What are dental implants?
Dental implants are a type of treatment that is provided by your dental clinic to replace missing teeth. The procedure may be carried out by a suitably qualified dentist.
A dental implant is a type of manufactured prosthetic that acts as a substitute for the natural tooth and replaces its position in the mouth. It is screw-like in appearance and is typically made of titanium or zirconium oxide.
At your dentist, they will surgically implant the dental implant into the jawbone. With time, the process of osseointegration will occur. This involves the implant becoming integrated into the jaw, such that the implant is secured firmly in place.
The process of osseointegration typically takes three months, though it can take longer, up to six months, depending on the individual. Once this has occurred, the next stage involves installing a dental crown.
What are dental crowns and how are they involved in the implant procedure?
Once the implant has fused with the jawbone, your dentist will then move onto the next stage of the dental implant procedure, which is the installation of a dental crown.
A dental crown is an artificial crown that mimics the natural crown of the tooth. The crown is the part of the tooth that appears above the gumline. Therefore, for all intents and purposes, a dental crown is a fake tooth – but a convincing one. In the instance of a dental implant, where the crown is needed to replace an entirely missing tooth, this is especially the case.
Crowns are typically made of porcelain when featured at the front of the mouth, but they may also be made of zirconia, gold alloy, metal, or other materials when less visible towards the back of the mouth where function is the most important consideration.
When used at the front of the mouth with porcelain, special effort is made by your dentist to match the crown to the appearance of your surrounding teeth.
A related question is: how are dental crowns involved in the dental implant procedure? The answer is simple. Once the base implant is firmly in place, the implant crown is then attached to it at the top, typically by an interceding piece known as an abutment.
What if I have multiple missing teeth?
If you have multiple missing teeth, dental implants may still be a suitable treatment option to replace your missing teeth.
Typically, if three teeth or more in a row are missing, your dentist will consider your suitability for a dental implant bridge. This involves installing a dental implant for the two outlying teeth. Once the dental implants have then fused with the jawbone after a period of roughly three months, then a series of crowns will be connected together to form a ‘dental bridge’, and this will be applied to close the gap.
If a greater number of teeth are missing, and dentures are being discussed with your dentist as a possible treatment option, then implant-supported dentures may also be brought up by your dental professional. This involves using implants to create a firm base onto which dentures can lock while in use. This helps to keep them in place and to be used effectively as teeth, for purposes of chewing and so forth.
Why should I consider getting dental implants?
Firstly, it is important to note that not everyone may be a suitable candidate for a dental implant. Your dentist will examine your mouth, discuss your dental history, and potentially undertake scans or X-rays to best understand whether you will be a suitable candidate for dental implants. This is because certain medications or health conditions may mean that dental implants will not work as well for you. This may be the case if you smoke or suffer from severe gum disease. It is also because it is a requirement that a suitable quantity and quality of bone is present in the jaw to act as the foundation for the dental implant.
If you do find that you are a suitable candidate for implants, there are many reasons to consider them as a treatment for missing teeth. The below reasons are just a few of the reasons that may be discussed with your dentist:
- They look highly realistic and therefore can help you to regain confidence.
- They feel like your natural teeth when they are in place and therefore take ‘less getting used to’ once established. They move flawlessly with the jaw and, by closing gaps in your teeth, make it easier to eat.
- They do not require much change in your oral hygiene routines compared to a standard high-quality oral hygiene routine for those without dental implants.
- Compared to dental bridges, implants allow your neighbouring teeth to not be affected. Dental bridges may require some scaling back and shaping of the surrounding teeth.
- They help to keep your natural teeth in their current position. If missing teeth are not replaced, there is a risk that they will shift out of place towards the gap. This can impact appearance and make it harder to get treatment later. It can also make it harder to clean the teeth and can potentially change the shape of the face. It may even result in you chewing differently which can potentially result in jaw pain and can affect speech. By getting dental implants you reduce the risk of all these symptoms. Talk to Haberfield Dental Practice to know more…