These days, if you lose a tooth or need to have a tooth removed, your dentist is likely to recommend having it replaced with a single dental implant. Dental implants extend below the surface of your gums. They are anchored into your jawbone just like a natural tooth would be. As common as single dental implants have become, though, there is still some mystery surrounding them. The following facts should help clear up some of that mystery, preparing you for your own dental implant.
Dental implants are made from biocompatible metal.
People are sometimes concerned that their bodies will reject the implant, or that inserting metal into the jawbone will be really unhealthy. Thankfully, you don't need to be concerned about these issues. Dental implants are generally made from titanium, which is a biocompatible metal that your body will not react to. It's the same metal used in replacement joints. You won't have to take anti-rejection medications as you would after an organ transplant, and you don't have to worry about the metal dissolving inside your jaw.
Dental implants are inserted via a two-stage or three-stage procedure.
During your first appointment, your dental surgeon will make an incision in the gums. They'll screw the implant into the underlying jaw bone, and they'll suture the gum tissue closed. A few months later, you will have another procedure in which the gum tissue will be opened up and an abutment will be attached to the implant. Sometimes the crown portion will be attached to the tooth during this same appointment. Other times, there will be a third appointment during which the crown is attached.
Dental implants last the rest of your life.
It may sound like a lot to undergo surgery to get a false tooth. But rest assured that you will only need to do this once. The screw part of the dental implant that is implanted into your jawbone will integrate with the bone and should stay in place for the rest of your life. The crown portion of the tooth often lasts a lifetime, too. However, if it does become damaged or chipped, it can easily be replaced. And replacing the crown does not require surgery.
Hopefully, this article has demystified single dental implants for you. If you have any additional questions or concerns, ask your dentist. They can let you know how implants may impact or improve your overall dental health.