In our everyday lives, keeping our teeth healthy is very important. But sometimes, we lose a tooth or two. Thanks to advancements in dental care, procedures such as dental implants have become an excellent solution for the problem of tooth loss. Simply put, a dental implant procedure places a new root resembling a screw into your jawbone to hold an artificial tooth. This guide will help you understand what goes into this procedure and what you should expect from it, all in a simple and easy-to-understand language.

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Last updated: March 20, 2024
by and Alex Morrell is a senior correspondent at Business Insider covering Wall Street at large.

Basics of Dental Implants

If you have lost a tooth, a dental implant acts as a new root for holding an artificial tooth, similar to how a screw links two objects.

  • What are they? Think of dental implants as small screws made from strong materials that are safe for your body, such as titanium.
  • What is their purpose? These tooth implants become the foundation for your artificial teeth, making them look and work like your real teeth.
  • How long do they last? Many factors, such as keeping your mouth clean, regular checkups with your dentist, and living a healthy lifestyle, decide the dental implant longevity. If taken care of properly, they can last for very long.
  • Types of dental implants? Mostly, there are two types of implants: endosteal and subperiosteal. Endosteal ones are placed inside the jawbone, while subperiosteal ones are placed under the gum but above the jawbone.

Dental Implant Procedure

When it comes to the dental implant procedure, it takes place in three stages, usually in a dentist’s clinic.

  1. Planning: This is the first step where your dentist will:
    • Check for any existing dental issues like gum disease or tooth decay.
    • Make sure that your jawbone can hold the implants.
    • Make impressions (or molds) of your teeth to create a perfect implant for you.
  2. Insertion: This is the stage where your dentist will:
    • Remove the damaged tooth.
    • Prepare the spot where the implant will go in.
    • Place the dental implant into your jawbone.
  3. Post-Implant: After the implant is placed, it needs time to heal. During this stage, your dentist will:
    • Give some time for the implant to settle into the bone.
    • Attach an extension (abutment) to the implant where the artificial tooth will sit.
    • Fit the artificial tooth on the abutment.

The process takes a few months to complete as the implant needs to heal properly before the artificial tooth can be fitted on it.

After the Procedure

What you do after getting the dental implant is very important. It can decide how long your implant will last.

  • Keeping it Clean
    • Brushing using a toothbrush with soft bristles and toothpaste that doesn’t harm your tooth surface.
    • Use a special kind of thread (implant-specific floss) to clean your teeth and prevent the build-up of harmful substances like plaque and tartar.
    • Using mouthwash to kill bacteria in your mouth.
  • Preventing Damage
    • If you are someone who grinds your teeth while sleeping, you should use a protective cover (mouthguard for teeth grinding) to prevent damage.
    • Avoid eating very hard food that can cause damage to the surface of your tooth (tooth enamel).
  • Lifestyle
    • You should not drink alcohol or smoke excessively, as it can cause harm.
    • Eating a diet that provides all the nutrients required for healthy teeth.

It’s also important to regularly visit your dentist to make sure that your implant is in good shape and that there are no problems like gum disease that can cause loss of bone around the implant (peri-implantitis or bone loss).

About Invisalign

Just like tooth implants, there are other advancements in dental care, like Invisalign. Invisalign are clear, almost invisible, braces that are used to straighten your teeth.

  • What is it? Invisalign is an alternative to the traditional metal braces. They are clear, so people might not even notice you’re wearing them.
  • Where to get it? In some places, like Southampton, Invisalign in Southampton has become a popular dental procedure because of its effectiveness.
  • How does it compare to implants? Invisalign mainly corrects issues related to alignment of your teeth, improving your smile. On the other hand, dental implants replace missing teeth.

Conclusion

To wrap up, if you have lost a tooth, a dental implant can be an excellent solution. Before the procedure, it’s important to understand the process and what it involves. Though it takes considerable time to heal, if you take care of your oral health and visit the dentist regularly, dental implants can give you a long-lasting solution to your tooth loss problem and give you a confident smile.