Dental implants: advantages,safety and procedure

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What are dental implants?

A dental implant is a structure that can help to replace a missing tooth. The implant itself is placed into the jawbone, serving as an artificial tooth root. A prosthetic tooth called a crown is attached to the implant.

Generally speaking, a dental implant is designed to be a permanent fixture in your mouth. Implant dentistry is now part of routine dental care.

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What Are the Advantages of Dental Implants?

There are many advantages to dental implants, including:

 

  • Improved appearance. Dental implants look and feel like your own teeth. And because they are designed to fuse with bone, they become permanent.

  • Easier eating. Sliding dentures can make chewing difficult. Dental implants function like your own teeth, allowing you to eat your favorite foods with confidence and without pain.

  • Improved speech. With poor-fitting dentures, the teeth can slip within the mouth causing you to mumble or slur your words. Dental implants allow you to speak without the worry that teeth might slip.

  • Improved comfort. Because they become part of you, implants eliminate the discomfort of removable dentures.

  • Improved self-esteem. Dental implants can give you back your smile and help you feel better about yourself.

  • Improved oral health. Dental implants don't require reducing other teeth, as a tooth-supported bridge does. Because nearby teeth are not altered to support the implant, more of your own teeth are left intact, improving long-term oral health. Individual implants also allow easier access between teeth, improving oral hygiene.

  • Durability. Implants are very durable and will last many years. With good care, many implants last a lifetime.

  • Convenience. Removable dentures are just that; removable. Dental implants eliminate the embarrassing inconvenience of removing dentures, as well as the need for messy adhesives to keep them in place.

How long do teeth implants last?

Dental implants are intended to be permanent. This is because they interface directly with the jawbone, becoming bonded with surrounding bone tissue through a process called osseointegration.

When osseointegration is complete, the material of the implant and the surrounding bone have fused. Because of this, the implant can serve as an artificial tooth root, forming a solid foundation for a prosthetic tooth.

While the implant itself is designed to be permanent, it’s possible that the crown attached to it may need to be replaced due to normal wear and tear. About 50 to 80 percent of crowns may need to be replaced in 15 to 20 years.

The Safety of Dental Implants

Most types of dental implants used today make use of titanium or titanium alloys. In fact, these are also used in orthopedic implants and even artificial hearts.

The main reason behind this is titanium’s impressive biocompatibility. Being biocompatible means that the material isn't toxic or harmful to living tissues.

As such, titanium implants shouldn't corrode or rust when placed inside living tissue. This makes them very safe and non-toxic to humans.

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How is a dental implant placed into the jaw?

Implants are inserted directly into your jawbone, typically using a two-step process. You will be given anesthesia during the procedure so you won’t feel any pain.

First, your surgeon will make an incision in your gums. They will then carefully drill into your jawbone to create a space for the implant.

After the implant is placed, your jawbone and gums will be allowed to heal. A crown is typically attached to the implant using a metal post called an abutment during a follow-up visit.

In some cases, an additional procedure may be needed prior to placing an endosteal implant. The aim of this is to provide the new implant with a sturdier foundation in your jawbone. Some examples of such procedures include:

  • bone grafts

  • sinus lift

  • ridge expansion

Implant procedures

Implant procedures can be performed in the dental office with local anesthesia.

The actual implant procedure involves several steps:

1. The site is prepared for the dental implants and the implant or implants are surgically placed into the jaw.

2. The jaw is allowed to heal for a period of up to three months. During this stage, the bone grows and bonds in and around the implant (this is also known as osseointegration). The dentist may create a temporary tooth replacement for the patient to wear over the implant site during the healing period usually about 1-3 months.

3. The implant is uncovered, and a connector piece called an abutment is attached. The gum is again allowed to heal for a couple of weeks following this procedure.

4. The restoration or crown is fabricated and permanently attached to the abutment.

Sometimes implants are placed and not covered by the gum tissue (one-stage) that do not require step 3 above. Either the implant system already has the abutment attached or the surgeon does not feel that covering the implant is needed for a normal healing process.

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What are mini dental implants and how long do they last?

Mini dental implants (MDIs) are narrower than other types of dental implants. They have a diameter of less than 3 millimeters, which is about the same as that of a toothpick.

Because they are smaller, MDIs may be placed in areas with less available bone. Additionally, unlike regular dental implants, it’s a less invasive or easier technique.

Many times, MDIs are used to help secure removable dentures. They may also be used to help replace single, small teeth.

MDIs are designed to be permanent, lasting as long as other dental implants.

Summary

Dental implants are designed to be permanent. This is because implants interface with your jawbone, becoming bonded with the surrounding bone through osseointegration.

Dental implants also preserve bone and prevent further deterioration of the facial structure, and therefore improve appearance.

It also restores full chewing power. Most patients can’t tell the difference between their natural teeth and the implant tooth. They can eat with it completely normally, and they can brush and floss normally as well.

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Dental implants: advantages,safety and procedure

learn all about the many benefits of implants and how long the procedure takes to complete.