Dental Implants: What You Need to Know First
Chances are, if you are reading this article you are or know someone who is in need of a new replacement tooth. In this case, you may be weighing the pros and cons of dentures and the like vs. implants or are preparing for an up and coming surgery.
This article goes into depth about what they inherently are, the procedure, advantages, risks and much more.
What is a Dental Implant?
A dental implant acts as an artificial root that is inserted in the jawbone to replace the root of the natural tooth. After insertion, a man-made pearly white is fastened to the dental implant. It is regarded as a fixed anchor for the replacement tooth.
Who can get one?
Dental implants become a viable option to all those with an already developed facial structure (16-18+) and enough oral strength to undergo routine dental extraction and oral surgery without issues. Patients are expected to have healthy gums and enough bone to accommodate the implant.
They are a great choice for those born with missing teeth or are lacking teeth due to past injury, decay, and/or infection.
Prior to diving into the procedure be certain that you can commit to the following regulations:
- Take proper care of your oral hygiene
- Mentally prepare yourself for a several-months process
- No/limit tobacco smoking
Who is in charge of the procedure?
If your dentist deems that you qualify for the surgery, he or she will refer you to a specialist who has a broader range of knowledge and experience in the field of implants. These specialists are commonly titled as oral and maxillofacial surgeons or periodontists.
Why Get One?
As aforementioned, dental implants serve as replacement roots that act as an anchor for new artificial teeth. The root is commonly made of titanium which fuses with the jawbone and eliminates the risk of any slippage or potential bone damage that other sort of replacements, such as dentures, may cause.
They are worth the consideration especially if you relate to one or more of the following:
- Are unable to enunciate properly
- Are incapable of wearing dentures
- Are lacking one or more teeth
- Are in possession of decaying/dying/severely chipped teeth
- One time payment
- Fixed in place = no slippage
- Greatly resembles realistic teeth = Beautiful smile
- Huge commitment - This procedure can take the course over several months and requires time, patience, and dedication to aftercare.
- Expensive - Dental implants are more expensive than conventional dentures and removable replacement teeth.
- Surgery is required - Some people are not very fond of the idea that they must be put under anesthesia and go under the knife.
- Possible risk of implant failure - While this is very rare and only occurs 2% of the time, dental implants may sometimes be rejected by the body. Diabetics and smokers are at higher risk of failure. Fortunately, this can be solved by replacing it with a slightly larger substitute.
Key things to keep in mind
- Many dentist appointments may be required to ensure everything is adapting smoothly until the end of the process.
- Dental implants are not always covered by insurance and can be more expensive than other varieties of replacement teeth.
- Maintenance is key to maintaining the integrity of your implants
- On rare occasions, dental implant surgeries may fail if it does not successfully bond to the jawbone.
Dental Implant Procedure
The dental implant procedure is one in which replaces tooth roots with metal posts. The surgery involves several steps and heavily depends on the condition of your jawbone and a variety of chosen dental implant.
Step 1: Extraction of the Tooth
This first step to implants involves the usage of anesthesia and is directed by a dentist or oral surgeon. It is not an extremely time-consuming outpatient process and in fact, can be finished rather quickly. Depending on the severity of damage and the visibility of the broken parts of the tooth, the process may vary in intricacy.
Step 2: Grafting the Socket
In case your jawbone is not strong enough to support the implant, grafting may be necessary prior to the surgery to prevent all the effort going to waste. Grafting the socket provides a more solid foundation for the artificial root.
The amount of recovery time varies depending on the situation. In certain cases, people must wait several months after in order to proceed with the transplant. Other times, the grafting taken place is very minor and can be done on the day of the surgery
Just like at any other construction site, there exist many options of different bone graft materials that can be utilized.
Here are some of the choices the dental specialist may present to you:
- Allografts - bone provided by volunteer donors.
- Autologous - bone coming from a different part of the client’s body.
- Xenografts – bone extracted from a different species
- Alloplastics – man-made bone graft replacements.
