What is Dental Implant?
When you lose a tooth due to a disease or injury, you can undergo complications like defective speech, accelerated bone loss, or changes in your chewing patterns. Using a dental implant to replace a missing tooth could significantly improve your life and well-being. What are dental implants? An implant is a medical device that is implanted through surgery into the jaw to boost a patient’s appearance or ability to chew food. A dental implant tooth has two components: a body and abutment. It could also come with an abutment fixation screw. A dentist attaches an implant abutment to the implant body using the abutment fixation screw. Dental implants extend through the gums into your mouth to serve as support for implant teeth. Dental implants prevent the jawbone from shrinking due to bone loss and help keep the adjacent teeth stable.
Different Types of Dental Implants
Endosteal Dental Implant
Endosteal dental implants are the most common type of implants. They are made from safe materials like titanium and resemble small screws. A dentist surgically inserts endosteal implants deep into the jawbone to assume the place of roots. The implants protrude through the gum to support replacement teeth. A dental implant can serve as an anchor for one or several teeth. Your dentist will determine whether you are a good candidate for endosteal implants. If you are not a good candidate for endosteal implants, your dentist will recommend alternatives.
Subperiosteal Dental Implant
If you need dental implants but don’t have ample healthy jawbone to support them, you could opt for subperiosteal dental implants. A dentist inserts subperiosteal implants under the gums but doesn’t drill them into the jawbone. Instead, the implants are placed on or above the bone instead of inside it. These implants enable patients to avoid bone grafting. They also allow a faster working of implanted teeth.
What Are the Benefits of Getting Dental Implants?
If you are considering dental implants, the likely question in your mind is; is a dental implant worth it? Why get dental implants? Implants have become a state-of-the-art solution for missing teeth due to their advantages over other treatments. With the recent innovations in dentistry, most people are candidates for dental implants, even those who previously couldn’t benefit from implants. What are the pros and cons of dental implants? Below are some of the health benefits of dental implants:
Dental Implants Resemble Your Natural Teeth
One of the main advantages of implants is that they resemble your natural teeth and restore your full chewing power. Many people cannot tell the difference between dental implants and their natural teeth. You can chew hard food with the implant tooth and brush and floss normally.
Dental Implants Are Long Lasting
Unlike dental bridges that last around ten years, dental implants can last for a lifetime. Implants are made from titanium, a body-safe metal that integrates with your jawbone. Titanium is bio-compatible, meaning that it is non-toxic, and your body will not reject it.
Prevents Jawbone Loss
When you lose a tooth, the jawbone deteriorates quickly since there is no stimulation. You will lose around 25% of jawbone volume if you don’t get an implant within the first year of losing a tooth. An implant provides the needed stimulation to the jawbone, enhancing natural bone growth.
Stabilizes the Adjacent Teeth
If you have a gap from a missing tooth, the adjacent teeth could shift towards the gap. A dental implant keeps the adjacent teeth in place.
The other benefits of dental implants include keeping you free from gum disease and preventing premature aging and facial sagging.
What Are the Risks and Disadvantages of Dental Implants?
Dental implants are often a preferred treatment to replace missing teeth. However, this does not mean that dental implant systems are perfect. Below are some of the disadvantages of dental implants teeth:
Dental Implants Require a Surgical Procedure
The placement of a dentistry implant involves surgery. Therefore, after the procedure, you will have stitches that you have to take care of. Some patients may not have enough bone to place the dental implant. Lack of ample jawbone volume is one of the leading reasons not to get dental implants. In this case, you would need to undergo bone augmentation or grafting. This procedure is more invasive and takes longer to heal.
Implants are Costly
Another reason not to have dental implants is that they are costly. Several implants could cost tens of thousands of dollars, while a single implant could cost you a few thousand dollars.
Failure of Dental Implants Components
A dental implant has four components: the implant that a dentist surgically places in the jawbone, an abutment that attaches to it, a screw that attaches the abutment to the implant, and a dental crown that a dentist fixes on top of the abutment. If any of these components fail, the implant will not function as intended.
Your Dental Insurance may not Cover Them
Another disadvantage of dental implants is that most insurance plans do not cover them. You should first consult your insurance provider before booking an appointment with your dentist.
You May Not be a Candidate for Implants
Who should not have dental implants? If you do not have enough jawbone volume, you are not a good candidate for dental implants. During your first appointment, your dentist will let you know if you can get implants.
What is the Process of Getting Dental Implants?
What are the steps for getting a tooth implant? If you’re getting ready for implants, you should understand the dental implant process step by step to know what to expect.
During the initial evaluation, your dentist will conduct a comprehensive examination. This exam will reveal the condition of your jawbone and help the dentist determine the appropriate dental implant procedure. The evaluation involves taking an x-ray, impressions of your teeth, and choosing an implant colour that resembles your natural teeth. The dentist will also discuss your medical conditions, any medications you are on, and the number of teeth you want to replace with the implants.
Extracting the Tooth
The dentist will remove the tooth that needs replacing. You can have the tooth extracted at the same time when the implant is placed.
Inserting the Implant
There are two main types of dental implants: one that goes under the gum line and one that is inserted into your jawbone. If your jawbone is not strong or thick enough, you may have to undergo bone grafting before the placement of the implant.
Placing the Abutment
Your dentist will place the abutment on top of the implant after confirming that the implant is strong enough. You will be under local anesthesia, meaning you won’t feel anything during the procedure.
Placing the Permanent Crown
Your dentist will make a crown or artificial teeth when your gums heal.
What is Advisable to Do After the Procedure?
Whether you undergo a one-stage or a multiple-stage dental implant placement, you might experience some discomfort like any other type of dental surgery. Some of the common discomforts are:
- Swelling on your gums or even the face
- Pain at the dental implant site
- Bruising of your skin or gums
- Mild bleeding
After implant surgery, you may need pain medications and antibiotics. You should contact your oral surgeon if the discomfort, swelling, or other symptom gets worse in the days following your surgery.
You should eat soft foods as you recover from the surgery. Usually, your dental surgeon will use stitches that dissolve on their own. If the dentist uses non-dissolving stitches, you have to go back to the dental office to have the stitches removed. Your dentist will advise you accordingly.
How to Take Care of Dental Implants
Most people often ask, how can I make my dental implants last? It is important to understand what you can and cannot do after dental implants. Certain efforts and techniques are necessary to ensure the longevity of your dental implants. Below is the recommended long-term care for dental implants:
Use a Soft Brush
You will probably need to switch toothbrushes after getting dental implants. It is advisable to use a soft nylon toothbrush with gentle bristles. Toothbrushes with stiff bristles could scratch the surface of the implants.
How do you clean under dental implants? By ensuring that you floss daily, you can remove food particles from the areas beneath the implants.
Avoid Abrasive Products
Another strategy for home care after dental implant surgery is avoiding abrasive products. Whether you buy toothpaste or mouthwash, you should go for sensitive products. Abrasive products could cause discomfort. Also, avoid products with intense flavours because they could cause an uncomfortable feeling in your mouth.
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