Explain It Like I’m Five: Dental Implants

Thoughtful child doing his homework at kitchen table - Sometimes you explain dental implants like you would to a 5 year old

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The popular web-series and podcast, Explain it Like I’m Five, has a straightforward philosophy: explaining things simply can provide clarity to concepts that are often overly complicated. For those who have recently lost one or more teeth, dental implants are often one of those over-complicated subjects, which makes them more difficult to understand. When it comes to your mouth, this can be a turn-off to those who are considering the treatment. That’s why this week, we’ll be explaining what dental implants are, how they work, and who should consider them.

What Are Dental Implants?

Like Occam always said, simple is usually more elegant, so we’ll start with a basic definition. A dental implant is a procedure which implants a device into your mouth that looks and functions like your natural tooth. The implant has two major pieces: the titanium implant, and the ceramic crown. The implant is like the tooth root. It goes inside your jawbone. The ceramic crown replaces the visible part of the tooth.

Before dental implants, dentures were the most traditional procedure for replacing missing teeth, but they have several drawbacks. They require special cleaning measures nightly, they can sometimes become dislodged while eating or speaking, and they can be uncomfortable for some to wear for long periods of time. Dental implants are much like your natural teeth. They won’t fall out unexpectedly and don’t require any special care. Just follow your regular oral hygiene habits of brushing and flossing, and see the dentistry regularly.

How Do Dental Implants Work?

The first stage of the dental implant procedure is surgical. The titanium implant is inserted into the jaw bone and allowed to heal. Osseointegration is a natural phenomenon. Living bone and tissue begin to integrate or fuse together with an artificial implant, most commonly, titanium. This connection becomes “load-bearing,” and in the case of dental implants, functions in much the same way as a natural tooth root. Once this connection has been made, a custom-designed crown built to match the shade of your surrounding teeth, is connected to the titanium implant. This crown is both stain resistant and chip resistant to ensure that it will last a long time.

The dental implant procedure has a 98 percent success rate. When properly cared for, dental implants can last upwards of forty years. In many cases, they last a lifetime.

Who Should Consider Dental Implants?

The first criteria for those who should consider dental implants is simply someone who has lost one or more teeth. The oral criteria have to do with your personal oral health. The number one cause of dental implant failure is peri-implantitis, which is a complication that occurs when a patient either has or contracts periodontitis in surrounding gum tissue. The best way to avoid dental implant failure is to avoid gum disease through a thorough oral hygiene routine.

If you’re considering dental implants, the best way to find out if the procedure is right for you, is by scheduling a consultation with your dentist. There your dentist can review your personal oral history, and go over the procedure in more detail.

Do you want to learn more about dental implants in Westchester County? Please contact us today for an appointment with implant dentist Dr. George Sepiashvili or Dr. Wanda Mejia at Advanced Dentistry of Mohegan Lake.

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