3 Things You Need To Know About Dental Implants

Dental problems can be frustrating. Especially when there isn't an immediate fix the dentist can offer you. If you have lost a tooth and seek a replacement, you have likely been told you will need a dental implant to help make that possible. Even though dental implants have been around for many years, a lot of people don't know much about them. Here are three things you need to know about dental implants before getting one.

1. They are simply small, surgical components.

A lot of people think that a dental implant is the replacement tooth itself. Actually, the dental implant is the small, screw-like component that is surgically affixed in the gums so the replacement tooth - or teeth - will have something to be attached to. In a sense, the dental implant works as a sort of anchor for your replacement tooth.

2. They can be used with fixed teeth prosthetics as well as removable dentures.

A common misconception about dental implants is that you only get them when you are getting something that will stay put in your mouth, such as a crown. However, there are times when a person is a candidate for implant-supported dentures. This type of denture has attachments on it that helps keep it in place so that there is little to no need to buy denture adhesive for them.

Also, implant-supported dentures are more commonly used to replace missing teeth on the bottom since it can be very difficult to get denture adhesive to bond with the denture there. But that is not to say that no one gets implant-supported dentures on top, because they do. It's just more common with bottom teeth.

3. They can fail if you are a smoker.

One thing that people don't think about is the effect that smoking has on dental implant success. The truth is that smoking can significantly slow down the blood flow to your gums. When this happens, it causes you to heal much slower from your dental implant surgery. This increases your chances of developing infections around the dental implant.

Also, if the site heals too slowly - or not at all - then the dental implant doesn't fuse with the jaw bone, which is its purpose. If the dental implant doesn't fuse with the jaw bone, then it will be considered a failure and need to be removed. You will then either have to go through the surgical procedure again or simply be without a replacement for teeth that are missing.

However, if you quit smoking at least a month prior to having dental implant surgery, you can have a much greater chance at it being a success. You will have to remain smoke-free for several months after the procedure as well. You can look at it this way: not only are you helping your dental implant surgery be a success, but you are also making a positive lifestyle change for your overall health.