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Dental Issues Author: Staff Editor Last Updated: Sep 7, 2017 - 10:06:33 PM

A Tooth Where There Once Was None: What to Expect When You're Getting a Dental Implant

By Staff Editor
Oct 1, 2016 - 9:30:38 AM

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( - A kid who's missing a couple of front teeth is considered cute and adorable. An adult with gaps in their smile? Not so much. Fortunately, modern dentistry offers a range of treatments that can give anyone a fabulous set of perfect pearly whites. Dental implants are an ideal option for many people. If you're thinking about getting one or more replacement teeth, this article will tell you what to expect when getting a dental implant. 

A brief history of dental implants

Humans have been trying to correct teeth problems for centuries. Archaeological evidence shows that ancient Egyptian dentists made orthodontic braces with gold wire and that ancient Etruscans fashioned replacement teeth harvested from oxen bones, according to the National Institutes of Health. There is even evidence that some long-ago Mayans received implanted replacement teeth made of sea shells.

Early in the 20th century, modern dental implantation began. Endosteal (in the bone) dental implants were first devised by Drs. Alvin and Moses Strock in the 1930s. Since that time, modifications of materials and implant anchors evolved to become the highly effective mandibular and maxillary implants that are available in the 21st century.

Dental implants 101

Implantation is a surgical procedure by which a dental surgeon inserts a titanium metal post into the jawbone. Once the post is firmly attached to the bone, an artificial tooth is attached to create a natural-looking, fully functioning replacement. Dental implant surgery offers a happy alternative to bridgework, dentures and other removable dental devices.

If you are deemed a suitable candidate for dental implant surgery, there are a number of things you can expect. First, you'll need to understand that dental implantation is not a quick procedure. In fact, it may take six to nine months for the process to be complete. After that, however, you probably won't ever need to have your implants adjusted or replaced. In the long run, dental implants are a beautifully effective way to permanently replace one or more missing teeth.

After care is easy. Once your implants have full taken hold, you will treat your new teeth the same as natural teeth. Regular brushing and flossing to eliminate plaque buildup will go a long way toward ensuring the health of your mouth and the pretty appearance of your new teeth.

Who is a candidate for dental implantation

Mayo Clinic explains that a good candidate for implantation surgery has a jawbone that's reached its full maturity. Kids and teens are not, therefore, good candidates for dental implantation. The jawbone must be healthy and intact so the titanium “root” of an implant has a strong place to take hold. The candidate must have a willingness to go through the long healing process required for permanent dental implantation. Yes, it takes a long time, and yes, most persons who receive dental implants are delighted that they invested the time and effort to properly replace their missing tooth or teeth.

To begin your journey to improved dental appearance and function, you'll visit with an oral surgeon, dentist and/or periodontist. During a comprehensive exam at a quality care clinic such as Mazza Center for Implant and Esthetic Dentistry, you will have x-rays taken and molds will be made of your mouth. You and your doctor will discuss medical conditions and explain your anesthesia options. Pain relievers and antibiotics may be prescribed prior to surgery.

Risks and other things to know about dental implants

Risks associated with dental implant surgery are rare, but should be addressed. For one thing, the patient must maintain good oral health before, during and after the procedure. Infection at the implant site is not common, but it can occur. Numbness, tingling and nerve damage at the implant site does sometimes occur. For this reason, your dentist will probably prescribe a course of antibiotics to reduce the risk of post-op infection. Sinus issues are another rare but possible risk associated with dental implantation surgery.

Some people don't have a thick enough jawbone to accept a dental implant. When this happens, an oral surgeon may recommend a bone graft whereby a piece of bone is taken from the hip or other location and surgically attached to the jaw. Once this is done, the dental implant process may proceed.

The way we smile says a lot before we even utter a word. If you are missing one or more natural teeth, dental implants might be just the thing you need to regain your confident, beautiful smile.

Ellie Evans has always enjoyed writing, but since the kids came along she has only managed enough time for articles, her long-planned-out book will need to wait until they start school! Ellie uses her life experiences to come up with article titles, from parenting to eldercare, health matters and more.


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