A dental implant can be thought of as an artificial tooth root that is submerged into the jawbone. When dental work such as a crown, fixed bridge or a full set of dentures is added, one or more missing teeth can be replaced. A dental implant is fabricated from a very strong, biocompatible material placed in a simple procedure that, generally, is as convenient as a tooth extraction. After an initial healing period, during which the implant is buried in bone and left undisturbed under gum tissue, it is uncovered and connected to a small metal post that secures and supports the artificial tooth.
The implant material is extremely biocompatible. The bone grows to the implant and bonds to it. This makes the implant very strong. The process is called ‘osseointegration’.
What Are the Advantages of Dental Implants?
There are many advantages to dental implants, including
Improved appearance Dental implants look and feel like your own teeth. And because they are designed to fuse with bone, they become permanent.
Improved speech With poor-fitting dentures, the teeth can slip within the mouth causing you to mumble or slur your words. Dental implants allow you to speak without the worry that teeth might slip.
Improved comfort Because they become part of you, implants eliminate the discomfort of removable dentures.
Easier eating Sliding dentures can make chewing difficult. Dental implants function like your own teeth, allowing you to eat your favorite foods with confidence and without pain.
Improved self-esteem Dental implants can give you back your smile and help you feel better about yourself.
Durability Implants are very durable and will last many years. With good care, many implants last a lifetime.
Convenience Removable dentures are just that; removable. Dental implants eliminate the embarrassing inconvenience of removing dentures, as well as the need for messy adhesives to keep them in place.
How Are Implants Done?
We first place an anchor in your jawbone that functions as the tooth root and is made from metals such as titanium. The anchor has a post that extends out of the anchor. Your new tooth will attach to the post. It takes 3 to 6 months for the jawbone to grow around the anchor and hold it in place.
When the anchor is well attached to the bone we cement the artificial tooth to the implant.
How Long Do Implants Take?
It depends on the type of bone, and where the implant is placed into your jaw. It can range from a few months to over 9 months. Generally, implants in the front lower jaw need around 4 months; the back upper jaw needs around 9 months and elsewhere in the mouth around 6 months. These times may need to be lengthened if bone needs to be grown or grafting has taken place.
What Happens Post Surgery?
You may have swelling and/or tenderness for a few days after the surgery, and your dentist may give you pain medicine. Your dentist may also suggest that you eat only soft foods for a period of time.
Once you have an implant, it stays in. You do not have to remove it for cleaning or soaking, as you do dentures.
It is just as important to brush and floss implants as it is with natural teeth. If bacteria build up on implants, you can end up with gum disease and bone loss.
Make an appointment today to find out more about your eligibility for an implant. Feel free to reach out to us on 1300 32 TEETH.