Before dental implants existed, the only way to replace lost teeth was with dentures. Tooth implants are a huge upgrade over dentures, and can effectively mimic the feel of real teeth. They are also meant to be permanent, so you don’t have to take them out every night and put them in a glass of water.Over the years the technology behind dental implants has been greatly improved, and today’s dental implants are able to look and function just like your normal teeth. At Hollywood Family Dentistry, we have many years of experience with placing dental implants for patients from all over the Portland metro area. Here is a short overview that will tell you all you need to know about dental implants.
How dental implants work
Implants provide a long-term solution to tooth loss, and they are virtually unnoticeable once you have them placed. They can be used to replace one tooth, an entire mouthful of missing teeth, or to anchor a denture. When you lose a tooth, the bone in your jaw that supported that tooth will slowly start to diminish. Unlike dentures, titanium dental implants help prevent this bone loss by physically fusing to the bone.
Placing dental implants requires the work of an entire team of dental professionals, from an oral surgeon to a restorative dentist.
First, an oral surgeon or highly experienced general dentist will drill “channels” in the jaw bone. Once these are drilled, the dentist will place the implant snugly inside where it is in close contact with your jaw bone. After the implant is placed, you will have to wait about two to six months for the implant to completely fuse with your bone. Over the time that it takes your dental implants to fuse, a dental laboratory will manufacture a replacement tooth (called a crown), that is customized to perfectly replicate the tooth you lost. Once the implant is ready, the crown will be screwed or cemented into place. When it is all finished, no one will be able to tell that you ever had a missing tooth.
A Lasting Solution
Dental implants are great for replacing missing teeth, but they can also be quite expensive. The convenience and long-term viability of dental implants make them worthy of a high price tag.
There is very little maintenance involved with a dental implant. All you have to do is make sure to brush and floss on a regular basis and practice good oral hygiene. If by some accident your prosthetic tooth is damaged, your dentist can safely and easily remove the tooth and attach a new one. If you have a dental implant, it is also a good idea to periodically check in with your dentist so that they can examine the implant and ensure that it is functioning properly. Dental implants may be expensive, but they can effectively restore your smile and your confidence for a lifetime.