Dental Implants: What Patients Need to Know

Regular dental care is one of the easiest ways a person can protect their health.

Regular dental care is one of the easiest ways a person can protect their health. Many medical problems can be traced back to poor oral care, including cardiovascular disease, infections of the heart, and pregnancy and birth complications, to name a few. Today, we’ll be looking at a common dental procedure: dental implants.

What They Are

As one consumer guide to dentistry explains it, dental implants are artificial teeth with roots that are implanted into the bone of the jaw. This is done to replace missing teeth and to prevent jaw bone loss or stop loss already occurring. A dental implant is considered a prosthesis, but may also improve the cosmetic appearance of a patient’s smile. Patients with missing teeth should find out more details by talking to a dentist if they have questions.

The First Appointment

At the first consultation for a dental implant, the dentist will do an examination. He or she will look at the area where the implant will be placed and look at the overall oral health of the patient. Underlying conditions may need to be treated before an implant procedure, including tooth decay and gum disease. Your dentist may also suggest lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking, to make sure an implant procedure will be successful. This is because smoking affects healing. Smoking can make it harder for blood to clot and increase the chances of dry socket.

The Procedure

During a dental implant procedure, the patient is sedated so the titanium metal screw and crown can be placed in the jawbone. After making sure the mouth is clean and dry, a pilot hole is drilled in the jaw site where the implant will be placed. The screw is then placed into the pilot hole, and the surrounding gum tissue is secured over the screw. The replacement tooth is sometimes attached the same day, but most often, the area must heal before a second appointment is made to place the tooth.

For those who have experienced tooth loss and are considering dental implants, the best source of advice will be a dentist. He or she can walk potential patients through the entire process, explaining the benefits and risks.

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