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Know your options – Dental implants explained

Woman Lying in a Dentist chair Ideally, your teeth should last a lifetime with good oral hygiene and regular dental care. Unfortunately, things happen. Maybe you weren't so careful with oral care in the past and it's catching up with you. Maybe you had an unfortunate run-in with a baseball, stair step, or some such thing. If you've lost a tooth, or several, don't worry – we've a solution. Actually, we have several options. You are probably familiar with traditional dentures and bridges, but many patients ask, "What are dental implants?" Chicago – you asked, we've got answers!

What implants aren't

First, let's clear up a few common misconceptions:
  • It's not a major surgery. Actually, inserting the tiny implant through the relatively thin layer of gum tissue covering your jawbone is about as minor of surgery as you will find.
  • They don't hurt. The area will be numb during the procedure and many of our patients report no pain at all afterwards. Those who experience soreness or sensitivity compare it to a simple extraction.
  • Implants are not replacement teeth; they support replacement teeth.
Dental implants are replacement roots

There is more to a tooth than meets the eye. The visible part is supported by roots, extending from the tooth to the jawbone. Bridges or traditional dentures just replace the part of a tooth we see. That leaves us with a problem; something has to keep it in place. The traditional solution is attaching it to other teeth. Various methods are used – clips, crowns, adhesive – depending on the type of appliance used. The new and increasingly popular solution is supporting the new teeth with dental implants.

An implant is a very small piece of metal, which actually looks quite unimpressive and unimportant if you happen to see one. In fact, you will probably never see one unless it is in a dental office. In the mouth, they are completely hidden by beautiful, natural looking teeth. However, like a cloaked superhero, your dental implant performs some pretty amazing feats from its shadowy hiding place.

An implant-supported restoration is much stronger and more stable than the alternatives. You won't have to avoid certain foods, or worry about your teeth coming out while you're eating. Because it stands independently, rooted in the jaw, there is no impact on your other teeth. They won't have the extra pressure and wear caused by holding up the tooth next-door, and they won't have to be reduced and crowned. Implants also protect your jawbone. They are made of titanium, which fuses with the bone encouraging new cell formation. Without an implant or tooth root, this bone would slowly melt away.

Are you ready to fill that gap? Call Big Smile Dental at and schedule a consultation to find out what implants can do for you.


What are Dental Implant

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