Dental implants are titanium devices that replace the root of the natural tooth. Implants are fixed into the jaw to provide a solid base for artificial tooth replacement. After an implant is placed into the underlying bone, artificial teeth are attached to it, enabling normal function.
Implant treatment is a highly technical, complex form of dentistry. It is not a type of treatment that all dentists can or want to provide. If you are considering implants, discuss all of your options with your dentist.
First your mouth will be examined thoroughly, and commonly a CT scan and x-rays of your head, jaw and teeth will be taken. Plaster molds (models) will be made of you upper and lower jaws to reveal their exact alignment. This evaluation helps your dentist decide whether you are a good candidate for a dental implant and, if you are, which kind of implant to use and where in your jaw to place it.
Once you and your dentist have decided which treatment option is right for you, surgery will be scheduled. The surgical phase of implant treatment is typically performed in two stages, although it can sometimes be done in one stage.
During the first surgery, your dentist places the actual implant in your jawbone. The implants are placed beneath the tissue, and the gum is stitched back into place. This phase of surgery can be performed under local anesthesia in a hospital or clinic. Your dentist will give you further instructions, may prescribe pain medication, and schedule your follow-up appointment. You may experience some swelling and discolouration of the gums as well as some discomfort. Within a few days, the gums should return to normal. To allow implants to heal properly, you should eat a soft diet such as soup or mashed potatoes.
The second stage of surgery is usually performed three to six months after the first in an outpatient setting.
During this surgery, your dentist will attach extension posts or healing abutments that will join to the implants to help form the soft tissue or gums around the implant to ready them for the prosthetic tooth. In a few weeks, additional impressions may be taken of your mouth so that the dentist knows where to position your new teeth. You will also be taught how to keep the abutments clean by using a small toothbrush. After this second surgery, you will continue with your home care and regular follow-up with your dentist.
The next stage, where your new teeth will be fitted, is called the restorative phase. It will take a few days for your dentist to create a prosthesis and fit it to the abutments inside your mouth. Once you begin to use the prosthesis, your dentist may still need to make further adjustments. Several checkups will be scheduled during the following year so that your dentist can ensure that your implants are functioning properly. Be sure to call your dentist if you have any pain or discomfort in your jaws or mouth, or if you feel the “bite” is not right or the prosthesis is loose.
You Should Know:
Dental implants are not for everyone. First you must have enough healthy jawbone to support an implant, or you may require a bone graft. Gum tissues should be disease free. Patients with medical conditions that affect the body’s ability to heal and repair itself, such as diabetes and cancer, as well as patients with conditions affecting the ability to use their hands and arms, are usually not good candidates. Likewise, patients who are not committed to thorough home care are better off with other restorative options. The possible complications of dental implants include the following:
The greatest things about implants are:
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