Having missing or damaged teeth can negatively impact a person’s self-esteem. With an estimated more than 35 million Americans missing all of their teeth in one or both jaws, according to prosthodontists, dental implant surgery is a common procedure.

A dental implant procedure is where an experienced oral surgeon places an artificial tooth that is then fused to the jawbone. This procedure gives the dental implant patient a durable, permanent fix for their missing tooth. If your dentist has suggested a single tooth implant or even multiple implants, here are a few things you should know as a dental implant patient.

There are many dental implant advantages that you should take into consideration. For one, a dental implant will last much longer than a dental bridge, which relies on surrounding teeth as anchors. Bridges may need to be replaced a few times during a lifetime and can cause other dental issues down the road.

Additional advantages of dental implants include:

  • Being aesthetically superior, Compared to bridges and dentures, implants stay in place and will mimic your own real teeth
  • Saving adjacent teeth. Unlike bridges, which need to anchor to surrounding teeth, they stand alone and won’t cause issues to your other teeth
  • Being reliable and durable. Implants rarely have to be replaced, saving you the hassle of having to have another procedure done
  • Helping build confidence. Unlike other forms of tooth replacement, dental implants look and feel like real teeth, leaving no reason to be self-conscious about them

The dental implant process itself can be fairly time-consuming. As a dental implant patient, you will first have a complete dental exam, most likely including x-rays. After the initial diagnosis is made, your dentist will recommend you to the best oral surgeon in the area.

Upon meeting with the oral surgeon, you will discuss a treatment plan. This plan can include discussing how many implants will be needed and the condition of your jaw bones. Finally, the procedure is started. Dental implants require multiple surgical procedures, which can take a few months to fully complete. First, the dental implant cylinder is placed in your jawbone to form the base for the implant. After several months of healing, an abutment is placed, and finally, an implant prosthesis or crown is put in.

Receiving dental implants can be a long journey, but it’s worth it in the end. After the implants are in place, you can have confidence in your smile again knowing the implants look and feel like the rest of your teeth.