Replacing a Missing Tooth with a Dental Implant
Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body, but something as soft as the scum that plaque leaves behind on your teeth will slowly eat away at your enamel until there is nothing left to do but replace them. While you could use a dental bridge to replace your tooth, a dental implant is more solid. There are just a few things you need to know before you get one.
What Is a Dental Implant?
One part of what makes a tooth so durable is that it is anchored directly to your jawbone. A bridge, on the other hand, is anchored only to surrounding teeth, or in some cases, to give the bridge more strength, the dental implant can be anchored to a dental implant. The strength of a dental implant comes from a titanium post that is anchored into your jawbone. A crown is then cemented to the post to give your tooth a natural appearance.
How Does a Dentist Install a Dental Implant?
The trickiest part of installing a dental implant is fusing the titanium post to the jawbone. This feat is accomplished by drilling a hole in your jawbone. The post can then be inserted into this hole. You then have to wait six months for the bone to heal around the implant. The dentist will then fit you for a crown and affix the crown with permanent cement to the post.
How to Care for a Dental Implant
The titanium and porcelain that your crown is made from should be immune to bacteria, acids, and other substances that could rot your natural teeth. This does not mean, however, that your implant is impervious to harm. If your dental hygienist uses a metal scraper to clean your teeth, the scraper can create gouges in the implant and these gouges can then allow germs to get under your gums. Once there, these germs can cause an infection that will put your implant at risk. You should, therefore, let hygienists know about your implant so that they can choose the proper tools to clean it. You should also brush, floss, and use mouth wash to keep your teeth and gums healthy because if your gums get infected, your tooth implant can fall out just like your natural teeth will.
There really is nothing quite like your natural teeth, but if you lose your teeth for whatever reason, you don't have to simply put up with the resulting hole in your smile. In order to permanently and securely repair your smile, you should ask your dentist about fitting you with a dental implant.