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A dental implant is a replacement for the root of a tooth. They are titanium screws that are placed into the jawbone and secured, just like the root of a healthy tooth. The bone then grafts around the implant to acreate a secure, life-long bond. Once that graft is ready – usually after three to six months – a crown is secured onto the implant and carefully crafted to look just like your surrounding natural teeth. It is even possible to have implants that replace your dentures.
More people than ever before are choosing dental implants to replace missing teeth. They are a long-term solution, looking and behaving just like your natural teeth. They can actually be an improvement upon natural teeth, as they cannot develop cavities. Plus, unlike a fixed bridge or removable denture, dental implants will not affect neighboring healthy teeth or lead to bone loss in the jaw. If properly cared for, they can last a lifetime.
Am I a candidate for dental implants?
If you have a tooth that needs replacing, implants are an excellent option. However, it is important that you are in good health. Diabetes, cancer, or radiation to the jaw may affect the ability of the dental implant to properly graft to your jawbone. You should discuss these conditions (or any other medical issues that you may have) with the oral surgeon.
Alcoholism and periodontal gum disease are also potential problems that will need to be discussed with your dentist prior to making a decision about whether implants are right for you.
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