What Are Dental Implants and How They Can Help You Smile Again

Improvements in dental care help people who suffer tooth loss. Discover here the truth about dental implants and how they can help you smile again.

Tooth loss is an endemic problem. Roughly 120 million Americans are missing at least one tooth. And the odds of losing one or more teeth increases as we age.

As tooth loss is so common, and because of the value placed on having a full set of teeth, people throughout history have experimented with prosthetic replacement teeth. The earliest recorded dental implants date all the way back to around 2,000 B.C.

But that was four thousand years ago. What about today? How far has the technology come, and what is the truth about dental implants?

Can a set of implants make you smile again?

The Truth About Dental Implants

While the idea of dental implants is ancient, you’ll be relieved to know that the procedures we now use are a lot more modern.

Dental implants as we would now recognize them were pioneered in 1952. The decades since have seen them refined to the point that they are now a routine procedure.

The idea is fairly simple: when a tooth is lost, a screw-shaped implant is placed in the jawbone where the root of the lost tooth would be. As the jaw and gums heal from the procedure, the implant bonds with the natural bone.

Once fully healed, the implant provides a sturdy base for a temporary or permanent replacement tooth, called a crown, to be affixed on top of it.

And that’s essentially it. The artificial tooth looks and functions just as a natural tooth would, and if properly cared for can last for 30 years or longer. 

Who Can Get Dental Implants?

There are a few requirements for receiving dental implants.

First, you need to have a healthy jawbone that is sufficient to receive the implant. We all undergo bone loss from aging, but injuries, gum disease, and certain congenital conditions can result in a jaw that is too thin or too weak to receive an implant. 

If you find yourself in this position, your dentist may recommend that you undergo a bone graft

This process involves taking either organic or synthetic grafting material and inserting it into the jaw where it is needed. As a patient heals from the procedure, new, healthy bone grows around the graft material and bonds it into place.

The result is a stronger, more dense jaw bone that, among other benefits, may then allow the patient to receive dental implants. 

The other primary concern is good overall oral hygiene. To ensure that an implant is successful, a patient will need to have gums that are healthy enough to heal and hold the transplant. So ensure that you take good daily care of your teeth, keep regular dental appointments, and minimize alcohol and tobacco use.

Get Ready to Smile Again

The truth about dental implants is that getting them is a safe, routine procedure with a success rate as high as 95%.

A full smile can improve your appearance, speech, long-term oral health, and self-esteem.

If you’re missing one or more teeth, it may be time to consider dental implants. To learn more about what to expect with your procedure, read up on how to prepare for routine oral surgery.

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