According to the American College of Prosthodontists, one hundred seventy-eight million Americans have at least one or several missing teeth. Missing teeth stem from an injury, periodontal disease and primarily decay. For the longest time, those with missing teeth only had dentures and bridges as treatment options. However, we now have dental implants as an alternative.
Dental implants are fixtures made of metal and, via surgery, placed in the jawline. The metal dental fixture and used to mount the artificial tooth. The metal used is preferably titanium or zirconia. This metal fuses with the bones through a process known as osseointegration. It takes a while for the process to complete before the artificial tooth is mounted. However, after this process, your teeth will look as good as your natural ones.
Why are Dental Implants Important?
Dental implants help with the natural function of a tooth. In addition, it establishes the regular operation of chewing and improves aesthetics.
Here are three teeth replacement options:
- Fixed dental bridge
- Dental implants
For dentures, they can be pretty affordable when faced with tooth replacement. However, they can be very inconvenient, considering they come with a removable appliance. Besides, dentures may alter one’s sensory abilities as well as taste.
When it comes to bridgework, they use your natural teeth as support—dental implants use the jawbone as an anchor.
When to choose dental implants:
- You are missing a single or several teeth
- Your jawbone can withstand the surgical procedure
- Your oral tissues are in healthy
- Dentures are not an option for you
- You have the time required for the procedure
There are two types of dental implants:
Endosteal dental implants are placed in the bone. The subperiosteal implants are placed just below the gum tissue.
Endosteal implants are preferred because of their positive long-term results.
Apart from replacing the teeth, dental implants can also be used to support dentures. It enables the denture to be more secure and comfortable. Also, when it comes to orthodontic procedures. Dental implants may work as temporary anchorage devices to move the teeth to the desired location, and the implant and removed after the process is complete.
The surgical team will assess your jawbone to determine its suitability for an implant procedure and determine the best location for the implant.
During the procedural visits, anesthesia or sedatives are used to keep the patient out of pain.
The first step is tooth extraction. Despite losing a tooth, its root is usually still embedded. So after removal of the tooth’s root, bone is used to replace the root to form a strong base for the incoming prosthetics. Next, a couple of months of healing is required. During the healing period, for aesthetic purposes, a temporary denture may be necessary.
The quality of the bone highly determines the healing period. During healing, stress and any kind of force should be avoided on the location. Also, go for checkups as scheduled.
Once healed, the dental implant underdoes testing to ensure it has synced adequately with the jawbone. Afterwards, a prosthetic component known as “abutment” goes in through a screw. Its purpose is to hold the artificial tooth in position correctly.
Your doctor will then create an “abutment” impression. The crown will then either be secured by the use of a screw or cemented to the abutment.
Any surgery is bound to have risks, and dental implants pose some as well. However, it’s important to note that this procedure usually has few risks, and If they occur, they are easily manageable.
- Infections at the implant area
- Damage or injury to the tissues around the implant location like blood vessels and other teeth.
- Damage of the nerves leading to the extreme pain
- Sinus problems may occur if an implant is placed on the upper jaw, leading to a protrusion to the sinus cavity.
Dental implants have many benefits, ranging from a better smile to easier eating. They also add to one’s self-esteem and better oral health. However, to avoid any healing issues, if you undergo smoking should be avoided. It’s important to note that successful treatment happens in most cases.
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