Dental Implant Procedure – What You Need To Know

Most people suffer from different dental issues or accidents that cause them to lose one or more teeth. Losing your teeth can affect you in different ways, both physically and emotionally, but you can get dental solutions like a dental implant to restore your smile. Read on to find out more.

What Are Dental Implants

Dental implants are restorative dental devices with a screw-like metal, which the dentist fits into the jaw to hold other dental devices like bridges to replace missing teeth. Dental implants have three main components. They include:

  • The root, usually made of titanium
  • An abutment, which attaches to the head of the implant and rests above the gum line, creating a base for prosthetic teeth
  • Dental restoration like a denture, bridge, or crown

Benefits Of Dental Implants

dental implant

Dental implants offer several benefits, including the following:

Makes Eating Easier

With dental implants, you have no eating restrictions, and you can chew the way you do with your natural teeth. Dental implants make chewing different kinds of food easy, unlike other dental restorative devices like dentures.

Prevents Bone Loss

When you lose your teeth, you become at risk of losing your jawbone in the long run because the bone does not receive stimulation. Dental implants act as the root of the natural teeth, preventing loss of the jaw bone.

Ensures Healthy Teeth

Unlike other dental restorations like crowns, veneers, and bridges that require the dentist to file down your healthy teeth, dental implants will replace your missing teeth without affecting your healthy teeth.

Improves Self-esteem

Replacing your missing teeth with dental implants gives you a better-looking smile. It improves your appearance, boosting your self-esteem and allows you to smile more often and interact better with people.

Improved speech

When you have one or more of your teeth missing, it could affect your speech production because you won’t pronounce certain words correctly. Unlike dental bridges, your dental implant cannot slip or fall out while you talk.

How Long Do Dental Implants Last?

Your dental implants can last for as long as you live, but certain factors contribute to your dental implants’ longevity.

A good dental hygiene routine and following your dentist’s care advice will prevent plaque and calculus, responsible for making your implants fall off. You also need to attend your dental check-ups and cleaning for your dental professional to examine your dental implants.

If you do not care for your dental implants, they will accumulate bacteria which causes gum infection, bleeding, bone deterioration, and pain.

Who Can Get Dental Implants?

Anyone with missing teeth can get dental implants, provided they have healthy teeth, gums and bone. Your dentist would have to examine your teeth and gums and check your medical history to determine whether you are suitable for dental implants treatment or not. 

However, the following are generally requirements that make you suitable for dental implants:

  • Having sufficient jaw bone to hold the implant
  • Being 18 and above
  • A good general and oral health.

If you have conditions that affect your natural healing process or have had radiation therapy around your head and neck region, you may not be suitable for dental implants. Conditions like heart disease and diabetes can also prevent you from getting dental implants.

Dental Implant Procedure

dental implant procedure

If you’ve decided to get dental implants, you will need to schedule an appointment with your dentist to examine your oral health, take x-rays of your mouth, and then create a personalized treatment plan for your dental implant.

If you have insufficient jawbone to support the implant, your dentist may perform a bone graft, and then you would have to wait for about six months before the implant placement.

During the implant placement, the dentist will insert the implant in the missing tooth’s socket using a special drill. As your jawbone heals, it grows around the implant root to help secure the dental implant in place. Healing usually takes about 6 – 12 weeks.

When the implant has integrated with your jawbone, your dentist will attach the abutment, which will hold the crown, removable denture, or bridge. Your dentist will have to take teeth impressions to make the dental restoration which is attached to the abutment.

Types of Dental Implants

Different types of dental implants are available to cater to various dental needs. The implants available can replace a missing tooth or several missing teeth.

The different types of implants include:

Endosteal implant

Endosteal implants are used for the lower and upper jaw. When placed in the jaw, they take about 3 – 6 months to bond with the jawbone and heal. To get an endosteal implant, you need sufficient jawbone to hold the implant.

Subperiosteal implant

Subperiosteal implants have an elongated metal arch molded to cover the length of the exposed jawbone. The dentist can attach the frame of this implant to the jawbone and sew the gum to hide the implant base. A subperiosteal implant is best for patients with a lower jawbone.

Transosteal implants

Transosteal implants are best for the lower jaw because their placement requires drilling through the jaw. During its placement, the dentist will attach the implant’s metal plate to the jaw’s underside, then thread the implant through the hole in the jaw before screwing the metal plate in place.

The head of the screws protrudes out of the gum line, serving as the post for fixing a dental bridge or denture.

Risks and Complications

Like other dental procedures, placing dental implants has a few risks and potential complications, so it is essential to care for your oral health to reduce the risk of complications and aid your healing process.

Ensure your dentist knows about your existing health conditions, allergies, and blood disorders before the procedure to create a treatment plan that would prevent complications.

Although the dental implants procedure has a high success rate, there’s the risk of infections, poor positioning of the dental implant, damage to the surrounding area, and damage of the dental implants. 

After the dental implant placement and the anesthetic wears off, you may feel a little discomfort and pain, but over-the-counter pain medication can alleviate the pain.

Aftercare

Caring for your dental implants is the same as caring for your natural teeth. You have to brush your teeth regularly, floss and use an antimicrobial mouthwash daily if you want your dental implants to remain healthy. Ensure you visit your dental professional often, at least every six months, for dental check-ups and cleaning.

Cost of Dental Implants

The cost of getting dental implantsvaries depending on the amount of work needed, location, and dentist’s expertise. If you need extensive preparatory work before your implant placement, you will pay a considerably higher amount than someone you can get the implant without prep work like bone grafting.

It is best to visit your dentist to assess your needs before the implant placement to know your dental implant cost. Generally, dental implants are affordable and save you more money in the long run because you may not need to undergo another dental procedure in the future to replace your missing teeth.

In Summary

Implants are an effective dental solution for replacing one or more missing teeth. They function like natural teeth, make chewing easy and improve your oral health and aesthetics. Your dental implants do not require special care and can last a lifetime if you have a good oral hygiene routine.

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