Tooth loss is a common problem in the United States, affecting about one in six adults aged 65. Having eight or fewer teeth (severe tooth loss) impacts the ability to eat fruits, vegetables, and meat, presenting yet another challenge to having a healthy diet. Besides this, tooth loss may make you look older than your actual age and sometimes affect your self-esteem. The good news is that your dental implant specialist Sunnyvale, CA  recommends dental implants to restore missing teeth. But first, what are dental implants?

What are dental implants?

They are screw-like posts made of titanium metal and look and function just like your natural roots. Implants are usually made out of titanium since the body does not recognize them as foreign objects. Dental implants are a better alternative to bridgework and dentures, which may not have a proper fit. They are also an option for patients who lack natural teeth roots and therefore can’t get bridges or dentures

Dental implants require surgery for placement. Your oral surgeon’s surgical approach depends on the type of implant and your jaw condition. The entire process takes several months for the titanium in the implant to fuse with your jawbone, a process called osseointegration. Eventually, the implant becomes part of your jawbone, and it will not slip or produce sounds.

Preparing for dental implants

Like most surgical procedures, you need to discuss with your surgeon to understand the ins and outs of the process. The initial consultation is also necessary for your specialist to establish if you are eligible for implants. For example, implants may be right for you if you have one or more missing teeth and your jawbone is fully grown and developed. You also need to have adequate bone to support or secure the implant. If you have inadequate bone structure, your surgeon may recommend bone grafting.

Your oral tissues also need to be healthy to get an implant. Therefore, people with dental problems such as gum disease require treatment before dental implant surgery. Since the process takes a long, you need to be willing to commit several months to the process. Your surgeon may advise against implants if you smoke tobacco or have health problems such as diabetes which impede healing.

What are the risks?

Here is also when your specialist discusses the risks and benefits of dental implants with you. Although problems are rare, dental implants surgery poses several risks like any operation. Some of the dangers of the procedure include infection at the implant site. Your nerves may get damaged during the process, resulting in symptoms such as pain and numbness in your teeth, lips, gums, and chin. If you are getting an implant on your upper jaw, it is likely to protrude into one of your sinus cavities, causing sinus problems. Surrounding structures such as other teeth and blood vessels may also get damaged during surgery.

If you are unwilling or unable to wear dentures, consult your oral surgeon at Perio & Implant Centers of Monterey Bay to establish if dental implants are suitable.