The only remedy decades ago for losing a tooth or teeth was a fixed bridge or removable dentures. This not only was difficult to maintain but also arduously discomforting.
A breath of fresh air was the introduction of dental implants.
So what is a dental implant?
Dental implants are artificial or man-made tooth roots which are placed in your mouth and used to support missing teeth. Metal frames or posts are placed surgically underneath the gums and into the jawbone. The artificial/man-made tooth is then placed on top of this structure. The implant needs to be placed into the jawbone because then this brings about stability. This stability allows the artificial/man-made tooth to not only look natural but also work and function like natural teeth. So, daily activities like eating, speaking etc. are carried out normally.
One may lose teeth because of some of the following reasons among others:
- Tooth decay
- Infection in the gums
- Excess wear and tear
- Mouth injury
- Genetic defects
Why Dental Implants?
Although a time consuming procedure, the outcome is well worth the effort and time.
- Your overall appearance and smile improves
- Improves your ability to speak comprehensively
- Improves how you chew food
- Improves your comfort levels
- Improves overall health
Are you fit for an Implant?
Success or failure of dental implants largely relies upon the patient’s health. Healthy gums and sufficient bone are required to support the implant. Whether just one tooth needs replacing or several, dental implants are a fit solution for all ages, with the exception of growing children. Meet with your dentist to know more.
Type of Implants
- Subperiosteal Implants – In this type, metal frames are merged into the gum tissue. In due course of time, when the gums heal, it allows for the frame to become secured to the jawbone. The frame is supported by posts which overhang through the gums. After the gum tissue and jawbone have healed, the artificial tooth is fixed and secured into the post.
- Endosteal Implants – In the type, the implant is surgically inserted straight on the jawbone. After the gum tissue and jawbone have healed, a second surgery is held for the post to be attached to the original inserted implant. After everything has healed, the artificial/man-made tooth is fixed to the post. For bridges and dentures that need the support of implants, the same method is used.
The implanting procedure
First schedule an appointment. During this time, the dentist will review your dental history, discuss the procedure, take x-rays and thoroughly examine your teeth, gums and jaw. You can discuss with the dentist if implants will suit you and if you’re a good candidate. This will not only help you get acquainted to the different procedures but also help you come to the conclusion of the best option for you.
Typically, dental implant restoration constitutes of a crown and a titanium material screw. A small hole is drilled into the site where the implant needs to placed, this hole acts as a guide for the titanium screw. After the drilling, the hole is widened so that the screw can be placed in there. Once the screw is in place, the surrounding gum tissue is covered over the implant and a protective cover screw is placed on top of the site which allows it to heal. It’s important to let your gums heal. The healing period can be anywhere up to 6 months. After everything has healed, the dentist will uncover the implant and attach a post. For this, they will take an x-ray to make sure that the implants have fused with the jawbone. Sometimes, the post can be attached even during the initial procedure. Once the post is secured, a temporary crown is placed in there which acts a template around which the gums grow and shape themselves in a natural manner. The entire process is complete when the temporary crown is replaced with a permanent one. To see the video click here
Caring for Dental Implants
The best part about implants is that they require minimal upkeep and very little of your time and if they are taken care of well, they do not need replacing. Few things that will keep your implants in good shape are:
- Brushing and flossing daily (goes without saying!)
- Routine dental visits
- No smoking
- Avoiding hard foods
Few Advantages of Dental Implants are:
- Can be easily cleaned just as natural teeth
- They don’t slip, shift or move and hence give you proper stability and comfort
- Preserves the shape of the jaw bone
- Enhances beauty
- They don’t look artificial
- Eliminates discomfort of dentures
- Aids in speech for those who had difficulty when they were missing teeth
Dental implants help you correct your oral health problems which include bad teeth, missing teeth, failing teeth, bad breath, gum disease etc. Whether it’s a single tooth or several, you can do it! If you’ve decided to get dental implants then congratulations! You’re making a life-changing decision and one that will re-establish your self-confidence and boost your quality of life.
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