Are you currently missing one or more teeth? Perhaps you have teeth that are failing, and you know they will need removing soon? It’s a common dilemma, and if you have investigated how best to replace them, you will almost certainly have come across dental implants. Nowadays, more people choose to have this treatment, especially as it is a proven long-term solution. Dental implants are not new and have been widely studied over the past few decades, resulting in treatments suitable for replacing single or multiple teeth or entire arches. However, deciding how to replace your teeth can be a big decision to make. Here’s what you need to know about dental implants.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are screws or posts usually made from titanium alloy, a highly biocompatible substance. The implant screw is surgically inserted into the jawbone. Once in place, it begins to fuse with the bone surrounding it, a process called Osseointegration. Osseointegration is why implants provide such a strong and stable support for replacement teeth. It takes several months for the implant to become firmly anchored in place, by which time it can be restored with an implant crown. Multiple implants can support an implant bridge or a removable denture that clips onto the implants, holding the denture securely in position.
What Is the Procedure for Implants?
The procedure involves several steps. Initially, you will need a consultation to assess if you are suitable for treatment. The next stage is to carry out various diagnostic tests, including a cone beam CT scan that provides detailed 3-D images of your jaws and any existing teeth. We use these images to plan your implant surgery, deciding exactly where to place each implant. At this stage, we also determine if you need additional treatments. For example, this may include bone grafting if there isn’t enough bone to support the implants. Any failing teeth must also be removed. Sometimes it’s possible to remove teeth and place the implants simultaneously. If you only need a small amount of bone grafting, it may also be possible to place a bone graft at the same time as your implant surgery.
Typically it takes an hour or less to place a single implant. It does take longer to place multiple implants, but if you are concerned about the surgery, we can always discuss sedation dentistry to ensure you feel relaxed and comfortable. Once the surgery is complete, the implants need time to heal, but we can always provide temporary teeth during the healing process. We can make and fit your permanent implant teeth when healing is finished.
Benefits of Dental Implants
Dental implant teeth can look fabulous and will function similarly to real teeth. Additionally, the implant post closely replicates a real tooth root, protecting the bone around it. Dental implants are strong, providing good biting strength, so it’s easy to eat nutritious and enjoyable foods. Best of all, dental implants are suitable for just about anyone over age 18 and being older is generally not a barrier. It is more important to have good general health.