What is a Dental Implant?
A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that is surgically anchored into your jaw to hold a replacement tooth or bridge in place. The benefit of using implants is that they don`t rely on neighboring teeth for support and they are permanent and stable. Implants are an ideal solution to tooth loss; they look and feel like natural teeth.
How do they work?
Once the root part of the implant is “bonded” to the bone, it is ready to be used. An artificial tooth is placed directly on top of the implant. In some cases, several implants are placed. Here, the implants are connected to a bridge. A bridge is a number of teeth (usually 3-4) that are bonded together. The two ends connect to the implants. By doing this, many people avoid needing removable dentures at all.
Can anyone receive dental implants?
Yes, however, there are some limitations. You must be in good health and have the proper bone structure and healthy gums for the implant to stay in place. People who are unable to wear dentures may also be good candidates. If you suffer from chronic problems, such as clenching or bruxism, or systemic diseases, such as diabetes, the success rate for implants decreases dramatically. Additionally, people who smoke or drink alcohol may not be good candidates.
What can I expect during this procedure?
The gum is then secured over the implant, which will remain covered until it fuses with the bone. This usually takes about 3-6 months. The dentist then uncovers the implant and attaches an extension, or post, to the implant. With some implants, the implant and post are a single unit placed in the mouth during the initial surgery. Finally, the dentist makes an artificial tooth, or crown, that is attached to the implant post. It will be as if you never lost your tooth.
How long does the process take?
The process can take up to nine months to complete. Each patient heals differently, so times will vary. After the implant and posts are placed surgically, the healing process can take up to six months and the fitting of replacement teeth no more than two months. Sometimes, if a patient has good bone quality, posts can be placed and replacement teeth fitted in one appointment.