I am proud to say that I have all my own teeth at the age of 65. While that may not sound unusual to some people, everyone in my family who is my age or older wears dentures. I always tell people that that flossing is the key to good dental health. I have arthritis in my hands, but I don't let it keep me from flossing every day. My trick is to use those little "flossers" you can buy at the drug store. They have plastic handles floss stretched out on top of the handle. These make flossing easier on days when my arthritis is acting up. I started this blog to let other people know that they can keep their teeth healthy into old age when they take care of them. If you have hand pain, find ways to make flossing easier, like I did.
If you have a couple of missing teeth, you might be considering dental implants. Implants are common since they do such a good job of replacing natural teeth. They look natural and help you eat as if you had your natural teeth again. Here's more to know about dental implants.
Implants Support Crowns, Bridges, And Dentures
Dental implants can be used in a number of ways. An implant can be topped with a single crown to replace one tooth. If you have three teeth missing in a row, two implants can support a bridge. If you need to replace a full arch, a few implants can replace all of your top teeth. You can even get implants to support your upper and lower dentures.
Implants Don't Get Cavities
A dental implant has a porcelain top and a titanium bottom rod. These can't decay, so you don't have to worry about cavities in the tooth anymore. However, good dental care is still important since you could still get gum disease or spread bacteria to other natural teeth that can still get cavities.
You'll need to floss and brush as usual and see your dentist for scheduled check-ups and cleanings to maintain good oral health even after you get implants.
Implants Fuse With Your Jawbone
Implants screw into your jawbone, but that's not the only thing that holds them in place. Over time, your bone actually fuses with the implant in a process known as osseointegration. The two become one and can't be separated without fracturing your bone. That's why implants are so strong and like natural teeth.
Dental Implants Keep Your Jaw Strong
A problem with a missing tooth is that it can no longer stimulate your jawbone to keep it strong. In fact, when you have missing teeth, your jawbone can shrink. This can change the look of your face and make you look older. When you get an implant, the implant is driven into your jawbone. The daily activity of chewing keeps the bone stimulated and strong. Bone loss stops and your bone gets stronger.
Dental Implants Can Take A Long Time To Get
Your dentist will let you know about the expected timeline of your implant procedure. The length of time it takes to get your implant depends on whether you need a bone graft, how long it takes your bone to fuse to the implant, and how long it takes to get your crown. The process might take months if you need a bone graft.
On the other hand, if you don't need a bone graft, the dentist might put in your implant and top it with a temporary crown right away so you can replace your missing tooth fast. You'll still need a return visit once your bone has fused to get the permanent crown put on, but you'll have a temporary tooth while you wait.
Dentists perform the implant procedures in different ways and do what's right for your situation, but you'll know upfront how long you may have to wait until you have your dental work completed. For more information on dental implants, contact a professional near you.