A dental implant is an artificial tooth root usually made of titanium, used to replace a missing tooth or teeth that have been extracted due to gum disease or tooth decay.
The implants are embedded directly into the jaw bone and will be treated like natural teeth. This job is done by dentists, surgeons, periodontists or prosthodontists.
Dental Implant Materials
Titanium is a unique biomaterial that makes it an ideal material for the dental implant. It is resistant to corrosion and resists acid and salt solution. Additionally, it is nonmagnetic and as strong as steel.
The human body does not recognize titanium implant as foreign objects. The capacity of titanium to join the bone is one of the characteristics that makes it most suitable for dental implants. When the implant is placed in the jaw bone, the bone grows and attaches itself to the implant. This process is called as osseointegration.
Implants made of titanium are available with different types of surfaces. These surfaces are treated with different methods to improve the osseointegration. The procedures which are used to improve the osseointegration are acid etching, sandblasting, plasma spraying and laser treatment.
Root-form Endosseous Implant Procedure
When you go to the dentist, he or she will decide what kind of implant will suit you. But most of the dental implants placed today are the root-form endosseous implant. Root-form dental implants are also called endosteal implants. It resembles the actual tooth root. It is available in different shapes and sizes. Some are screw-shaped, others are cylindrical and even cone shaped.
These types of dental implants are successful when placed in deep and wide bone. If the person does not have good quality jaw bone, then bone grafting may be required to improve the quality of bone. Bone can be taken from elsewhere in the body such as the mouth or from other parts of the body such as the hip.
This type of implant is normally placed in two steps. In step one, your dentist will give you anesthesia and expose your jaw bone to place the implant. The gums are closed covering the implant. This procedure takes approximately one hour for placing one implant. Then the implant is allowed to heal for a period of three to six months. During this period, surrounding bone attaches itself to the implant and osseointegration takes place. When the healing is complete, under the local anesthesia the implant is again exposed and an abutment is attached to it. Now the abutment can serve as a base for crown, denture or bridge.
Root-form implants can also be inserted in a one stage procedure. In this procedure, the root-form endosseous implant is inserted into the bone and remains exposed.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Root-form Endosseous Implants
The main advantages of root-form endosseous implants are that they mix well with natural teeth. Root-form implants are very strong and also last a long time.
However, there are also some disadvantages. Those who have thin bones may not be suitable candidates to get an implant. As well as this, it is a very costly procedure. Those who have poor health may also not be suited to this type of implant.