Beginner’s Guide: Dental Implants

Aug 12, 2015, by Dr. Becky Coats

Implants Beginners GuideAre you thinking about dental implants to replace one or more missing teeth? If so, then check out our beginner’s guide and learn everything you need to know to decide if they’re right for you.

What Are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are artificial tooth roots that can be used to replace your missing teeth. They can be used to replace just one tooth or an entire arch of teeth. Just like your natural teeth, dental implants are secure in your jawbone. A dental crown (or cap) goes on top of the dental implant. Usually, a connecting piece called an abutment is used to link the other two parts together.

Are Dental Implants My Only Option to Replace Missing Teeth?

No. Dentures are replacement teeth that are removable. Partial dentures replace only a few teeth. They are connected to a plastic or metal piece that fits in your mouth and are secured to your remaining teeth by clasps or hooks. Complete dentures replace all your teeth, and are held in by their fit around your gums and by suction.

Dental bridges are dental crowns that fit over your natural teeth and are attached to your replacement tooth or teeth.

Do Dental Implants Offer Advantages over Other Options?

Yes, and sometimes these advantages make a big difference. Dental implants are the only tooth replacement option that supports your gums and stimulates your jaw bone so it doesn’t shrink. They are very natural in appearance.

Dental implants allow you to eat all your favorite foods. They stay in your mouth just like your natural teeth. And they require no special care: just brush, floss, and make your regular checkups.

And they last a lifetime.

C’mon, Do They Really Last a Lifetime?

Truthfully, we don’t know exactly how long they last, because they last longer than any study that’s been designed to test this question. Several 20-year studies have been designed to look at this question, and in every one more than 90% of implants are still in place at the end of the study (see data here, here, and this really large study here).

Can I Get Dental Implants?

Virtually anyone can get dental implants, but you are more likely to have an implant fail if you are a smoker or if you’re prone to gum disease, which is the biggest threat to your dental implants.

You might also need additional treatments before you get your dental implant if you:

  • Lost your tooth or teeth 6 months or more ago
  • You lost bone to gum disease
  • You currently have gum disease

We can talk about this during your consultation.

Can I Get My Dental Implants the Same Day My Natural Teeth Are Removed?

That depends. Many people can, but it depends on your oral health. If your oral health is good, we can place the artificial root on the same day.

When your implant dentist places the artificial root, we will be able to tell how stable it is and then decide if we can put the dental crown on top that day or if we have to wait for healing to occur.

Will My Dental Implant Really Look Natural?

Yes. Most people won’t be able to pick out the dental implant. It will blend in nicely with your natural teeth.

I Want to Learn More

The best way to learn more about dental implants is to schedule a consultation. Please call (817) 481-6888 for an appointment with a Grapevine implant dentist at Grapevine Dental Care.