About 120 million Americans are.
The good news is that dental implants can fill the gaps in your smile, preventing further tooth and bone loss.
What is a Dental Implant?
A dental implant is a prosthetic tooth root made of a titanium alloy that we place in your jaw.
Once the implant fuses with your jawbone, we'll place an abutment and crown over top. This will give you the look and function of a natural tooth.
In this post, we'll explain:
- How dental implants work
- What you can expect during your initial consultation
- What happens during the dental implant procedure
- What you can expect during recovery
- Your next steps for setting up an appointment with us
Your Initial Consultation
First, we need to determine if you're a candidate for dental implants. During your consultation, we'll take x-rays and impressions of your teeth. We'll also examine your teeth and gums to gauge your oral health.
Candidates for dental implants have strong, healthy immune systems. They also have enough bone density to support implants so they can fuse to the jaw and remain stable.
If your jawbone is too soft or thin to support a dental implant, we may recommend a bone graft. That way, your tooth implant will have a solid foundation.
It's best (but not required) for candidates to be non-smokers. That's because people who smoke hinder their ability to heal after dental procedures.
Dental Implant Surgery
If you're a candidate for the dental implant procedure, you'll need to schedule a time for your surgery.
During the procedure, the doctor will cut through the gum down to the jawbone. They'll then drill holes for the implant. The implant is then placed deep in the bone.
Recovery from Surgery
It will take several months for the implant to fuse to your jawbone. We call this process "osseointegration." In general, implants in the upper jaw need more time to heal than those in the lower jaw.
Abutment and Crown Placement
Once your jawbone heals, we'll need to place the abutment and crown over your implant. It’s possible to attach the abutment to the implant during your first surgery. But some people prefer to attach it later as they don’t like the way it juts over the gum line.
Once the jawbone has healed and we attach the abutment, you’ll be ready for the dental implant crown. The dental crown is what gives you the look and function of a natural tooth. Our dental implant dentists will make sure your crown is the correct shade to match the rest of your smile.
Dental implants can last up to 25 years with proper care. Certain factors reduce the, such as poor oral hygiene and smoking. Make sure that you take care of your implants like you would natural teeth. In other words, take care of your dental implants and they'll take care of you!
Interested in Dental Implants?
Ready to take the next step? Request an appointment with one of our dental implant dentists in Grand Rapids, MI. Our team would be more than happy to determine if you're a candidate for the . To request an appointment with Lake Michigan Dental, call (616) 453-8211.
This blog post has been updated.