3 Questions You Need To Ask Before Getting Dental Implants

If you are missing one or more teeth, you are not alone. In the U.S. alone, more than 120 million people are missing at least one tooth. Fortunately, there are easy permanent ways to replace a missing tooth. Dental implants are one of these ways. They are natural-looking, effective forms of tooth replacement. If you are considering dental implants, here are a few questions you may ask before you commit to the process. 

1. Exactly What Is A Dental Implant?

A dental implant is an artificial tooth surgically installed into your jawbone that mimics the structure of your natural tooth. The implant has a three-piece design. This design includes:

  • Implant post or screw - usually made of titanium and installed into your jaw bone during a brief dental surgery.
  • Abutment - is a connector that attaches to the top of your post 
  • Prosthesis or tooth restoration - is the tooth or crown that is visible above the gum line.

Some implant models are a two-piece design with the implant post and abutment being a single unit.

2. How Does A Dental Implant Differ From A Bridge?

A dental implant is a permanent structure that your dentist places into your gum like a natural tooth. They look and feel like your natural teeth. They will last for the rest of your life with the proper care. 

Your dentist connects a dental bridge to one or more of your adjoining teeth to replace your missing teeth. They can be permanent or removable to aid with cleaning. With proper care, they can last for decades. While dental implants are a more long-lasting permanent solution, dental bridges can be more economical in upfront costs. 

3. Are You A Candidate For A Dental Implant?

Unfortunately, only some are candidates for dental implants. You must have healthy gums and a strong jawbone for your dentist to affix the titanium root into your jaw. You must then wait for the bone and screw to fuse. This fusion is a process called osseointegration, and it can fail if your jawbone is not strong enough. 

Healthy gums are essential to protect and support the implant screw and for your finished product to rest on. Often, patients who have suffered from advanced periodontal diseases and gum tissue loss are not good candidates.  Children or young teens are also not good candidates for this procedure. Their jaw bones are often not developed enough, and their mouth structures are still changing. 

People who suffer from certain diseases may also not be good candidates due to the complications these diseases can cause. Some of these diseases include:

  • Osteoporosis
  • Diabetes
  • Parkinson's disease

These are just a few, along with other types of auto-immune conditions. Your dentist will have to determine eligibility on a case-by-case basis. 

For more information about dental implants, contact a local company.