Dental implants are a type of tooth replacement and are usually safe for people with good oral health. However, patients with certain medical conditions should seek medical clearance before undergoing dental implant surgery. These patients may experience jawbone resorption after tooth loss, and they may require bone grafting.
Dental Implants 101
Dental implants are biocompatible titanium dental appliances that act as the structure for a replacement tooth. They are placed in the jawbone, where they bond with the natural bone and create a strong foundation for the artificial tooth that will be placed on top. The artificial tooth is attached to the implant through a connector known as an abutment. The artificial tooth is secure and looks natural, and patients can eat and speak freely with confidence.
People who have missing teeth often find eating difficult. It’s hard to chew whole foods or make choices when eating out. Soft foods and softer snacks are common options. Going out to eat is even more difficult when you don’t know what to order. Dental implants are a great way to regain the ability to chew food.
Implant surgery is a routine procedure and can be done in a day. Implant surgery is usually performed under local anesthesia. During the procedure, failing teeth are removed, and the implants are placed in the jaw at planned angles and positions. Because titanium mimics the natural texture of jawbone tissue, the implants will eventually fuse with the jawbone and provide a stable biting surface. The procedure may take anywhere from one to three hours, depending on how many implants are replaced. Most patients will experience some post-operative discomfort, which can be managed with over-the-counter pain medications.
Types of Dental Implants
Dental implants are used to replace missing teeth. There are several different types available. The primary differences are the type of dental implant used and the type of procedure. Dental implants are placed either into the jawbone or into the jaw. There are also minor differences in the materials used and the shape of the implant. You should discuss your options with your dentist to determine which type is best for you.
The most common implant is made from titanium, a biocompatible material that can fuse with the bone. While this type of material is strong and durable, it can sometimes cause an allergic reaction in some patients. The process by which bone fuses to the implant is called osseointegration. During the healing period, bone cells attach to the implant and become permanently fused to the mouth.
Dental implants can also differ by size. For example, standard dental implants are typically 3.5 to 4.2 millimetres in diameter. These are the most commonly used implants and are placed toward the front of the mouth.
Dental Implants Vs Dentures
If you’re considering replacing missing teeth, you should compare dental implants and dentures. While dental implants are more permanent, dentures will need to be checked by your dentist frequently. Dentures will also affect your jawbone’s density and shift. They can also slip around and cause discomfort.
Dental implants are fixed into the jawbone and are attached to a crown to resemble a real tooth. Because they are non-removable, they are often cheaper than a full mouth of dental implants. Usually, four to six implants are needed for each jaw. Implant-retained dentures solve many problems with standard dentures, including slipping and fit issues. Additionally, implant-retained dentures will keep your mouth from sagging.
Dental implants are more secure than dentures because they’re anchored in the jawbone. However, to use them, you need enough jawbone density. In some cases, a periodontist will need to perform bone grafting to increase your bone density. The grafting material will fuse with the jawbone after a few months.