Dental implantation surgery is an option to replace one or more missing teeth. But how much do you actually know about dental implants? To help you learn more about dental implants, and in making an informed decision about your tooth replacement options, here is a list of frequently asked questions.
What is A Dental Implant?
A dental implant is a way to replace missing teeth using an artificial root, known as a post. The post is inserted into the jawbone during oral surgery to the artificial tooth, or crown. The post anchors the tooth to the jaw, ensuring that the tooth remains firmly planted. The 3 main parts of the implant are the post, abutment, and crown. Together they can form a safe and long-term solution to tooth loss.
What Types Of Implants Are There?
Dental implants are broken down into 3 separate types and vary based on how complex they are. Each option comes in a variety of different sizes, and different types are better suited to accommodate different bone and jaw structures. Your dentist will help you determine which of these 3 are best suited for your needs.
Endosteal implants are the most common implants where the roots are replaced by screws, cylinders or blades typically fashioned from titanium or ceramic. These implants are inserted into the jawbone. Once the root has taken to the jawbone, the artificial tooth or crown is then fastened to the abutment or post.
Subperiosteal implants use a metal framework that sits right below the gum-line on the jawbone. Metal posts are attached to the framework and stick out above the gum line. The artificial teeth are then securely anchored to these posts.
Arguably the most complex of the implants, this procedure requires passing screws through the base of the jawbone, all the way through to the top. These screws attach to both a metal plate at the bottom of the jaw and posts on-top of the gums, where the artificial tooth is fastened.
Are Dental Implants A Good Option For Me?
Because dental implants are inserted into your jaw, both your jaw and gums need to be health for the procedure. A good candidate has a fully-grown jawbone, adequate bone for the implant to take, and healthy gums. In some cases, a bone graft can be done to make sure your jaw is ready for dental implants.
Smokers are not ideal candidates because smoking restricts blood flow to the gums, which slows the healing process post-surgery. This may cause implant failure.
Do They Hurt?
While everyone’s pain threshold is different, dental implant surgery is characterized as being uncomfortable instead of outright painful. Like all forms of dental surgery, dental implant surgery is performed under sedation. The implant site is also numbed during the procedure to prevent discomfort. However, jaw soreness and irritation are not uncommon during the healing process, and some patients report mild pain and some bleeding originating from the implant site.
Dentists typically prescribe pain killers during the healing process. In addition, you can also minimize discomfort by choosing soft foods and avoiding very hot, cold, or chewy foods.
Dental Implant Benefits
The long list of benefits from dental implants include:
- Improved speech
- Increased comfort
- Improved oral health
- Improved facial structure
Although the different types of dental implants carry their own risks and benefits, dental implant surgery remains one of the safest dental surgeries available. With proper maintenance, care, and brushing, implants can last a lifetime.
Dental Implant Risks
All surgical procedures carry some form of risk. The risks associated with dental implant surgery include:
- Bone loss
- Nerve damage
In some rare cases, the crown may become cracked or damaged and may need to be replaced. Please consider the risks carefully before making your final decision. Your dentist can help you assess your oral health, determine your needs, and determine if dental implants are a good choice for you.
A Confident, Healthy Smile
Dental implants can be a great solution for those concerned about comfort, oral hygiene and maintaining a healthy-looking smile. Implants can last you into your golden years, and replace the need for ever wearing dentures which can be a headache to put in and take out. With dental implants you are one seamless surgery away from a healthy-looking smile that will re-instill your confidence.