If you have decided that it may be time to improve the look of your teeth, for whatever reason, then you may possibly have wondered about whether dental implants are right for you.
Dental implants are certainly a very effective and long lasting way to replace missing teeth however the decision to go ahead with them is quite a major step. In this guide we can tell you all you need to know about dental implants.
What are dental implants used for?
They can be used to replace a single tooth, several teeth (even a full set of teeth) or even as an anchor to provide a stable base for loose dentures. Implants can also be used in the same way to provide stability and support to a fixed dental bridge. In short, then, dental implants can be the perfect answer to a whole range of issues in order to give you back your smile, improve your confidence and help you to face the world again. Never underestimate the importance of having a mouth full of healthy, functioning teeth when it comes to your general health and well-being.
So how does a dental implant work?
In short, a dental implant mimics the natural structure of your own tooth. The root of the tooth which is buried securely in the gum line is replaced by a high quality, strong titanium anchor to which a porcelain crown is attached. This will be a match for your own natural teeth. Titanium is used because it is tolerated by the human body usually without any complications.
The actual process of fitting a dental implant relies on the skill and knowledge of the dental surgeon who will of course take the utmost care to ensure that the procedure is carried out with professionalism and in safe and sterile surroundings. He or she will start by taking x-rays and/or CT scans of your teeth following extensive consultation with you. This is to establish that dental implants are the best option for you and that the quality and strength of your bone is sufficient for the implant.
The procedure is carried out in two parts under local anaesthetic, and sometimes further sedation, and first involves placing the titanium implant (the root) into the tooth socket. If the dental surgeon considers it necessary he or she may elect to add a bone graft to the area in order to strengthen the bone and firmly secure the implant. A temporary tooth will be fitted to ensure you don’t have an unsightly gap while the bone grows and strengthens around the implant which typically takes around 3-6 months but which can be longer in some circumstances.
Once the site of the implant has fully healed and firmly integrated with the bone your dentist will place a cap over the implant in order to take impressions of the implant site and of the whole mouth. Your newly-made tooth will be created from these impressions. This is sent to a specialist laboratory after which a connector post is attached to the implant. This as you might imagine is the part to which your custom made porcelain permanent tooth will be attached.
Just like natural teeth
Dental implants are ideal because they behave just like your own natural teeth; you can eat normally without worrying whether to bite hard or not. They will be comfortable and you will not be self-conscious about them. With careful regular maintenance and scrupulous cleaning, paying particular attention to the area between the gum and the tooth, they will last up to 10 years. Follow the advice of your dental professional to ensure the long-term success of your implants.