Dental implants are becoming an increasingly popular choice to replace missing teeth, and although it can take several months to complete the procedure, the final result is the next best thing to being able to grow a new tooth. With proper care, implants should last for many years. They have been used for decades and have an extremely high success rate, while the actual procedure is very safe. The implant post that is placed into the bone is made from titanium, which is an extremely biocompatible element that is used in many medical capacities.
What are the advantages of dental implants?
Dental implants are completely secure, and unlike bridges don't require any healthy teeth to be filed down. It’s far more comfortable to have implants as opposed to dentures, which can move around or rub. Nobody need ever know you have had them done.
When a tooth is removed the surrounding bone is no longer stimulated and tends to reabsorb. This creates problems for people with bridges as it can lead to unsightly gaps forming as the bone disappears. It's also a considerable problem for denture wearers as over time the bone reabsorbs so much there is little left to hold the denture in place, causing it to move around and become uncomfortable. Bone loss can also affect facial structure as there is less to support the cheeks and lips.
Implants help preserve the bone by stimulating it in much the same way as natural tooth roots do, as every time you bite down the implant post acts as an artificial root. Bone isn’t lost, so patients retain a more youthful looking appearance.
What does the procedure involve?
It’s necessary to determine whether the bone in the region to be implanted is of sufficient density and quantity which is usually determined by use of x-rays and CT scans. These also enable us to see exactly where the implant should be placed. During surgery your gum will be opened up and the implant placed into the jawbone, after which the gum is sutured back into place. The procedure is carried using regular dental anesthetic, and is relatively quick. You may experience slight discomfort afterwards but this is generally easily controlled by over-the-counter painkillers, and should soon pass.
The implant needs to be left to osseo integrate with the bone for a period of at least three months so that it is sufficiently strong enough to support a crown that will be able to withstand normal biting pressure. During this time we will make sure you have a temporary appliance to enable you to eat and smile.
Once the implant has integrated sufficiently with the bone, the abutment can be fitted. This is placed onto the implant and is essentially a little post that protrudes above the gum and supports the crown. An impression is then taken and sent off to our laboratory. They will custom make your crown according to our prescription in the same shade as your natural teeth, so the finished restoration is aesthetically pleasing, looking exactly like a natural tooth. After it is fitted you will be able to eat and drink as normal.