Every year in the United States, about a half million people get dental implants to replace missing teeth. Dental implants are rapidly becoming a popular alternative to traditional dentures, mainly because implants are designed to look, feel, and function more like your own natural teeth.
Implants are comprised of three “parts”: a metal post (the actual implanted part), an artificial tooth (or crown), and a connecting piece called an abutment. The post is implanted directly into your jaw bone, where it serves as a strong anchor for the replacement tooth.
At Dr. Taylor’s Family Dental Center, Marvin Taylor, DDS, uses the most advanced implant techniques and technology to help patients look and feel their best after tooth loss. If dental implants are in your future, here’s what you can expect.
Dental implant basics
About 120 million Americans are missing at least one tooth — that’s roughly half the adult population. Losing a tooth can take a big toll on your confidence, but that’s not the only effect a missing tooth can have.
First of all, even a single lost tooth can affect the way you speak, chew, and eat. Altered bite mechanics can result in jaw pain and headaches. Plus, once even one tooth is lost, it can trigger a domino effect, resulting in additional tooth loss in the future.
For years, dentures and bridges were the only options for replacing missing teeth. While both can be effective, they do come with some drawbacks, including a care routine that’s different from the rest of your teeth.
On the other hand, dental implants offer several key advantages:
- They’re more comfortable
- They look and feel natural
- They’re very durable
- They stimulate bone replacement to keep other teeth strong
- They don’t require special care
- They won’t slip or cause sore spots
It’s these advantages — along with advances in technology and decreases in price — that have made implants an increasingly popular choice over the past couple of decades.
The dental implant process
Dental implants typically take two or three office visits. At your first visit, Dr. Taylor prepares the tooth socket. That may involve removing remaining tooth material or implanting a tiny bone graft if your jaw bone is thin in that area. You’ll receive local anesthesia first so you stay completely comfortable.
Next, Dr. Taylor implants the titanium post that’s used to support the artificial tooth (or crown). Once the post is implanted, your jaw bone will grow around it, keeping it secure — a process that takes several weeks. In the meantime, a temporary crown will keep the site stable and protected.
At the second visit, Dr. Taylor removes the temporary crown and attaches the permanent crown using a component called an abutment. This component is designed to securely join the post and crown for a comfortable fit.
Afterward, you can care for your implants just like you care for your natural teeth — with regular brushing and flossing and twice-yearly checkups to make sure your gums stay healthy.
Learn more about dental implants
Don’t let a missing tooth take a toll on your self-confidence and oral health. Dental implants provide a long-lasting, comfortable solution to tooth loss, helping you feel and look your best. To learn more about implants at our Waterford, Michigan, practice, call 248-681-8100 or book an appointment online today.