A dental implant is an artificial tooth that replaces a
tooth that has been taken out. Implants are natural-looking, can provide
support for dentures, and do not affect the teeth bordering them. They are as
stable as your real teeth and protect you from the loss of jawbone, which
occurs when you lose teeth.
You may need an implant if you have
lost a tooth because of
tooth decay or an accident. To receive an implant, you
need to have healthy gums and enough bone to support the implant.
After your tooth has been removed:
oral surgeon, or gum disease specialist (periodontist)
will place an anchor and post in your jawbone. The anchor functions as the
tooth root and is made from metals such as titanium. The post extends out of
the anchor. Your new tooth will attach to the post. It takes 3 to 6 months for
the jawbone to grow around the anchor and hold it in place. Some dentists use
two operations to put in the anchor and the post.
When the anchor is well attached to the bone, your dentist will
cement the artificial tooth (crown) to the implant.
You may have swelling and/or tenderness for a few days after
the surgery, and your dentist may give you pain medicine. Your dentist may also
suggest that you eat only soft foods for a period of time.
you have an implant, it stays in. You do not have to remove it for cleaning or
soaking, as you do dentures.
It is just as important to brush and
floss implants as it is with natural teeth. If bacteria build up on implants,
you can end up with gum disease and bone loss.
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.