What are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are tiny posts or screws made of titanium that are surgically inserted into the jawbone. When integrated, they serve as artificial tooth roots and anchor the replacement teeth to create the look, feel, and function of your natural teeth.
Unlike natural teeth, however, it’s impossible for dental implants to decay. Since the posts are made of titanium, with regular home care and professional cleaning dental implants can last a lifetime.
Why Choose Dental Implants?
Implants are an excellent solution for anyone suffering from tooth loss due to the fact that they look, feel, and function like natural teeth. When tooth loss occurs, the bony structure housing the tooth is no longer simulated and begins to shrink. This decreases the height and width of the jawbone where the tooth once sat.
As a result of this process, opposing and neighbouring teeth begin to migrate towards the open space. In addition to ruining a once straight smile, this also causes food to lodge in between the newly created gaps, resulting in decay and gum disease.
The good news is these tooth loss consequences can be easily prevented with a dental implant. Although there are several tooth replacement options, we recommend replacing a lost tooth or teeth with dental implants. Not only do they solve the bone loss dilemma, but they’re designed to look and work just like real, natural teeth.
By replacing missing teeth with dental implants, patients are also provided with the stability and strength needed to eat everything they love without worrying about cracking a denture or struggling to chew.
How Does the Implant Procedure Work?
The length of the treatment process and the number of appointments needed varies from patient to patient. Prior to treatment, any oral health issues, such as bone loss and periodontitis, must first be addressed before considering the implantation process. Once your dental professional decides your oral health is up to par for the implant procedure, your tailored treatment plan can begin.
During the first procedure, the titanium implant or implants will be placed. To do so, pilot holes are first skillfully drilled into the jawbone. Then the holes are slowly widened to provide enough space for the insertion of the implant screw. Then, the gum tissue surrounding the implant is secured overtop of it and a cover screw is placed over the gum to begin the healing and osseointegration process.
While this procedure typically takes place in a single sitting, the anchoring of the implant into the bone, referred to as osseointegration, can take 3-6 months. After the implants have anchored and healed, your dentist will attach an abutment to hold the replacement tooth or crown. In some instances, the abutment can be attached during the first procedure.
When the abutment is attached, a temporary crown will be created to allow the gum to grow and shape itself around. The implant process then ends with the insertion of a permanent crown.
Recovery and Aftercare
The recovery time and process varies from one procedure to the next, but in all cases, diligent oral hygiene is a must in order to prevent infection and ensure the proper fusing of the implant to the jaw bone.
Healing from the surgical implant procedure can take up to six months, while it can take an additional two months for the fitting and placement of the final crown. However, once again, the treatment, healing, and fitting timeframes vary from case to case. Fortunately, when properly cared for, dental implants can remain in place for decades of worry-free use.
Are You a Dental Implant Candidate?
The only way to determine if implants are right for you is to have a consultation with one of our dentists. During the consult, we’ll thoroughly examine bone density as well as your teeth and gums. This may involve the use of X-rays and CT scans to evaluate the bone structure and determine where the implants should be placed.
Based on your oral health, hygiene, habits, and commitment to strictly following the aftercare instructions, you’ll be advised of the most appropriate course of action. Although the ideal candidate is one with good oral health, healthy gums, and adequate jaw bone structure, there are additional treatment options, such as soft tissue grafts and mini implants, available as well. This makes dental implants a viable option for most patients suffering from tooth loss and decay.