When you meet someone new, their smile is one of the first things you notice. Other than the eyes, the smile may have the greatest impact on your first impression in business settings, while making new friends, or when on a date — so it’s no surprise that a healthy and attractive smile is considered a highly desirable physical asset. Pearly whites are more than aesthetically pleasing — they also indicate better gum health, which represents your overall health.
If there is a gap in your smile due to a missing or chipped tooth, your overall self-confidence can take a hit. However, replacement tooth options are more advanced than ever, and a dental implant is the first step to making your smile look and feel good as new. A dental implant might be described as the core element in the tooth replacement process. New teeth can feel as healthy and functional as the ones you were born with!
Purpose of a dental implant
The root of a tooth that you’ve lost can be reconstructed, possibly stronger than the original. The implant or “root” will be made of titanium and materials that closely resemble bone. The implant will meld with your jawbone to provide sturdy support for the new tooth, or other dental structures such as a bridge.
Is an implant right for you?
A well-placed implant starts with healthy gums. The bone height in your jawbone is one of the main considerations. With the proper bone height and healthy gums, the deck is stacked in your favor for a highly successful implant procedure or multiple procedures that are spread over time. If you do not have ideal bone height, there are well-defined steps to overcome this problem. There are three things that could make the process more difficult that you need to be aware of: smoking, leukemia, and diabetes. Any of these can delay or impede the healing process.
Positioning the implant
The placement is done at your dentist’s office using local anesthesia. There are two things that will mitigate discomfort after the procedure: pain medication and temporarily eating a diet of soft foods with a higher percentage of nutrition from liquids.
There will be a gap of time before the actual tooth or crown is placed on the implant. This time period is usually two to six months. This allows the bone to grow strong around the implant. Then, you will be ready for your new tooth or crown.
A new tooth!
While the bone in your jaw and the implant are fusing together, gum tissue will cover the implant. This is quite normal. When you are ready for your new tooth, the oral surgeon will re-expose the implant and attach something called a healing collar before the new tooth is constructed and attached.
Dental care for your new tooth
With this procedure, you will want to step up your dental hygiene and help ensure that your new tooth or crown remains healthy and strong. Make sure you schedule regular cleanings, checkups and that you floss regularly. Your dentist can recommend supplemental oral rinses (other than your usual mouthwash) that will help protect your implants and your gums against unhealthy bacteria buildup.
It may seem like there are a daunting number of steps to a successful dental implant procedure, but an experienced dentist will make the process seem simple and easy. If you want to improve your smile and the health of your gums, pay a visit to your dentist to clearly define the various steps in this process. Once you’re on your way to a healthy smile, a surefire confidence booster is right around the corner!