What are Dental Implants and How Do They Work?
In New Zealand, the percentage of adults who have missing teeth increases with every age group. While good dental hygiene is important to prevent the loss of a tooth, there are aesthetic solutions for their replacement.
Dental implants are excellent for people who need to replace one or more teeth. They are a permanent solution, are unparalleled in a cosmetic sense, and are nearly impossible to detect even when fitted next to real teeth.
So how do they work? A dental implant works like a screw-in tooth, with a receptor (the part that the crown screws into) insert placed into your jawbone to hold it in place. The receptor is usually made of an incredibly strong alloy or titanium. The crown (which is the tooth part) is made specifically to blend in with the rest of your teeth — making for a seamless and aesthetically pleasing result.
The most common practice for installing implants is very straightforward and simple. In fact, it’s often possible to remove a tooth, install the insert and place the implants all in the space of a single day.
What are the benefits of dental implants?
The benefits of having dental implants fitted is that they can replace one or more damaged teeth without needing to be anchored to your other teeth. This makes them a more permanent and natural solution than dentures or a dental bridge.
Dental implants are firmly secured into the jawbone which makes them incredibly durable. They provide a strong foundation that acts just like the root of a tooth does. They create a firm bone structure within your jaw and look and feel like natural, functioning teeth.
Dental implants do not require care in the same way that dentures do. As the results are permanent, you can look after your dental implant with brushing and flossing, as you would your regular teeth. Many patients enjoy the simplicity and freedom that dental implants offer when compared to less permanent options.
How are dental implants fitted?
The process of fitting dental implants always starts with a consultation. This is arguably the most important part of the process, as it’s paramount that the right details, dimensions and requirements for your surgery are taken into account. During the consultation, it’s common to undergo a clinical examination, X-ray scans and a CT scan Dentists use this scan to create a model to ensure optimum results.
Sometimes, there isn’t enough natural bone in the patient’s jaw to properly secure a dental implant, resulting in the need for bone to be grafted in to secure the insert. This involves leaving the graft in for a period of time during which it will bond to the natural bone of your jaw. This process provides more stability for your implant.
What does dental implant surgery involve?
Implant surgery is a common and well-established procedure, usually with a complete recovery. There are, of course, some discomforts associated with surgery — but these can be accounted for and often negated with the right consultation and care.
Before your surgery, you will be given instructions on what to do in the lead up to the procedure. This can include (but is not limited to) rinsing out your mouth with antibacterial mouthwash, not eating on the day of the surgery if you’re being sedated and taking prescribed antibiotics a few days before the procedure begins.
During the surgery, your dentist will place the titanium implant into your jawbone, right below the gums. This procedure can take one to two hours to complete, per implant. Most dentists will wait up to 3 months for the implant to heal before completing the final restoration. It is important that your gums and bone heals properly before they can secure the crown.
Once your healing period is complete, your dentist will fit the abutment and crown to the implant. An abutment is placed between the titanium implant and the crown to act as a shock absorber.
What is the cost of dental implant surgery?
Dental Implant treatment represents a slightly greater investment than conventional treatment; however, the benefits of implant therapy for most patients outweigh the minor additional cost involved.
As surgery requirements can differ from patient to patient, book a consultation at Gentle Dental, and we can give you a more accurate cost of the procedure.
What does post-surgery care involve?
After your implant surgery is completed, it’s important to take care of your new replacement teeth. Take extra care to carry out a thorough oral hygiene routine and come back to visit the dentist regularly to see how your implants are getting on.
All told, dental implants surgery takes longer than some other procedures, but the end result is totally permanent. At Gentle Dental, our friendly dentists can walk you through the process and tell you whether a dental implant is the best option for your smile. Book an appointment to see us today.