Missing teeth from injury or poor oral hygiene can affect a person's smile and self confidence. However, dental implants offer people with missing teeth a solution to improve their smiles.
Dental implants are artificial teeth with roots that are implanted into the jawbone beneath the gum tissue. Dental implants are metal cylinders (they look like screws) that act as roots for replacement teeth and tooth restoration. Once the cylinder is implanted, an abutment is attached and an artificial tooth (dental crown) is fixed to the abutment. The crown looks like a real tooth and completes the smile.
Dental implants can be used for cosmetic dentistry purposes. If a person is missing a tooth or teeth, and would like to improve their smile, dental implants may be a good choice.
Dental implant cost: A single dental implant can cost anything between $1,000 and $5,000.
Dental Implant Patients
A cosmetic dentist may suggest dental implants for healthy adults who are missing teeth due to injury or decay. A person should have strong gums and jawbones to hold the dental implants in place. Dental implants are ideal for people who:
- Have good oral hygiene
- Have fully-grown jawbone
- Have problems wearing dentures
Dental Implant Surgery
Prior to surgery, a person will receive some sort of anesthesia to control pain. Dentists often give a patient instructions about eating and drinking during and after surgery.
During surgery, the gum is cut to expose the jawbone and holes are drilled into the jawbone where the implant will be placed. The dental implant is then deeply implanted and after in place, the gums are stitched closed. The implant cylinder is not visible when the mouth is open, as it sits below the gum surface.
If a person's jawbone is not healthy or strong enough for dental implant surgery, bone grafting may be necessary. During a bone grafting, bone from another area of the body (usually the hip) is taken and implanted into the jaw. Bone graft healing can take six months or more before dental implant surgery can continue.
If a person is having several dental implants, the surgical process can take several months and surgery requires healing time. Generally speaking, the dental cylinder is implanted in the jawbone, after which a person must heal before the abutment is placed, and a person requires more healing time. The artificial tooth is then applied.
The artificial tooth looks just like a real tooth, which can improve the appearance of a person's smile. Dental implants can be more comfortable and convenient than dentures.
After Dental Implant Surgery
After dental implant surgery, a person may have swelling in the jaw, mouth, and face. Sometimes, bruising around the jaw area occurs, and a person can have problems opening his or her mouth. A person will need to eat soft foods for five to seven days. Typically, stitches dissolve on their own, or a person will need to visit a dentist to have stitches removed.
For more information about cosmetic dentists, porcelain veneers, dental insurance, gum disease, TMJ, dry mouth syndrome, gummy smile, tooth decay, bad breath, oral cancer, dental implant surgery or other dental procedures such as dental bridges and dental crowns, visit the Consumer Guide to Dentistry.
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