Dental Implants: What you should know before going for it

In spite of the improvements in dental health, many people still suffer from tooth loss; mostly due to gum disease (periodontitis), tooth decay, injury or failed root canal procedures. Previously, dentures and bridges were the most common solution to this problem but today, dental implants are becoming popular as well. Dental implants have proven to be secure, comfortable and effective.


What are Dental Implants?

The development of implants is arguably the most revolutionary advancement in the dental cosmetic industry in the last 50 years. They are artificial roots that are manufactured from light and yet tough metals such as titanium. This metal is implanted into your jawbone to replace the root of your lost tooth. An abutment or extension is then fixed to the implant, after which an artificial replacement tooth is placed on the implant. Hence, the implant holds your new tooth in place. If you have two or more missing teeth, your dentist will attach several implants so as to anchor the whole arch of teeth. In general, the procedure can be performed using local anesthetic, and the patient stays awake during the operation.

Who qualifies the Procedure?

This procedure may be the ideal option for an adult who is in a good state of health, with healthy oral tissues and bones. The jawbone ought to be strong enough because the implant will be anchored on it. In cases whereby the development of the jawbone is abnormal or has shrunk, the doctor may build it up through a bone graft (a method of fitting new bone into the jawbone), or place smaller implants.

Another important factor to consider is the cost for the procedure. By and large, this procedure is expensive and may not be covered by insurance. Nonetheless, you can shop around and find dentists offering it at slightly cheaper prices.

How is this Procedure Done?

First and foremost, x-rays will be conducted to ascertain whether the procedure will work for you or not. Next, the area where the implant will be fixed is cut and then pushed aside, before a hole is drilled into your jawbone. The implant is then closely fitted into this hole, and the gum tissue is replaced and stitched.

Once the implant is fixed, it is let to integrate with the bone and allowed to heal. This may take between six weeks and six months. During the healing process, the patient is given bridges or temporary teeth, or may continue using his/her dentures. Avoid applying pressure on your gums during this time.

When the implanted area finally heals, the gum is cut once more so as to attach a post to the implant and a temporary clown. The surrounding tissue takes about four to six weeks to mature. After this is done, the permanent replacement tooth is placed on the dental implant.

How to take Care of Dental Implants

The replacement teeth ought to be cleaned and flossed, just like natural teeth. Your dentist will show you the proper way of cleaning them. In addition, you will be required to attend periodic checkups so that the dentist can ensure that the implants do not get loose and if your bite is correct.