Dental implants are an effective solution for restoring oral form and function
Dental implants have become an important part of modern dentistry. With millions of people having now successfully received dental implants, alternatives such as dentures are no longer the only option to replace teeth. Dental implants offer a tooth restoration that is natural in appearance and comfortable for the patient.
Why replace a missing tooth?
Although the aesthetic benefits of replacing a missing tooth are obvious, there are also many functional and health benefits too. The underlying jawbone beneath your teeth requires stimulation from the teeth when chewing and clenching to remain healthy. If you are missing a tooth, the jawbone is no longer being stimulated in that specific area and can begin to deteriorate in a process known as resorption. This can often lead to a sunken or prematurely aged appearance in the face. The neighbouring teeth can also begin to shift into the gap, causing a number of dental problems.
When a missing tooth is replaced with a dental implant, the underlying bone is stimulated and the adjacent teeth will not shift in order to fill the gap.
What is a dental implant?
Essentially, a dental implant is a bio-compatible titanium post that is placed in the jawbone to replace a missing tooth. It is designed to fuse with the jawbone and become a permanent fixture. A dental implant looks just like a small screw with a natural looking prosthetic crown attached to visible area of the implant.
Once the implant has been inserted into the jawbone, it will heal and fuse to the jawbone over a period of 3-6 months in a process known as osseointegration. Once the implant site has completely healed and it has fused effectively with the jawbone, an abutment is attached to the top of the implant, which will hold the crown securely in place. The height of the abutment can be adjusted to correspond with the gumline.
What are the benefits of dental implants?
Dental implants can offer a number of benefits for patients who have previously worn dentures. Irritation and oral sores can occur in cases where patients have poor quality dentures.
Other benefits of dental implants include:
- Aesthetically pleasing
- They feel just like a natural tooth
- Beneficial to your diet – foods that you may not have been able to eat without all your teeth, can now be enjoyed!
- Eliminate distasteful and messy adhesives
- Maintain bone structure – Implants can help maintain your bone structure and support your facial tissues. They can reduce or eliminate bone atrophy, which causes “shrinkage” or facial cosmetic changes.
Yes! In fact, there are a number of functional and health benefits to replacing a missing tooth. The jawbone needs to be stimulated by the teeth when chewing and clenching to remain healthy, so if you are missing a tooth, your jawbone can begin to deteriorate when it is no longer stimulated. This can then lead to a sunken, aged appearance, and the remaining teeth can begin to shift, causing a number of dental problems.
A dental implant is made from biocompatible titanium, which is placed directly into the jawbone to replace a missing tooth. It is especially designed to fuse with the jawbone and become a permanent fixture within the mouth. A porcelain crown is attached to the implant so that the visible part looks just like a natural tooth.
It is extremely rare for dental implants to fall out.
In fact, a dental implant is designed to fuse with the jawbone and become a permanent fixture. When the implant has been surgically implanted into the jawbone, it heals and fuses with the bone over a period of a few months.
This process is known as osseointegration and ensures that the implant stays secured in the mouth. Once an implant has fused with the jawbone, it should feel secure — just like a natural tooth.
While many people are suitable candidates for dental implant surgery, not everyone can get an implant.
In order to have a dental implant placed, we recommend that you are in good general health and that your gums are in good condition. It is also necessary that you have enough jawbone to support an implant.
If you decide to go ahead with dental implant surgery, we recommend that you stick to a good oral hygiene routine by brushing and flossing daily and see your dentist for regular check-ups.
We generally do not recommend implants for people who smoke, and those with chronic diseases such as uncontrolled diabetes and connective tissue diseases.
Once the dental implant has been surgically inserted into the bone, it will heal and fuse with the bone over a period of between 3 and 6 months. The process in which the implant fuses with the bone is known as osseointegration.
In fact, one of the main benefits of dental implants is that they look and feel just like your natural teeth. They feel comfortable in the mouth once they have been placed, and are actually designed to fuse with the jawbone. This means that dental implants are considered permanent fixtures and won’t shift or slip out of place.
Implants allow patients to eat and speak with no issues, and also help to maintain bone structure and support facial tissues.
It is best to stick to a liquid diet immediately following dental implant surgery.
Avoid foods and drinks that are too hot during this time, as the heat can irritate your mouth while it heals. Be sure to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and aid recovery, and try lukewarm soups and broths, smoothies and soft puddings.
Once your mouth begins to heal, you can begin to eat soft foods. Options like soft fruits, steamed vegetables, tofu, soft meats, yoghurt, oatmeal, cottage cheese, and scrambled eggs are all easy to chew and will provide you with nutrients while you heal.
Yes, as long as your surgeon has confirmed that you are a suitable candidate for dental implants, the treatment is safe.
In fact, many elderly patients can benefit from dental implants especially if they have worn dentures in the past. While dentures can cause irritation and sores, dental implants are comfortable and function just like natural teeth.
If you are considering dental implants, we recommend that you come in for a consultation so that we can determine whether or not the treatment is suitable for you. We will check that you are in good overall health and that you have adequate jaw bone for an implant to be successfully placed.