Dental implants are permanent tooth replacement options. They look and feel like a real tooth. Before their advent by Swedish orthopedic surgeon Per-Ingvar Brånemark in 1952, the only tooth replacement options were dental bridges or dentures.
Dental implants are considered the “gold standard” by dentists worldwide and are also the cornerstone of rehabilitative and cosmetic dentistry.
Millions of Americans suffer from tooth loss. Mostly due to tooth decay, injury, or periodontal disease. And that too, despite the improvements in dental care. Dental implants play a major role in the replacement of these lost teeth.
The Process Of Getting Dental Implants
Dental implants comprise of three parts:
The titanium part fits surgically into the jaw bone. It mimics a tooth root. Also, it provides stability and structural integrity to the implant.
The middle part is abutment and acts as a connector. It is rests on top of the post above the gum line. On top of it rests the tooth replacement.
The topmost part of an implant comprises the dental crown/dental bridge/denture that fills in the gap left behind by the missing tooth.
Basic procedures before the surgery
Patients undergo extensive examination before receive the go-ahead for an implant. It involves thorough oral exams along with digital imaging to assess the quality and quantity of the jaw bone.
You need to provide your detailed medical and dental histories. The dentists advise smokers, people with poor oral health and hygiene, and patients with diseases like diabetes, osteoporosis, cardiac diseases, etc. against dental implants.
The placement of the implant post is done under local anesthesia or in combination with a sedative to keep the patient pain-free and comfortable. The dentist then makes a cut on the gum at the site of implant placement and exposes the bone.
The dentist makes the space in the jaw bone and pace the post using a dental drill. The dentist stickes the gum back into the place. It allows the implant post and bone to fuse over the time.
Osseointegration is the process with which the jawbone fuses with the titanium post. This allows the implant to become a permanent replacement for the missing tooth. Additionally, the fusion also acts as a stimulant for the jaw bone, preventing any future bone loss.
Once the fusion has takes place, the dentist screws the abutment on top of the titanium post and attaches the crown/bridge/denture. This fills in the gap, rehabilitating the mouth and restoring proper function.
Patients are asked to constantly check in with their dentists to ensure proper healing of the surgical site. Also check the fusion of the implant and bone, and the implant’s progress.
Advantages Of Dental Implants
Dental implants have numerous advantages over their counterparts (dental bridges and dentures):
Implants not only look but also feel like your natural teeth. And because of the fusion with the jaw bone, they are permanent.
Because implants don’t require interference with the remaining natural teeth (as in the case of dental bridges), they improve long-term dental health. Individual implants also allow flossing between teeth, contributing to better oral health.
Dental implants are very durable and with proper care and maintenance, can last a lifetime.
Ill-fitting dentures slip within the mouth causing slurred speech and difficulty in eating. This can be embarrassing for you. Implants allow you to carry out all the basic functions. You don’t have to worry about the teeth slipping.
Dental implants, because of the bone fusion, eliminate the discomfort that comes with wearing dentures.
Dental implants give you a smile makeover, thereby improving your self-esteem.
These are some of the advantages that also make dental implants a permanent solution for tooth loss.
How Successful Are Dental Implants?
Depending on the site of implant placement in the jaw bone, their success varies. However, in general, dental implants brag a success rate of up to 98%.
One of the key points to remember regarding the success of a dental implant is their proper care and maintenance. This involves practicing good oral hygiene. It includes brushing twice daily, flossing once a day, limiting or foregoing smoking, and visiting your dentist regularly.
While implant posts can last a lifetime, the dental crown/bridge/denture placed on top might require replacement over time.
Are Dental Implants Safe?
Dental implants are mostly made of titanium or titanium alloys. The dentists use them in orthopedic replacements and artificial hearts. The reason for titanium’s popularity is its impressive biocompatibility.
Biocompatibility is the property with which a material isn’t harmful or toxic to living tissues.
Additionally, titanium also has a very low electrical conductivity. It makes it one of the most biocompatible materials available. This particular characteristic makes it highly resistant to rust and corrosion.
Because of this, titanium implants don’t rust or corrode when placed inside living tissue. This makes them extremely safe and non-toxic to humans.
What Other Treatments Does A Cosmetic Dentist Provide?
Aside from dental implants to improve your smile, a cosmetic dentist also performs the following procedures:
Teeth whitening to remove any discoloration or stains from your teeth and make them visibly brighter. Involves the use of a bleaching agent that gets rid of stains on the surfaces of teeth.
You can perform in-office or at home using take-home whitening kits provided by your dentist.
Dental veneers are custom-made, wafer-thin shells that are made of tooth-colored resin or porcelain. These cover the front surface of teeth.
About half a millimeter of enamel is removed from the tooth surface and veneers are cemented or bonded onto them.
Veneers are popularly known as “Hollywood teeth” and change a tooth’s color, size, shape, and length.
Dental crowns are used to keep broken or cracked teeth together and cover severely discolored or misshapen teeth.
But their main function is to replace decayed or damaged teeth. It also restores their size, shape, appearance, and strength. They can be made from metal, PFM (porcelain-fused-to-metal, ceramic, or resin.
To know more about dental implants or other options provided by your cosmetic dentist for tooth loss, get in touch with Valley Ridge Dental today. Call (651) 439-0322 to schedule an appointment and have your dental woes taken care of.