Dental implants are currently the best and most effective long-term solution for missing teeth. Dental implants serve as an artificial substitute for missing tooth roots and allow for a fixed base that can be used to mount dental crowns, bridges or dentures. Whether you are missing one tooth or more, a dental implant procedure can be a permanent solution to your oral health problems.
What is a Dental Implant?
Made of medical-grade titanium, a dental implant is usually shaped like a screw, plate or frame. The entire dental implant consists of three components – the implant, the abutment, and the crown. This metal implant is surgically drilled into your jawbone by your dentist and left to heal for anywhere between 2 to 6 months. This process allows the dental implant to completely integrate into its surrounding tissue and bone. After the requisite period of time has passed, your dentist will connect the abutment onto the implant. The abutment is removable only by your dentist. The dental crown is the part that is visible in the mouth and is placed onto the implant with the help of the abutment connector.
Types of Dental Implants
Depending on the status of your jawbone, your dentist will recommend one of two types of dental implants. The Endosteal Implant, which is the most common type of dental implant, is placed into the jawbone itself. This type of implant comes in shapes like screws, cylinders or plates. Each implant can hold one or multiple prosthetic teeth.
The Subperiosteal Implant is recommended when there isn’t sufficient bone structure left in your jawbones to support the dental implant. This type of dental implant is shaped like a metal framework that is placed on top of the bone underneath the gums instead of being drilled into it. Metal posts protrude out of the gums inside the mouth and give support to the prosthesis. Older patients who don’t have sufficient bone height to support conventional full dentures are good candidates for this type of dental implant.
What to Expect After a Dental Implant Surgery?
The entire process of installing a dental implant can take more than a couple of appointments and a waiting period of 2 to 6 months. Most people have apprehensions about the surgical aspect of the dental implant procedure. However, the surgery is a minor out-patient procedure that allows you to go back home the same day. It is done under local anesthesia and there is usually no pain associated with the dental implant procedure.
Follow all post-operative instructions given by your dentist in order to avoid any kind of complications. If you experience any form of pain or discomfort over the healing period of your surgery, do not hesitate to contact your dentist.
Once your dental implant has been successfully installed, it is important to take good care of it and maintain proper oral hygiene. Maintenance of dental implants is just like the maintenance of your natural teeth. This includes regular brushing of the teeth and rinsing of your mouth after every meal. Regular flossing is advisable as well. Follow-up visits to your dentist are recommended for routine check-ups and occasional cleanings.