If you're missing a tooth or need to have some teeth extracted due to severe cavities or other such damage, you might ask your dentist about the option of dental implants. Only your dentist can advise you if you're a candidate for such a procedure, but note a few factors about these appliances so you can then discuss this choice with him or her, as needed.
What is a dental implant?
The actual dental implant itself is a rod or post that is inserted into the jawbone, which serves as a replacement for the tooth root. A connector is placed on top of this rod, and then a cap or crown is put over this connector and glued into place. Note that this insertion process involves dental surgery, as the implant is not simply glued into place, but is screwed deep into the jawbone and becomes a permanent part of your mouth.
How long does it take to get dental implants?
Getting dental implants is not usually a one-day process; your dentist will need to evaluate your overall health, to ensure you can recover from the surgical procedure itself. Your jawbone also needs to be examined and x-rayed, as this bone needs to be strong enough to support the implants.
Because of the time it takes to have the rod or post implanted and then to shape and form the cap that goes over it, these processes may not be done on the same day. Your dentist may also prefer that you wait until your mouth is fully healed from the implant itself before you have caps put over those connectors, in case you have any swelling or bruising from the surgery.
Do dental implants need special care?
The cap put over a dental implant should cover it completely, and these crowns are very durable; they are no more likely to chip or crack than your own teeth, so they don't need special care other than standard brushing and flossing. Obviously you would want to protect dental caps, just as you would real teeth, when playing certain sports, boxing and the like.
In some cases, a cap or crown might yellow with age, so you may need to have that piece replaced after a few years. This often depends on the material used for that cap as well as your own dietary habits. Your dentist can usually tell you the expected lifespan of a dental cap; otherwise, your implant will typically need no other special care, cleaning or treatment.