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Am I a Candidate for Dental Implants?

When a tooth is lost, the most common reaction is one of dismay about a damaged smile. While aesthetics are important to self-confidence and self-esteem, losing a tooth can have even more damaging ramifications. These can include difficulty eating and speaking and the risk of losing more teeth. Dental implants can restore your smile and functionality.

At  Today’s Dentistry in San Jose, CA, Peter Lee, DDS evaluates your smile to determine if a dental implant is right for you. 

How dental implants work

A dental implant consists of three parts: a metal post, an abutment, and a crown. First, a titanium post — which will act as the root of your new tooth — is inserted into your jawbone. The bone then grows around the post, which can take a few months. Once the post has fully fused with your jawbone, the post will be topped with a collar, called an abutment. 

Your permanent crown, which will act as your new tooth, will then be placed on top of the abutment. Your new artificial tooth will look and function just like your other teeth, and it will be the only thing people will see above your gumline.

One of the significant benefits of getting an implant is that the metal post will stimulate your jawbone just as the root of your prior tooth did. This will keep that area of your jaw healthy. Without stimulation, the jawbone in that area could slowly dissolve and cause your mouth to weaken. Furthermore, the abutment and crown will keep adjacent teeth from drifting into the space left by the lost tooth. A dental implant can last a lifetime if you take good care of your gums and teeth by brushing and flossing normally.

Good candidates for dental implants

The best candidates for dental implants have healthy gums and haven’t lost bone in their jaw. Since your jawbone can begin dissolving soon after a tooth is lost, getting an implant as quickly as possible is the best option.

Regarding gum health, the rate of failure for dental implants is extremely low, but most failures happen because of an infection in the gums surrounding the implant. So having healthy gums to start with is optimal.

If you have gum disease or periodontitis, you should have it treated before you get an implant. Likewise, if you have lost bone in your jaw, you may need treatment, such as a bone graft, to make your jaw strong enough to support an implant.

To learn more about dental implants and for all of your oral health care needs, contact us online or by phone.

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