Dental Implants are another fixed solution to replace missing teeth. Implants and their attached crowns, look and function like natural teeth, and can help to restore your smile.
They are extremely durable and are an attractive alternative to dentures and bridges. Implants can replace one or several missing teeth and in some cases an entire set of artificial teeth can be carried on them.
What exactly is a dental implant?
A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that is inserted into the jawbone. It looks similar to a screw, it is the “anchor” for the crown which is attached to the implant by an “abutment”. Dental implants are usually made from titanium.
What are the benefits of dental implants?
- Prevent bone loss in the jaw and may reduce the risk of neighbouring natural teeth becoming loose
- May prevent gum recession
- Do not require the reshaping of adjacent teeth unlike crown and bridges
- Do not usually require separate care routines or special cleaning products, unlike dentures and bridges
- Are usually more comfortable than dentures
- Are firmly secured in the jaw
- Can be cleaned like natural teeth with regular brushing and flossing
Suitability for dental implants
Your Dentist will discuss with you if dental implants are the best option in your situation. While most people can have dental implants, exceptions include;
Age – Implants aren’t recommended for Children younger than 17 as their bones are still growing
Bone loss – If there isn’t enough jawbone for the implant to be inserted, however there are bone replacement techniques that can be used to rebuild the bone
Smoking – As smoking can impair healing, this could cause the implant to fail
Pregnancy – Medications and General Anaesthesia (if needed) may be a risk to the unborn baby’s health
Medical Conditions – Some medical conditions can increase the risk of complications such as infection and delay healing.
Alcohol or drug abuse – Not following after care instructions properly can affect the implant’s success
Psychological Illness – Not being able to follow after care instructions properly can affect the implant’s success
Dental implant procedure
This treatment can take 3 to 7 months, sometimes more. If the tooth is already missing then the treatment may take 3 to 4 months.
If an existing tooth needs to be removed, then the implant can only be inserted after 3 months. It will then take at least another 3 months for bone integration with the implant. After this, the abutment is attached and it will be two weeks before the crown can then be attached. In total, this process may take up to 7 months.
Your general and oral health can affect the amount of bone, healing rate, the degree of integration between the implant and bone, as well as the extent of any other oral health problems. There are usually three separate stages involved when using dental implants;
- The insertion of the implant into the bone
- The insertion of the abutment
- The attachment of the crown to the abutment.
Your Dentist will discuss with possible complications and aftercare in detail. Dental implants are a strong, long lasting, and natural looking option to replace missing teeth.