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Patients looking to replace missing teeth or a solution for removable dentures (both partial and complete) often turn to dental implants, which also provide superior support for these dental appliance (known as implant supported or implant retained dentures).

So what are dental implants? They are artificial teeth and roots, often made from titanium, your dentist or periodontist will place into your upper or lower jaw bone in surgery. A crown or bridge are used to cover the implants to look natural, and to greatly enhance your smile. The implants will last quite a long time, as they are strong and durable, though your dentist may have to tighten or replace them as a result of normal wear.

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You may want to get dental implants to:

  • Replace missing teeth without affecting adjacent teeth
  • Resolve joint pain or bite problems your teeth caused by shifting into spaces where other teeth were missing
  • Restore your confident smile
  • Restore chewing, speech, and digestion
  • Enhance or restore facial tissues
  • Support and secure a bridge or denture, making them more comfortable

What does getting dental implants involve?

The complete process of receiving dental implants takes place during multiple dental appointments over several months. During these appointments, your dentist will take x-rays and impressions of your jaw and teeth. This will help them determine the bone, gum tissue, and spacing they have available for the dental implant.

During the surgical procedure itself, your dentist or periodontist will numb the area and insert the dental implant into the bone. Afterwards, the implant will need up to six months to heal and integrate itself into the jaw bone. You may also require a second surgery, depending on the type of implant. This second surgery is to place a “post” to hold the dental implant in place. Some implants already have the anchor and post attached, which is why they only require one surgery.

Your dentist will fit the crown to the post portion of the anchor after the area has healed (this generally takes a few weeks). Since you may need more than one fitting, this part of the process can take one to two months to complete. The artificial teeth, once attached to the implant, will provide superior stability and enhance the patient’s comfort.

Once your dentist completes the treatment, they will provide you with detailed after-care instructions. To help maintain the quality and life of your new dental implant, be sure to engage in good oral hygiene, healthy eating habits, and regular appointments with your dentist.