Dental implants have revolutionized the field of restorative dentistry, providing a durable, long-lasting option for people missing one or more teeth. This post will take a closer look at what dental implants are and how they are placed.
What Is a Dental Implant?
A dental implant is an artificial tooth root, typically made from medical-grade titanium, that serves as a foundation for a replacement tooth. The implant is surgically placed into the jawbone, where it fuses with the natural bone in a process known as Osseointegration. Once healed, the implant provides a stable base for supporting a custom-made artificial tooth, or crown.
How Are Dental Implants Placed?
The placement of a dental implant usually involves several stages and may take a few months to complete. Here are the general steps:
Initial Consultation and Planning:
The first step is a comprehensive dental exam, including dental X-rays and 3D images, and a thorough review of your medical history. This helps the dentist assess the condition of your oral health and determine whether you’re a good candidate for implants.
If the damaged or decayed tooth is still present, it will need to be extracted.
Bone Grafting (if necessary):
If your jawbone isn’t thick enough or is too soft, you may need bone grafting before you can have dental implant surgery. This process involves adding bone (either from your own body or a synthetic material) to your jawbone. It can take several months for the grafted bone to grow enough new bone to support a dental implant.
The dental implant surgery involves making a small incision in the gum to expose the bone, then drilling a hole and placing the titanium implant post. The site is then allowed to heal and the implant to integrate with the bone, which typically takes several months.
Once Osseointegration is complete, an additional minor surgery is performed to attach the abutment, the piece to which the crown will be attached. This procedure typically requires a couple of weeks for the gums to heal.
After your gums have healed, a mold of your mouth will be taken. It is used to create a custom crown that matches your natural teeth. The crown is then attached to the abutment.
Why Choose Dental Implants?
Dental implants offer several benefits:
- They look, feel, and function like natural teeth.
- They’re durable and can last many years, potentially a lifetime.
- They help preserve jawbone, preventing the bone loss that occurs when teeth are lost.
- They support facial structure, preventing the sagging and premature aging that can occur with tooth loss.
Dental implants have a high success rate. But as with any medical procedure, there are risks and potential complications, which your dentist will discuss with you. With proper care and maintenance, dental implants can provide a durable and attractive replacement for missing teeth.
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