According to the American College of Prosthodontists, an estimated 178 million Americans are missing at least one of their teeth. As a part of this group, your affliction (known as partial edentulism) has negatively affected every aspect of your life. Your missing teeth have lowered your confidence levels, made it difficult to speak and hard to chew properly. You wish there was a permanent solution that would bring back your full, natural smile.
Fortunately, finding a healthy, comfortable and lifelong solution to missing teeth is not impossible. With the help of dental implants, your dentist can help reclaim not only your smile, but your life.
What Exactly Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants can be thought of as artificial tooth roots. They are shaped similarly to screws and placed inside of your jawbone, where they bond with your natural bone. Dental implants act as a sturdy base for artificial teeth (known as crowns) and the two are connected by a screw-like abutment.
Most dental implants are made of titanium, which allows them to be accepted as an organic object by your body. Unlike other tooth replacements, implants do not affect your mouth’s sense of touch and taste and do not require the alteration of your remaining natural teeth.
How Does the Implant Process Work?
The first step in receiving dental implants is developing a personalized treatment plan with your local West Monroe dentist. Then, the implant is placed in the bone socket of your missing tooth, where your jawbone will grow around the titanium post to anchor it. After a healing period of six to twelve weeks, the smaller abutment post is attached. Your dentist then connects a custom crown to the abutment. The process results in a replacement tooth that looks, feels and works exactly like your natural teeth.
Multiple implants can be placed to support a bridge that restores multiple missing teeth without needing support from the adjacent natural teeth.
How Do I Care for My Implants?
Dental implants have a success rate of up to 98% and, with proper care, can last you a lifetime.
Dental implants require the same care as your natural teeth, but certain dental products are preferable. Your daily oral hygiene routine should include using a soft-bristled toothbrush, unwaxed floss and mouthwash. While not necessary, water flossers (with a nonmetal tip) can be used to reduce plaque and inflammation around the base of your implant.
Missing teeth may feel like an inescapable problem, but dental implants can help bring a lifetime of happy smiles and good memories. Ask your dentist if you have any further questions about dental implants or other reconstructive dental procedures.
About the Author
Dr. L. King Scott specializes in reconstructive dentistry and has over 39 years of experience. He has completed thousands of hours of post-graduate education, including extensive implant training, to offer his patients the greatest care possible. Dr. Scott is a Fellow with the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery and the Academy for Sports Dentistry as well as a Master in the Academy of General Dentistry. He has also received the Academy of General Dentistry’s highest honor, the Lifelong Service and Recognition Award. If you have any further questions about dental reconstruction, he can be reached at his website or at 972-675-5300.