Dental implants are a highly effective solution for patients who need to replace a missing or damaged tooth.
They look and feel like natural teeth, and are a great way of restoring a beautiful, confident smile. Here’s what you need to know about the treatment process.
What are dental implants?
Dental implants are essentially artificial tooth roots made of titanium, which is a biocompatible material. They are surgically attached at the site of the missing tooth root. The implant treatment process involves three separate parts: the dental implant itself (which acts as a root), the abutment (which provides stability), and the prosthetic crown (which looks like your natural tooth).
How do they work?
Implants work by fusing with the jawbone, much like a natural tooth root. Because dental implants are made from biocompatible material, your body is unlikely to reject them. The fusing process is known as osseointegration and may take up to three months to properly occur. Only once the implant has completely fused with the jawbone is it possible to begin the rest of the treatment process.
What does the procedure involve?
The entire dental implant process generally takes between four and six months to complete, and involves four separate appointments.
First, you will come in for an initial consultation, where we will assess your overall oral health. This assessment will include x-rays, which will allow us to determine whether or not you are a suitable candidate for implant treatment. The x-rays are also useful in checking if you have adequate jawbone density. If your jawbone density is too low, and you are not suited to implant treatment, there are a number of other options, which may be appropriate for you. These include a dental bridge, denture, or bone graft. We will advise you of the best treatment plan, depending on your specific needs.
If, however, you are suitable for treatment, your next appointment will involve the surgical placement of the implant. During this procedure, the implant is placed at the site of the missing tooth root and left to heal for three to six months.
When your implant has successfully fused to your jawbone, we will attach an abutment to the implant. The gum is closed around the abutment, which is then left to heal for up to two weeks. At this appointment, we will take a mould of your teeth, which will be sent to a laboratory so that your prosthetic tooth can be fabricated. An impression of your teeth is used to make the prosthetic tooth, so that it fits your mouth perfectly, and matches the colour and size of your natural teeth.
At your last appointment, your customised prosthetic tooth will be attached to the abutment.
How do I take care of my implant?
It’s important to stick to a healthy dental routine after your implant treatment is complete and to go for regular check-ups. Although your implant won’t decay, it is possible to develop gum disease. Be sure to brush and floss your teeth daily, and visit us for a general check-up and clean every six months.
Why get a dental implant?
If you have a missing or damaged tooth, there are a number of health benefits to getting a dental implant. Implants help to prevent your other teeth from shifting, which can cause crooked teeth and a misaligned bite.
One of the main benefits of a dental implant is that it can for a lifetime if you take good care of it. While the implant should last, the prosthetic crown may need to be replaced every 10 to 15 years.
Need an implant? Contact us today for more information or to make an appointment.