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Dental implants basics

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Dental implants basics
Dental implants are used to replace tooth roots. Dental implants are generally made of titanium.
Success rates of dental implants vary, depending on where in the jaw the implants are placed but, in general, dental implants have a success rate of up to 98%. With proper care, implants can last a lifetime.

In most cases, anyone healthy enough to undergo a routine dental extraction or oral surgery can be considered for a dental implant. Patients should have healthy gums and enough bone to hold the implant. They also must be committed to good oral hygiene and regular dental visits. If you are considering implants, talk to your dentist to see if they are right for you.
In general, dental implants are not covered by dental insurance. Coverage under your medical plan may be possible, depending on the insurance plan and/or cause of tooth loss. Detailed questions about your individual needs and how they relate to insurance should be discussed with your dentist and your insurance provider.

The first step in the dental implant process is the development of an individualized treatment plan. The plan addresses your specific needs and is prepared by a team of professionals who are specially trained and experienced in oral surgery and restorative dentistry. The team will choose the best strategy for you.
Next, the tooth root implant, which is a small post made of titanium, is placed into the bone socket of the missing tooth. As the jawbone heals, it grows around the implanted metal post, anchoring it securely in the jaw. The healing process can take from 6 to 12 weeks.

Once the implant has bonded to the jawbone, an abutment is attached to the post to securely hold the new tooth. To make your new tooth or teeth, your dentist makes impressions of your teeth, and creates a model of your bite. Your new tooth or teeth are based on this model. A replacement tooth, called a crown, is then attached to the abutment.
Instead of one or more individual crowns, some patients may have attachments placed on the implant that retain and support a removable denture.

Your dentist also will match the color of your new teeth to your natural teeth. Because the implant is secured within the jawbone, the replacement teeth look, feel, and function just like your own natural teeth.
Most people who have received dental implants say that there is very little discomfort involved in the procedure. Local anesthesia can be used during the procedure, and most patients report that implants involve less pain than a tooth extraction.
After the dental implant, mild soreness can be treated with over-the-counter pain medications.
Dental implants require the same care as real teeth, including brushing, flossing, and regular dental check-ups.

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