It’s highly likely that you may already know people who have undergone dental implant treatment and hopefully their experience has been positive. Dental implants can be excellent for replacing missing teeth and this treatment is fast becoming the gold standard for dealing with tooth loss. In spite of this, how much do you know about the treatment and what to expect?
What Is a Dental Implant on How Does It Work?
Dental implants are actually pretty straightforward, generally consisting of three separate parts that include an implant post or screw that is inserted into your jawbone, an abutment that is attached to the implant post or screw and which protrudes just above your gum line, and the final tooth restoration that will cover up the abutment. The idea behind using a screw or post is that it will bond with your jawbone during a process called Osseo integration. This is where new bone cells begin to grow on the specially treated implant post, eventually holding the post firmly in place so it cannot move even a fraction. This bonding process helps to ensure the implant post is strong enough to hold a replacement tooth. Dental implants can be used to support implant crowns, bridges or complete dentures.
Why Is Dental Implant Treatment Often Better Than Other Alternatives?
One of the reasons why implant treatment can be better than other alternatives is because of the way the implant post artificially replaces a tooth root. Your natural tooth roots are important for good dental health. Every time you bite down on a tooth, the sensation is transmitted through the crown of the tooth or the part you can see in your mouth, right down through the tooth root and out into the surrounding bone. This has the effect of stimulating the bone so that any old bone cells are continually replaced. Once a natural tooth root is removed, this no longer happens and old bone cells are no longer replaced and the jawbone gradually begins to resorb. Most of this resorption takes place the first year after tooth loss which is why it’s so important to think about replacing lost teeth as soon as possible.
Dental implants can also be more aesthetically pleasing, especially when used to replace single teeth. A top rated dentist can create beautiful new implant teeth that amazingly realistic, using the highest quality materials. We make sure these teeth are designed to provide the correct amount of support for your cheeks and lips, avoiding that sunken-in look that can be so prematurely aging in people who have suffered multiple tooth loss.
This treatment can be fantastic for people who have uncomfortable dentures and who hate being limited to easy to chew or softer foods. With dental implants, eating should be more pleasurable and teeth will be held firmly in place, making it easier to socialize with complete confidence. For people who lost teeth many years ago, replacing them with implant supported teeth can also help rejuvenate their appearance as often the dimensions between their upper and lower jaws will have been diminished by bone loss. Restoring the correct dimensions provides the proper support for cheeks and lips, helping to fill out fine lines and wrinkles.
Getting Started on the Treatment Process
If you are missing teeth or are facing tooth loss then initially you will need a consultation with a good dental implant dentist. During this first consultation, a dentist will closely examine your mouth and will want to know your medical history to determine if dental implants will be helpful for you. Generally, dental implants can be used to treat most cases of tooth loss, but there are occasions when an alternative solution may be preferable. A really good dentist will carry out a very careful assessment and only recommend implant treatment if they feel it’s suitable for you. If you decide to go ahead, your dentist will need to take x-rays and a CT scan, and we may want to take photographs and possibly dental impressions to plan initial treatment. This might seem like a lot, but when the time comes for the actual surgery it’s important for your dentist to know exactly where to insert the dental implants for optimal results and this ensures treatment is faster and more comfortable for you.
What to Expect during Surgery
The actual procedure to insert a single dental implant is surprisingly quick and can be completed in as little as an hour. Often treatment can be completed under local anesthetic, but it’s up to you and if you are nervous then please talk to your dentist so they can provide you with additional sedation. The best dentist will want to make sure you feel comfortable at all times and are relaxed as possible during your visit. If you require multiple dental implants then it will take a bit longer and additional sedation might be helpful. Once the implants are in place, they must be left to heal and integrate with the jawbone and this generally takes at least three months. One thing we know lots of people worry about is if they will be left without teeth and we would like to reassure you that we will not leave you without a smile.
With some implant treatments, it’s possible to attach new teeth quite quickly, but your dentist will always provide you with some sort of temporary restoration that should look and feel pretty good until your permanent teeth can be fabricated. Your dental office will also give you loads of information on how to care for the surgery site while it heals. It’s not unusual to feel minimal discomfort, if anything at all, particularly after just having a single dental implant. However, a prescription for pain relief can always be provided, or advice on over-the-counter painkillers just in case you are at all uncomfortable once the anesthetic wears off.
Once your implants have fully integrated with your jawbone, we can provide you with your permanent teeth. These will look far better and will feel more comfortable than your temporary teeth and you will be able to use them to bite into food and to chew quite normally. This can be amazing for people who previously had complete dentures as the range of foods they can now be eaten will be far greater, making mealtimes that much more enjoyable.
Looking after Your Implant Teeth
With the correct care, your implant teeth should last for many years but it is important to make sure you keep your dental implants clean. This is simple to do and your dental team can provide you with lots of information on how to brush and floss your dental implants or how to use other tools such as interdental brushes to keep them clean. It’s vital to keep up with your regular checkups and hygiene appointments, even if you have lost all your natural teeth as we can keep a close eye on your dental implants and your overall oral health.