When you lose a baby tooth, you can usually bank on a permanent adult tooth growing in and replacing it. However, if you lose an adult tooth, you can be left with a large gap in your smile unless you see a dentist for treatment.
There are many ways to replace missing teeth apart from dentures, and a dental implant* is one option.
On this page
- What are dental implants?
- What are the benefits of dental implants?
- How do I know if I need dental implants?
- How to care for dental implants
What are dental implants?
An implant is a manufactured replacement for the root of a tooth. A dentist will implant the metal implant, usually a rod that looks a little like a screw, into your jawbone. The dentist will then attach an artificial tooth to that implant in order to fill the gap. Since the metal rod is fixed to the jawbone itself, this is a strong method of keeping the artificial tooth in place.
What are the benefits of dental implants?
Getting a dental implant can be more expensive than other methods of tooth replacement. However, there are various benefits that you should consider along with advice from your dentist.
One benefit is that implants tend to be durable and long-lasting. They’re also unlikely to come loose in the same way that dentures can.
Implants often look and feel more natural than other replacement options. Additionally, there’s less impact on teeth that are adjacent to the missing tooth.
How do I know if I need dental implants?
If you’re missing adult teeth from an accident, illness or any other reason, your dentist can talk to you about replacement options. The best candidates for dental implants are those with good oral hygiene and a healthy jawbone. That’s because you need healthy bones and gums in order to support the implant. If your jawbone isn't naturally strong enough or the right size for an implant, a bone graft might be an option.
Dental implants can be a good alternative for those who find dentures or bridges uncomfortable, or who are unable to wear dentures due to the shape of their jaw.
If you decide to go ahead with a dental implant, your dentist may recommend a specialist for the procedure, such as an oral surgeon or a periodontist. They’ll begin by examining your facial structure via x-ray and determine if you’re an appropriate candidate for the procedure before moving ahead.
How to care for dental implants?
Once you have dental implants, it’s imperative that you care for them just as carefully as your natural teeth.
Your oral surgeon and dentist can give you full details on proper care but, in general, you’ll need a regular brushing and flossing routine. Regular visits to the dentist and hygienist will ensure proper checks are undertaken and that the implant is not coming loose. For more info on oral hygiene, click here. Smoking can weaken the bone structure and compromise the implant, so it’s a habit to stop if you’re thinking about getting dental implants. Plus, there are many other benefits to your overall health if you quit.
*Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.