All You Need To Know About Dental Implants

When you lose teeth, you tend to be more self-conscious when talking and smiling. You may also experience a change in eating habits due to biting irregularities. Fortunately, you can replace your teeth and regain mouth functionality through dental implants. This article provides critical insights into dental implants.

What are Dental Implants?

A dental implant (artificial tooth root) helps in the restoration of missing teeth. The dental procedure falls under prosthetic or cosmetic dentistry. In addition to tooth replacement, dental implants maintain the jaw bone by preventing bone loss and supporting facial features. Typically, dental implants can help restore teeth lost due to tooth decay, gum disease, congenital disabilities, and root canal failure. 

Types of Dental Implants

The following are the two types of dental implants based on the treatment procedure:

  • Endosteal implants—They are placed in the jaw bone using a two-stage procedure
  • Subperiosteal implants—They are placed on the jaw bone under the gum tissue in a single-stage procedure

Dental Implants Procedures

Dental Consultation

The dental implant procedure begins with a dentist, oral surgeon, periodontist, or prosthodontist consultation. During the visit, the doctor examines the teeth, gums, bone density, and quantity. This procedure uses X-rays and CT scans. After the examination, the doctor recommends the best treatment plan. In some instances, the doctor may recommend bone or tissue grafts before the dental implants procedure. The dentist will also brief the patient on the treatment process, expectations, timelines, costs, and the number of appointments. 

Preparation Stage 

Oral health is necessary for dental implantation. Thus, the doctor deals with medical and lifestyle conditions that may affect your oral health before the dental implant procedures. Ordinarily, the most common oral conditions managed are tooth decay and gum disease. Also, smoking affects the process of anchoring dental implants to the jaw bone. Thus, the dentist may recommend quitting smoking. 

Placing Dental Implants 

The dentist begins the procedure by drilling a hole on the jaw site to fix the titanium implant screw. Typically, the doctor uses surgical guides to place the implants while avoiding damages to the jaw and face structures. Upon fixing the implant screw, the doctor secures the gum tissue over the implant and puts a protective cover screw on to facilitate healing. Then osseointegration (a process of anchoring the implant to the jaw bone) occurs for about six weeks to six months. After the healing process, the doctor uncovers the implant and attaches the abutment used to hold the crown. Finally, the doctor fabricates and fixes the temporary or final crown. 

Healing and Dental Care 

After the surgical process to place implants, the healing process takes up to six months, followed by two months of fitting and seating the crown. However, the timeframe depends on the individual and treatment methods. There are follow-up appointments with the dentist to monitor the process. Notably, one must maintain good oral hygiene, including regular flossing and brushing, and not smoking. With proper care, dental implants can last for a lifetime.