Dental Implants can be a permanent solution to missing teeth.
Implants are proving to be a very effective way of replacing teeth as they are free standing and do not require other teeth to support them. When implants were originally invented, four to six months of healing was required for the implant to fuse to bone. Before a porcelain crown could be attached to it. Today, new technology has enabled a crown to be placed on it immediately, in most situations.
What is a dental implant?
A dental implant is a titanium post that is inserted into the bone. A crown can then be constructed to attach to the implant to replace the missing tooth.
The part of jaw bone where teeth have been lost is covered by a layer of intact oral soft tissue (mucosa). The soft tissue layer is incised and retracted to expose the underlying bone surface and the socket that receives the implant is prepared for drilling.
An implant is placed in the prepared socket and the overlying soft tissue is sutured back to its original position. The implant site is allowed to heal for 4 to 6 months during which the implants surface and the surrounding bone fuse together, a biological process called “osseointegration”. Implant surface and bone fusing as seen together under the microscope.
At the end of the healing period, the soft tissue covering the top of the implant is incised again to expose the top of the integrated implant. An extension, (abutment) is placed on the implant so that it stays above the soft tissue level. The soft tissue is allowed to heal for 2 to 4 weeks. The dental prosthesis is constructed and connected to the underlying implant structures by means of screw retention or cementation. The patient can now chew with the implant — supported prosthesis.
The advantages of dental implants
Dental implants are comfortable, look natural and have a tooth coloured appearance. They can last a long time because they are implanted into the jaw bone and require no support from surrounding teeth. They are durable and can prevent bone loss.
The disadvantages of dental implants
Dental implants can be expensive and require oral surgery to place the implant onto the jaw bone. Some pain and swelling can be expected after the surgery.