Dental care is important for many people. Most people brush their teeth at least once a day, many floss, and many make regular appointments with their dentists. But over time or due to different circumstances, people may begin to have problems with their teeth which require them to get dental implants.
1. What are dental implants?
Dental implants act as replacements for the root of a tooth. An artificial tooth or multiple artificial teeth are attached to the implant and replace the spaces where one or more are missing. The implant itself is placed into the jawbone and will hold the new tooth in place.
2. What are dental implants made of?
Dental implants are made of titanium or titanium alloys. The reason for this is that titanium is the metal most compatible with the human body, which means the recipient’s body is less likely to reject the implant as a foreign object and will allow for osseointegration.
Osseointegration is the successful fusion of living bone with the implant. For this to occur, the immune system must accept the implant. If this occurs successfully, it will help to avoid infection and other negative reactions.
3. When would a patient need dental implants?
There are many modern uses for dental implants. They can be used to support both crowns and bridges – this means they can be used both in cases when there is only one tooth missing and when there are multiple teeth missing. They can also be used to support both fixed and removable dentures and as stabilizers for dentures that are moving too much.
4. What happens before the surgery?
Aside from the implant itself, there are many steps from beginning to end of an implant situation.
Before a dental surgeon can go in and do an implant, a dentist will examine the teeth and gums which will determine if implants are necessary and if the patient is eligible to receive them.
There will be x-rays taken and medical and dental history questionnaires will be given to the patient, all of which will help the dental professionals prepare a customized treatment plan for the execution of the surgery.
5. What else can be expected before a dental implant surgery?
Aside from the pre-examination, x-rays, and questionnaires, there may also be a need for some jaw or gum reconstruction before the actual implant surgery can take place.
This would only be necessary in some cases when there is not enough jawbone or gum to successfully complete the surgery. Depending on whether the patient is lacking gum, bone, or both, the surgeon will have to do a graft.
In these cases, the patient will have to wait for the graft to completely heal before they can return for the actual implant surgery.
6. What will happen during the surgery?
The surgeon will slice open the gum to expose the jawbone underneath. Then, the surgeon will drill a small hole into the jawbone which is where the implant will be installed. This procedure can take between one and two hours.
This is only the first step however, as the implant must heal for three to six months to give it time to fuse with the bone and for the gums to heal. Only then can the surgeon proceed with the next steps.
7. What are the next steps?
After the implant has successfully healed, the patient will return to have an abutment installed. This is the piece that will attach to the artificial tooth or teeth. Then, the artificial teeth are installed. Artificial teeth options include dentures, crowns, and bridges.
Once all that is healed, the patient will have a full set of healthy, functioning teeth once again.