Implants are definitely a great option; however, you cannot simply choose to have implants. Your doctors (family, dentist, and oral surgeon) must determine if you are a good candidate. This means that they need to check your overall health. Do you have a good immune system? Are you diabetic? Do you have cancer, or have you had cancer? Is your jawbone strong enough to support something like implants?
Each of these questions must be answered thoroughly. Once it is determined that you qualify for something, you need your doctors to work together. While some offices offer same-day implants, most places are going to tell you that it takes several months to accomplish an implant.
Many people start at the dentist and then go to the oral surgeon for a bone graft. The bone graft thickens the jawbone to make it stronger for the implant. Remember that this takes time to heal. Your dentist will likely not see you until your jaw is healed from the bone graft.
Once your oral surgeon clears you to start the rest of the process, you will go back to your dentist, and she will place the implants. She will place tiny screws called abutments into your jawbone. A healing time is also associated with this process. The goal is for your jawbone to accept the implant and begin growing around the implant.
After a period of time, your dentist will have you back to the office and confirm you are ready for the crowning moment. She will create a crown to fit neatly over your implant. If you have multiple teeth missing, the doctor may choose to do two implants, leaving a space in the middle and creating a bridge for you to wear over the implants.
Implants may take many months to complete, but once complete, they are long-lasting. They should remain in your mouth until you die. They are made with a light metal like titanium, and they are firm. Once your jawbone has accepted them and grown around them, they are part of your mouth. There is no needed adjusting or anything like a set of partial dentures. That is a huge benefit! It saves time and pain.
Also, they do not affect any of the teeth around them. Unlike bridges that require crowning on either side of the missing tooth and partial dentures needing crowned teeth next to them for better clasping, implants only impact the teeth they replace.
Implants look natural. They do not move and, thus, have a more natural feel than bridges and partial dentures.
Because of their firmness and the fact that they are placed directly in the jawbone, the jawbone does not shrink. Also, the other teeth are held in place by the implant, so no shifting of other teeth occurs, and with the help of flossing and brushing, you keep healthy gums.
Now, implants are quite expensive. Of course, you can reach out for financing and payment arrangements, but compared to bridges and partial dentures, implants prove quite a bit more in price.
The other hiccups with implants include the need for surgery and the shifting between many doctors and appointments. Thus, they are not always a good fit for everyone.
If you end up choosing implants, be sure to stay on top of the maintenance. Brush regularly and thoroughly. Floss between teeth, so that plaque cannot get down into the gums and around your teeth. Do everything you can to protect your investment.