Dental implants are replacements for missing teeth. When a tooth is lost, the teeth around it move to fill the gap, leading to various dental problems such as issues with one’s bite, unusual speech patterns, and misalignment. A dental implant not only restores function and appearance but can also enhance oral health by boosting jawbone health. But what are dental implants, and how do they work? Take a look at our summary, and then get a consultation at your local dental clinic to find out more.
What are dental implants?
Dental implants are artificial tooth roots that replace lost teeth. They are made from titanium— a metal that is biocompatible with the human body—and are surgically placed in the jaw to act as an anchor for a crown, bridge or denture.
With a success rate of over 95 per cent, dental implants are the next best thing to natural teeth, as they look, feel and function the same way. They provide better chewing power than conventional dentures and restore the wearer’s smile and self-confidence.
What is the Procedure for Dental Implants?
The process of receiving a dental implant is lengthy and meticulous, which is why it has such a high success rate. A recent study showed survival rates of implants after 3 and 5 years to be 99% and 97%, respectively.
The entire procedure for dental implants is not a quick process and takes part over several months. The key milestones during the treatment include:
1. Initial Consultation and Assessment
The initial consultation and assessment involve discussing your goals and past medical history. The dentist thoroughly examines your mouth to check the health of the teeth and gums. Tests and scans to assess the health of your jawbone may also be undertaken at this time.
If you are a suitable candidate, a customised treatment plan is created. The next steps involve having mouth impressions taken which are sent to a laboratory for your dental implant to be made and receiving a date for dental implant surgery.
2. Dental Implant Surgery
Dental implant surgery is a standard procedure carried out under a local anaesthetic in the dentist’s chair.
Dental implant surgery is relatively straightforward, and the implant generally takes a few months—if not up to a year—to completely integrate with the jawbone (osseointegration). Once it has, this artificial root becomes permanent and can last decades or even a lifetime.
The surgery generally takes between 1-2 hours per implant. It involves making an incision in the top of the gum to expose the jawbone. The dentist drills a hole in the bone and inserts the implant. The gum is then stitched back to cover the implant, allowing the area to heal for the required time.
3. Completion with Attachment of Artificial Tooth
The procedure is completed with the attachment of an artificial tooth in a minor procedure at the dental clinic.
Why not find a dentist that offers consultation appointments to determine whether a dental implant is a suitable treatment for you.
What are Dental Implants‘ Advantages and Disadvantages?
It’s hardly surprising that implants are one of the most preferred tooth replacement options:
- Feel, look and act like natural teeth
- Permanently secured—no worry about them falling out or slipping
- No restriction on what foods you eat
- Improve your appearance
- Help to maintain jaw health by encouraging new cells to grow in the jawbone
- Long-lasting with good oral health
- Do not require any special care—just regular brushing, flossing and check-ups
Dental implants have few disadvantages, but there are a few:
- The procedure takes time to complete
- It’s expensive compared to other tooth replacement options
- Not everyone is suitable for implants
Who is Not Suitable for Dental Implants?
It’s worth bearing in mind that some chronic health conditions or lifestyle habits may make you unsuitable for dental implants. But, this doesn’t mean you are excluded from having them, as every case is considered individually.
A long-term medical condition, such as diabetes, heart disease or osteoporosis, may make it more difficult to have a dental implant placed, although not impossible.
These conditions can affect the mouth in various ways, e.g. reducing saliva production, which makes gum disease more prevalent, impinging blood flow so that essential nutrients do not get around the body or weakening the bone so that a dental implant cannot be installed securely.
The body requires nutrients to heal and fight infection. Smoking inhibits blood flow which transports nutrients around the body. Thus, after implant surgery, there is a risk that dental implants can become infected, leading to their failure and necessitating removal. Furthermore, the long-term health of implants can be affected by smoking which can lead to peri-implantitis — a disease similar to gum disease that affects the tissue surrounding implants.
What are Dental Implants? The Final Word
Dental implants are an excellent innovation for restoring missing teeth with a solution that looks, functions, and acts like natural teeth. Find out more about them with a dental consultation near you in St Marys and schedule an appointment with Pearl Dental Care or call us on (02) 9158 6312.
Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.
International Journal of Implant Dentistry: Implant success and survival rates in daily dental practice: 5-year results of a noninterventional study using CAMLOG SCREW-LINE implants with or without platform-switching abutments
Medical News Today: What problems can occur after dental implant surgery
Evidence-Based Dentistry: How do different levels of smoking affect dental implants?
Br. Dental J: Peri-implantitis. Part 1: Scope of the problem