Dental implants are becoming increasingly common in cosmetic dentistry. Not only used simply for improving appearances, but also for strengthening the function of a person’s teeth, this is a procedure that is likely to continue to grow and may well, in future years, become affordable enough to be used in everyday dentistry as standard practise for the replacement of lost teeth.
Are Dental Implants Painful?
This is perhaps the most commonly asked question about implants, and perhaps unsurprisingly so; few of us would relish the idea of a hole being drilled into our jawbone, into which the implants are fitted. However, gruesome as this may sound, the reality is entirely different. Provided that no prior surgery is necessary, such as where a bone graft would be needed, the procedure is relatively straight forward and is done using a local anaesthetic which ensures that the procedure is pain free. In fact, it may come as a surprise to some that the jaw bone itself actually has relatively few nerves in it which means that it is not that susceptible to pain. The procedure is carried out with care and precision and can last anywhere from half an hour to several hours depending on the number of dental implants and if there are any specific complexities involved.
How Long Does The Healing Process Take?
Whilst the procedure itself only takes up to a few hours, it takes several months for the implant to fully heal and integrate itself with the bone. This can take between three and six months, depending on the patient. It is during this period that the bone in the jaw will grow around and attach itself to the titanium screw which will hold the replacement tooth. This period of time ensures a strong and stable base. Depending on your cosmetic dentist and your own circumstances, you may be given a temporary denture which will also help to protect the implant.
Once this period of time has passed, the implant should be firmly held in place and able to accept the replacement tooth, usually in the form of a crown, which will be fitted to the implant.
Once this has been fitted, you may need to allow a short period to become used to the feel of your new dental implant and it is probably advisable to eat soft foods for a while in order to adjust. Providing that you brush and floss your teeth well, there is no reason to expect that your new dental implant will not last for at least twenty years or so.