Dental implants are a popular and effective way to replace missing teeth and are designed to blend in with your other teeth. They are an excellent long-term option for restoring your smile. In fact, the development and use of implants is one of the biggest advances in dentistry in the past 40 years. Dental implants are made up of commercially pure titanium which is compatible with the human body. They are artificial tooth roots that are placed into your jaw beneath your gums, where they function as a sturdy anchor for replacement teeth.
So, if you are self-conscious because you have missing teeth, wear dentures that are uncomfortable or don't want to have good tooth structure removed to make a bridge, then get in touch with your dentist to see if dental implants are an option for you.
To receive implants, you need to have healthy gums and adequate bone to support the implant. You must also commit to keeping good oral hygiene.
Good general health is also an important factor. In fact, your health is more of a factor than your age. Chronic illnesses, such as diabetes or heart disease -- or patients who have had radiation therapy to the head/neck area need to be evaluated on an individual basis. Though these conditions don't absolutely preclude placing implants, however, patients with these issues are at an increased risk of failure of implants.
The use of bone building drugs, like bisphosphonates and anti-RANKL drugs require special consideration with implants, because they have been associated with a disorder called Bisphosphonate-associated osteonecrosis of the jaw (BRONJ).
Heavy smokers and those on long term steroid use are also at an increased risk of early implant failure, as it adversely affects bone formation.
Those with poor oral hygiene are at risk for gum diseases that affects implants called peri- implantitis, increasing the chance of long-term failures.
So, meticulous oral hygiene, maintaining general health and regular dental visits are critical to the long-term success of dental implants.
The first step in the dental implant process is the development of an individualized treatment plan. The plan addresses your specific needs and is prepared by a team of professionals who are specially trained and experienced This team approach provides coordinated care based on the implant option that is best for you.
The placement of a dental implant usually involves several steps:
Like with most oral surgeries, implant placement is accompanied by some degree of swelling, pain/discomfort and bleeding for the initial 2-4days. Your dentist would give you a set of instructions and medication to make the postoperative recovery period as short and pleasant as possible.
Initial healing takes about 5-10days. You will notice that you cannot see any implants in your mouth as the gums cover the area. Do not stretch your lip daily to inspect the area. This can cause wound breakdown. Once the gums have healed you will need to visit your dentist to get the sutures removed.
In many instances a temporary cap is placed over the implant, which looks like a tooth emerging through the gums. Be very cautious not to eat on these temporary caps as it will place undue movement on the implants below.
Over the next 3-6months you can proceed with your routine daily life. During this period, bone will start to grow around the implants and hold it firmly in place. It is important to keep a good healthy diet and maintain good oral hygiene. We strongly discourage smoking during the healing phase.
Periodic follow-up visits will be scheduled to monitor your implant, teeth and gums to make sure they are healthy.
Most people who have received dental implants say that there is very little discomfort involved in the procedure. Local anesthesia can be used during the procedure, and most patients report that implants involve less pain than a tooth extraction. After the dental implant, mild soreness can be treated with over-the-counter pain medications
Success rates of dental implants vary, depending on where in the jaw the implants are placed, medical condition and oral hygiene of the person etc. However, in general, dental implants have a success rate of up to 98%. With proper care implants can last a lifetime.
Teeth restored with dental implants look, feel and function just like natural teeth. As you know, your own teeth require conscientious at-home oral care and regular dental visits. Dental implants are like your own teeth and will require the same care. You need brush, floss and visit your dentist for regular check-ups and cleanings, same as you would to care for a natural tooth.