FAQs About Dental Implants And Oral Injuries

How can dental implants help you to recover from an oral injury? Whether you were in a car accident, slipped and fell, sustained a sports-related injury, or hurt your mouth in another way, take a look at what you need to know about teeth implants and your options.

What Is An Implant?

This dental device is not a removable prosthetic. Unlike dentures, an implant will stay in your mouth and fuse to the natural jawbone. As the name implies, the dentist will implant this restoration into your mouth. The bottom part of the implant system is a screw-like post that will go under the gumline. You won't see the post—but this doesn't mean it won't play a major role in the structure of the implant.

Over time the natural bone in your jaw will grow around the post. This creates a solid anchor for the rest of the implant device. After the bone begins to grow around the post, the dentist can add the rest of the permanent implant system. This includes a connector (known as an abutment) and a crown (a prosthetic or fake tooth).

How Can An Implant Correct An Injury?

An impact to your mouth from a flying baseball, during a car accident, as your slip and fall, or from another similar source can knock out a tooth, cause it to chip, or cause it to crack. If the tooth is lost, you will need to replace it. Beyond the aesthetic issues, a missing tooth leaves a gap behind that can cause your other teeth to shift out of place, make it difficult to speak, or make it challenging to eat.

Even though it's possible to repair cracks and chips, some types of serious damage are too severe for the dentist to fix. Significant injuries to a tooth can leave a nerve exposed, open the tooth up to infection, or cause pain. If the dentist can't save the entire tooth, they may remove (extract) it and replace it with an implant.

How Soon After An Injury Can You Get An Implant?

The answer to this question depends on the type of injury, your overall health, and whether you lost the tooth or not. Again, if you still have a tooth or part of a tooth, the dentist will need to remove it before placing the implant. This may require more than one office appointment. The dentist can extract the injured tooth during the first appointment.

If there is not enough natural jawbone to support the implant, you may need a graft. The graft will take time to grow. You may need to wait several months until the jawbone is sturdy enough to support the implant's anchor. Patients who don't need a graft will go straight to the next step — post placement. You may need a temporary crown as you wait for the anchor to fuse with the bone. After your mouth heals, you will get a permanent prosthetic to complete the dental implant.

To learn more about dental implants, contact a dentist in your area.