Despite the advancements in dental care along the lines of better treatment methods and increased awareness on how people can take care of their teeth, millions are still suffering from tooth loss. It is mostly caused by gingivitis, tooth decay or in some cases injury. The only treatment options that were available for people with missing teeth were dentures and bridges. But nowadays, one can get dental implants.
What are dental implants?
When one loses their teeth or when they are removed, the whole visible part plus the root are gone. A dental implant is inserted into your jaw bone so it can fuse naturally with it and provide a foundation for the placement of a crown. The implant is usually cylindrical in shape and has a tapered post made of titanium. The implant will need an abutment which is basically a connector that is put on top of the implant. The abutment can sometimes come built onto the implant that connects the implant with the crown.
The first step involves creating an individualised treatment plan for the given patient. It is usually done by a team of professionals with experience in restorative dentistry or oral surgery. The plan will address the specific needs of the patient and the implant option that is best for the patient.
Next the implant is inserted into the jaw bone, specifically the socket of the missing tooth. As the jawbone heals, it will grow around the implant – a process known as osseointegration – fusing with the bone and forming a strong foundation for the replacement tooth. This healing process can take several weeks or even months.
The abutment is then placed on top of the implant which will function to connect the replacement tooth and the implant. The dentist then makes an impression of your teeth and creates a model of your bite which they will use to make the new tooth or teeth. The impression and model of your bite capture details about your teeth which include how they are arranged and their type. The replacement tooth is then attached to the abutment.
Are there any risks?
Teeth replaced through this method function and feel just like natural teeth, which means they require the same level of care and attention as natural teeth. They should be brushed, flossed and regularly checked by the dentist so that they last for the longest time possible and function to their full capacity. Dental implants that have been well-taken care of can last a lifetime. The implants have a high success rate of up to 98%. Most risks arise during the surgical procedure which can range from nerve damage, injury to surrounding structures and sinus problems. These, however, are rare problems and most sessions are successful without any incidents.