Dental Implants – What you need to know
If you have some dental problems and you have heard about the possibility of having dental implants as a solution to your problem, it is good to know what this means and what benefits it will give in case you go through the process.
Dental Implants are special posts that are surgically placed into the jawbone to replace missing teeth or to support a denture. The implant functions as the root of a tooth and, depending on the number of implants placed, it can be used to replace everything from a single tooth to a full complement of teeth. Crowns are then placed on top of the implant for a restored smile. Dental Implants are designed to look and feel as close to your natural teeth as possible.
Benefits of Dental Implants
The benefits of Dental Implants include:
- Missing teeth can be replaced without cutting down an adjacent healthy tooth
- Allowing the dentist to replace missing teeth even when a bridge is not an option
- Dental Implants can provide a stable base for dentures – particularly in the lower jaw
- Preserving and maintaining a healthy jawbone
- Improving speech and overall oral health
- Improving chewing abilities and smile restoration
How does it work?
Dental Implants are durable and both the front and back teeth are suitable for implants. Receiving dental implants is a two-step process. The first step is the implant placement where the titanium, alloy or ceramic implant is surgically placed in the jawbone and left to fuse. The second step is the implant restoration, where the replica tooth, crown or denture is fitted on top of the implant. It takes an average of 3-6 months for the jawbone to integrate with the implant before it can be used to support a dental restoration.
What to expect before receiving implants?
A few things we will be done before the implants can be inserted into the jawbone. These are to ensure we have complete knowledge before proceeding with the implants.
- X-Rays: These are taken to determine the condition of the gums.
- Impressions: This is basically a mold of your teeth, gums and surrounding tissue. We will use a plastic or metal tray and place it in your mouth. It will then be filled with soft liquid which will harden and set.
- Tooth extraction: The tooth causing you trouble will be removed (unless it has already been extracted). We can walk you through the different anesthetics for this when you are in the clinic.
- Implant placement: Finally, the implant (step 1) is ready to be placed.
- Restoration: This is where the permanent crown, replica tooth or denture is attached (step 2).
Disadvantages and Risks of Dental Implants
There is always a small chance that the dental implant will fail to integrate with the jawbone and have to be removed. Certain medical conditions can put you at a higher risk for implant failure. As with any surgery, there is a potential risk of surgical complications when placing a dental implant. Improperly positioned dental implants can make it difficult–if not impossible–to place a useful dental restoration in the mouth. Implant-supported restorations do not have the same feeling as a normal tooth and it is possible to put too much pressure on them when chewing which can lead to damage to the implant restoration.
Alternatives to Dental Implants
There are alternatives to dental implants. Bridges, dentures or partial dentures can replace missing teeth without the use of implants. The missing tooth or teeth can also be left without a replacement. However, leaving your tooth without a replacement can lead to other problems such as an unstable bite or unwanted movement of teeth.
Preparing for Dental Implants
We have some great tips to help you prepare for receiving dental implants. A consultation will be required, so we can examine your teeth and go through the options with you. The procedure itself could take between 1-2 hours for a single implant; this may vary, but our team will give you an estimate based on your consultation. Other tips to help you prepare for surgery are:
- Rinse your mouth with antibacterial mouthwash prior to your visit. This will help keep any germs at bay.
- Remember to take any prescribed antibiotics as per the labels.
- Organize transport to and from the dental clinic if you are being sedated.
- Keep the rest of your day clear. While you will not be in any pain after your surgery, you may feel some discomfort. Having the rest of the day clear will give you time to relax and begin the healing process.
Dental Implant After-Care tips
You should be careful not to disturb the surgical site immediately after surgery. This means no chewing on the side of the implant and taking careful cleaning methods for several weeks – month. We advise using saltwater and Savacol mouthwashes to keep the area clean.
On the day of the procedure, use ice to prevent swelling, eat soft foods and avoid really hot or really cold food or drinks.
It is important to note that the dental implant can take several months to completely fuse to the jaw, so fewer disturbances to the area will mean a higher success rate. If you have a temporary denture to replace your missing one, it is important that the denture does not rub on the surgical site.
Have questions? If you would like to know more about dental implants and whether they are right for you, contact us today to make an appointment.