Realizing you need dental work can be daunting. After all, teeth and gums are some of the most sensitive areas in the body. Add to that the fact that dentists use some unusual, sharp, intimidating instruments, and it’s easy to understand why so many people put their oral health on the back burner.
However, avoiding the dentist will not do you any favors. It puts you at risk of health complications. Do you know that it is very easy for bacteria to enter your bloodstream through your mouth? It often happens through inflamed gums or from a gap with missing teeth. Therefore, attending to this issue is essential to staying healthy.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are an alternative for people who have lost one or several teeth. They are not the same as traditional dentures since they are fastened to your jawbone and look as natural as your original teeth.
They are made of three parts:
- The base is the root of the artificial tooth. What’s really impressive about this portion of the implant is that it’s made of titanium. This is for a very unique reason: This type of material bonds seamlessly with bone, which makes it the perfect element to keep the implant secure.
- The abutment is installed once the base has fully integrated with the jawbone. The abutment holds the artificial tooth.
- The crown. This is the tooth part of the implant, which is made to match the size and color of the rest of your teeth, for optimal functionality and a natural and comfortable look.
Benefits of Dental Implants
If you’re missing a tooth (or several teeth), you are aware of how uncomfortable it can be. Speaking becomes difficult. Eating becomes a challenge. You may be overcompensating by only chewing on one side of your mouth which can result in Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ). You might even be embarrassed to smile or have a good laugh in the company of other people.
Dental implants solve those issues. You’ll have a full smile, pronounce every word, and bite and chew food comfortably. And you’ll be able to do all of it with natural looking teeth.
How Do I Know If I’m a Good Candidate?
Most people are able to have dental implants. However, the answer is not always clear cut. If you have an underlying health condition, it will need to be under control before you’re able to proceed with implants. Such is the case with:
- Gum Disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
If you’re a smoker, now is a good time to quit. Smoking increases the risk of gum disease and promotes bone loss, so it would be difficult for the implant to bond to the bone. This is in addition to the increased risk smokers face of stroke, heart disease, and cancer, among many other ailments.
What to Expect From the Procedure
- Will it hurt? You may feel a degree of discomfort. However, the dentist will apply an anesthetic to your gums to minimize or prevent pain.
- How long will it take? This depends on how many teeth you need to replace, and whether the dentist needs to remove a tooth before setting the implant. The standard length of time for a single tooth is about two hours.
- What happens during the actual procedure? The dentist will numb your mouth with a local anesthetic. They will then make an incision on your gum to create space for the implant’s base. The doctor will screw the implant in place and close the gum. The final step is to place the crown.
- What happens after the procedure? The dentist will give you instructions for care of the new implant(s) and will schedule a follow-up visit. You may need to take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory painkiller to alleviate discomfort or pain in your gums. However, you should be fine to return to work the next day.
If You Are Considering Dental Implants, Let Us Help You.
At St. Hope, we provide a wide spectrum of dentistry services, from routine dental care to complex restorations for patients in the greater Houston area. Our fees are based on a sliding scale, so rest assured, we’ll find a way to work within your budget.
We take same-day appointments, accept all insurance plans, and welcome walk-ins. Call us at 713-778-1300 or visit us at 6800 West Loop South, Suite 560, Bellaire, TX 77401.Book an Appointment