Dental Implants: Everything You Need to Know
Missing teeth can have a detrimental impact on your self-confidence and ability to enjoy food, and affect your overall quality of life.
In decades gone by, those with missing teeth had three options: Removable complete dentures that sit on the gums, removable partial dentures that sit in between remaining teeth – both of which can be a source of embarrassment and self-consciousness – or dental bridges. These often involve the irreversible drilling of the remaining natural teeth. In the modern age, there is now an alternative that has become the new gold standard for replacing missing teeth: dental implants.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are titanium fixtures that are surgically inserted into the upper or lower jawbone by our highly skilled implant dentist when the missing tooth is.
How Do Dental Implants Work?
The fixtures fuse with the bone in a process called osseointegration and, thus, mimic the root of a natural tooth. After healing, the implant(s) can be used as the foundation for cementing or screwing implant-retained prostheses such as dentures, crowns, and bridges on top, thus replacing the tooth or teeth that are missing.
Who Is Suitable for a Dental Implant?
Many individual factors affect whether you are suitable for dental implant surgery, and whether it’s likely to be successful. This includes your medical history, oral hygiene, periodontal (gum) health, smoking status, the amount of bone you have in the area where the implant(s) will be placed, and the quality of that bone. We’ll identify these factors through a comprehensive consultation, clinical examination, x-rays, and three-dimensional CT scans with one of our experienced clinicians. This will allow us to discuss the specific outcomes you wish to achieve.
What Is Involved in Dental Implant Surgery?
First, any damaged, hopeless teeth that are still present must be removed. A healing period of up to several months may be needed before the implant(s) can be placed. In some cases, they can be placed immediately at the extraction site.
If the teeth to be replaced are already missing, a small cut is made in the gum above the bone where the implant is to be placed. A circular hole is then made in the bone, and the implant is inserted. Depending on the type of implant treatment being completed, the gums may then be stitched over and the implant left to fuse fully to the bone for up to several months. Later, the gum is then cut again, allowing the implant to be uncovered, and the prosthetic tooth or teeth are loaded onto abutments. These are small devices that connect the implant to the prosthesis. Sometimes, the implant can be loaded with a provisional prosthesis as soon as it is placed, avoiding the need to wait with a missing gap.
For some patients, additional measures, such as a bone graft or a sinus lift, may also be needed to ensure adequate anchorage and space for the implant to fuse within the jawbone.
Take the Next Steps:
Read more about what dental implants are and the different types of implant dentistry that are available [Link to Blog 2], or contact us today to book a consultation and begin your journey to a new smile.
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