permanent foundation for replacement teeth. The implants themselves are made of titanium and when they are implanted they fuse with the jawbone so that they won’t be able to move. Dental implants are best for people who are missing one or more teeth, have healthy oral tissues, can’t or don’t want to wear dentures, and have a strong jaw bone that can support the implant.
One of the biggest benefits of dental implants are that they look natural, making you feel more confident. Replacement teeth that match your natural teeth are created to fit perfectly in your mouth. Dental implants are also a lot more comfortable than other tooth replacement options like dentures which can be uncomfortable and might slip around in your mouth. They are also easier to eat with, won’t alter your speech, and aren’t a hassle because you don’t have the inconvenience of having to remove them in public or use adhesives to try to get them to stay in place.
Another great aspect of dental implants is that they last a very long time. With proper care–similar to how you care for your natural teeth–dental implants can last 25 years or more. Other tooth replacements typically last 10 to 15 years.
The first step in placing dental implants is to drill into your bone so that the implant can be screwed in. Don’t worry! This is done under sedation or local anesthesia so you shouldn’t feel a thing. Then, the bone around the implant heals and fuses with the implant in a process called osseointegration. This process can take about four months. While there are some situations in which the implant and replacement teeth are placed at the same time, you usually have to wait until the implant and bone fuse to place the artificial teeth. When it’s time to place the tooth, your dentist will have made a custom tooth that fits in completely naturally with your original teeth. And then voila! You have a brand new smile!