A dental implant can be a good choice for anyone missing a tooth or a few teeth, as they're a permanent fixture in the mouth and not a temporary set of dentures you take out at night or need to clean separately from your other teeth. You may be more willing to have a tooth pulled when needed if you know you can replace that tooth with a dental implant, as you may be worried about your smile and appearance. If it's been suggested to you that you might need a dental implant, note a few questions you might discuss with your dentist at a place like Cambridge City Dental first.
1. What is involved in the surgery?
It's good to understand that a dental implant involves an actual surgery, as your dentist will need to drill a hole into the jawbone to hold the screw portion of the implant. This surgery may include anesthesia and of course there is recovery time, so you need to plan your schedule around this. If you're concerned about having surgery done, talk to your dentist about how long they would expect it to last. This will often depend on the number of implants you will have, the condition of your jawbone and gums, and the like.
2. How long after the implant is in place before a person can return to their normal eating?
Even though a dental implant is typically stronger than dentures, don't assume that you can simply go right back to your normal eating routine immediately after surgery. Your gums may need time to heal and close up around the screw portion of the implant, and your dentist may even put a temporary crown over the implant to protect it. You may need to avoid eating certain foods like meat, hard candies, and similar items until your dentist can check your healing progress.
3. Is a dental implant always successful?
A dental implant is almost always successful, but note that smokers, those with diabetes, the elderly, and those with damage to the jawbone or gum line may not heal as they should after a dental implant surgery. Radiation such as for cancer treatment can weaken the area of the jaw and also suppress a person's immune system so that the gums don't heal around the dental implant as they should. When you schedule your surgery, your dentist may take a complete medical history to ensure he or she knows the risk factors for your implant being rejected.