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What to Know about Dental Implants

If you’re conscious of your teeth because they are crooked, missing or out of shape, then dental implants may be the answer to all your prayers. The introduction of implants can be attributed to advances in modern technology in the dentistry industry.

Dentures are a thing of the past to replace teeth. While they are the inexpensive option, they come with their disadvantages. For example, they take time to maintain as they must be removed and cleaned regularly to avoid any infections or disease, such as gum disease. They may also be uncomfortable, if they were never fitted properly, and may also cause embarrassment when they become loose and fall out while eating. If you already have dentures and feel that any of the problems mentioned above are annoying, then dental implants may be the way to go. But what are dental implants?

 

What are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are commonly used as a substitute for missing or damaged teeth. An implant is made up of a root and a crown. The root portion (the implant) is attached to the crown (the tooth portion) through the use of a screw or an abutment.

Diagram of dental implant

 

This type of dentistry is surgical as it requires metal posts or frames to be surgically placed into the jawbone beneath the gums.

As well as being a surgical treatment, dental implants are more expensive than dentures, take longer to implement and have a longer recovery time. These facts may sound quite scary but in the long-run there are many advantages of an implant:

  • They look and feel like natural teeth
  • They are anchored firmly in place, so they won’t have any negative effect on speech or they won’t fall out while you eat
  • They are very strong
  • If properly cared for, dental implants can last forever without the need for any replacement

 

Dental Implants Procedure

If you’re interested in finding out more about dental implants, we have outlined what the procedure involves:

  1. Removal of real/old tooth

The first step for implementing dental implants is to remove the old tooth, if it hasn’t fallen out or been knocked out already. It’s just like any other tooth extraction procedure, and simply requires removing the entire tooth from the gum.

  1. A titanium implant is added

A titanium implant is put into the space where the roots of the old tooth used to be. Titanium is used because it is a very strong metal that is bio-compatible (this means that the metal doesn’t cause any undesirable effects in the body and the body does not reject the material). Another advantage of using titanium is that when it is placed adjacent to bone, it will normally fuse with the bone tissue. This process is known as ‘osseointegration’. This makes a titanium implant very strong, and it won’t move around.

  1. Time is given for osseointegration to take place

If the implant is for a tooth replacement, some time is needed for osseointegration to take place. Allowing time for this process to take place allows the implant to be stronger, thus there will be less chance of problems occurring in the future. Usually the waiting time is 3 months, and in many cases, it may be necessary to wait even 6 months.

  1. A crown is fitted

Once the dentist is certain that sufficient time has been given to osseointegration, the next step is to fit an abutment (or a screw) onto the implant. This abutment is what’s used to bond the crown.

 

How much do Dental Implants Cost?

It is hard to put an exact figure on the treatment as prices vary according to the follow factors:

  • What part of the mouth the implant is being fitted
  • The number of teeth which are being replaced
  • How difficult the treatment is