Dental Implants: Everything You Need To Know

Dental implants are artificial tooth roots used to hold replacement teeth. The dental implants are surgically fixed on the patient's jaw bone to create a firm foundation for artificial teeth. This kind of surgical procedure often gets utilized in place of dentures and bridges. Though the treatment is a bit more costly than dentures and bridges, it is considered a more permanent solution for replacing missing teeth. Nonetheless, dental implants can also get utilized to provide support for dentures.

Characteristics of a Dental Implant

A dental implant is a small titanium cylinder fitted on the jaw bone as an artificial tooth root. Once the implant is in place, an artificial tooth (crown) is attached to the open end of the cylinder to give the appearance of a natural tooth. The artificial crown contains an abutment, which is an extension of the cylinder. The abutment and the cylinder's design enable them to adjoin together via a screw mechanism, allowing the crown to attach firmly to the cylinder.

However, a patient can opt for a permanent or removable crown fixture, depending on one's preference.

Dental Implant Consultation

Dental implant placement is a personalized treatment curated by a dentist specifically for the patient. During the first consultation visit, the dentist first visually examines the proposed area for the implant.

The proposed area is further examined with dental imaging studies such as X-rays and CT scans to determine if the quantity and quality of the jaw bone are sufficient for the procedure. If the bone quantity is not enough, alveolar bone grafting surgery will have to get conducted before the dental implant surgery. After bone grafting, a patient requires two to six months to heal and the synthetic bone to settle in the gums.

Dental Implant Placement Procedure

Once the implant area has healed, the dentist books an implant placement appointment for the patient. During this appointment, the dentist will apply anesthesia to the implant site before commencing the implant placement.

Once the anesthetic has taken effect, the dentist uses a surgical drill to create a jawbone cavity. A titanium cylinder (the dental implant) then gets fixed into the hole to support the crown. The gum then gets stitched up to allow it to heal. Before the crown gets installed, the implant needs to integrate into the bone and the gum to heal. During the healing process, a temporary denture gets installed in place of the crown.

The healing period can last up to six months. During this period, patients should resist exerting pressure on the area to allow proper healing. Once the healing period is complete, the dentist conducts tests to determine whether the implant has appropriately integrated with the bone. If the integration was successful, the crown finally gets installed via a screw, and the patient can enjoy the aesthetic of the new artificial tooth.