A Complete Guide to Dental Implants
A dental implant is a small titanium screw which acts as a natural tooth root and is used to replace a missing or damaged tooth root in the jaw bone. Dental implants are designed to match the size, shape, and colour of your other teeth and fit and function like real ones.
What are Dental Implants?
Dental implant procedures have been successfully performed for over 50 years to millions of people around the world. The procedure is very safe and a highly effective alternative to dentures or bridgework. The procedure is performed on patients who are in good health which ultimately minimises any risk from occurring.
Key Benefits of Dental Implants
Dental implants are the closest thing to a natural tooth, they best imitate the roots of teeth and allow for artificial teeth to fit comfortably. They also provide much more support than dentures and offer advantages such as:
- Natural appearance
- Less irritation
- Oral hygiene benefits
- Eating becomes easier
- Clearer speech
How the dental implant surgery is performed depends on the type of implant recommended by a professional. The highly specialised team of surgeons at Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (OMFS) can point you in the right direction following a consultation.
The dental implant procedure involves a small titanium screw being drilled down into the jawbone to act like a natural root. It’s designed to fuse with the jawbone and become a permanent fixture. Once the implant has been placed into the jawbone, the bone will begin the healing process known as osseointegration. As time progresses, the bone heals and fuses to the screw to hold it in place usually over a period of 3-6 months. Once fully healed, the screw is topped with an artificial tooth or crown to restore the full function of your smile.
Evaluation Process and Stages
A typical dental implant procedure is normally spaced out over a few months, which allows for the experienced and dedicated surgeons at OMFS to ensure excellent patient care and optimal outcomes.
Following an initial consultation, the evaluation process may include:
- Dental exam with scans, x-rays, and 3D imaging
- A thorough review of your medical history and conditions
- Development of a tailored treatment plan
Summary of the Dental Implant Procedure
- You will usually be given an anaesthetic to minimise the pain during the procedure
- Removal of any damaged tooth
- Preparation of the jaw bone if needed (bone grafting, augmentation)
- Hole in the jaw bone is drilled to place implant
- Healing process where the bone grows around the implant (osseointegration)
- Once the implant is stable the abutment will be placed (connection between the screw and false tooth)
- Finally, the artificial tooth is connected onto the abutment
Post Dental Implant Procedure and Care
Despite the high level of care taken by your surgeon at OMFS, you may experience some common discomforts following the dental implant procedure which can include:
- Pain and swelling
- Minor bleeding
- Nerve injury
To reduce any pain or irritation following the surgery you may require pain medication or antibiotics. After surgery, it is important to let your body rest. Drink plenty of fluids and eat soft foods such as soups, pureed foods and vegetables for the first few days. No special aftercare is required for a dental implant. Practice good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing and have regular dental check-ups.
Contact OMFS to book in for a consultation
Don’t be scared of the results, focus on the positive change which will make you smile! Each and every patient is different, and the professional team at OMFS will tailor a dental implant procedure to suit your individual needs. Get in touch today.