Step 3: Waiting for bone growth
As stated above, some major grafting procedures require several months for the inserted bone to develop new bone dense enough to support the implant. Others may be done the same day the implant surgery is held.
Step 4: Insertion of the Implant via Surgery
Throughout the surgery, clients usually report little-to-no pain since anesthesia and/or IV sedation (provided it is conducted by an oral specialist) are used to numb the discomfort.
At the beginning of the entire ordeal, the patient’s mouth is thoroughly numbed and an incision is created to reveal the bone underneath (the place in which the implant will go).
Afterward, a space for the artificial root is created using a specialized drill. The implant is then inserted and screwed into the bone along with something else to keep it in place.
Finally, the surgeon will close the gums and stitch them back together if needed.
Step 5: Adaptation of the Jawbone
Osseointegration, quite a mouthful isn’t it? While it may not be the most easily pronounced word, this does not negate its importance throughout the entire process. This step which creates a solid base for the new replacement chomper can take several months until completion. It all begins the moment the implant is inserted as the jawbone begins to adapt and reinforce the new root.
Step 6: Inserting the abutment
The abutment is screwed into the implant and attaches it to the crown. The abutment may be made of porcelain, gold or titanium.
Step 7: Final Impressions
A few months later, a new incision in the client’s gums will be made. This gap allows the dentist to place a small extension on top of the implant and take an impression. The impression is sent to a lab and provides a basis for the creation of the client’s new crown. Further appointments may be needed in order to create a more precise model of the client’s mouth and future crown.
Step 8: Delivery of the Screw-Retained Crown.
Finally comes the placement of the crown. This is rather self-explanatory, but here the dentist will screw the crown in place.
As with any other procedure, dental implant surgery does carry a few risks. This being said do not be nervous since they can all be easily treated and do not occur often.
- Potential Infections
- Nerve damage
- Protrusion of dental implants into a sinus cavity
- Damage to other surrounding blood vessels, gum, or teeth.
Choosing your new artificial teeth
After the gums heal, the impression of the mouth and remaining teeth are made to create the artificial tooth. This is called the crown. It cannot be inserted, however, until the jawbone recovers and has enough power to support it.
Now, there are different types of crowns to choose from with different features and prices. Certain ones are fixed, others are removable, and some are a combination of the two.
- Removable: This one is mounted on a metal post and attaches itself to the abutment. It is similar to a partial or full denture since it can be removed. The appearance of it is composed of white artificial teeth and plastic pink coloured gum
- Fixed: With fixed crowns, the artificial tooth is permanently cemented/screwed onto an implant abutment. It is not removable, whether that be for eating, sleeping or cleaning. Since implants are rather strong, several teeth can be substituted by a single implant if they are bridged together.
Maintenance for dental implants
Since dental implants look and function very similarly to the roots of natural teeth, it is not surprising that they have similar maintenance guidelines. Comparatively, they are to be kept clean through means of thorough brushing with toothpaste and flossing between the nooks and crannies. Visiting your dentist and having regular checkups are crucial to the assurance of your oral health and implants.
What are All on Four Dental Implants?
All on Four dental implants is the common name given to a specific protocol or technique that was developed by Dr.Paulo Malo in Europe. The goal of this protocol is the restoration and/or insertion of complete arches of the lower jawbone and/or maxilla’s pearly whites.
This procedure is perfect for folks with several teeth that are either missing or severely lacking in density in their upper or lower arch. As it is explicitly stated in the title, this protocol calls for the placement and infusion of four or more dental implants in the jawbone. These implants will then serve as a fastener for the soon to be inserted replacement teeth. This treatment method is much more rapid and preserves the integrity of your bone structure when it comes to replacing numerous teeth in one go rather than over the course of many sessions.
All on Four dental implants are often the superior option to traditional dentures. They have many more advantages to dentures such as:
- No slippage
- Jawbone density preservation
- Better and stronger chewing capabilities
- An aesthetically pleasing look and natural feel of teeth
- No sore spots
Cosmetic dentistry is exactly that, dentistry that focuses on physical appearance like cosmetics. It refers to any procedures that concentrate on the amelioration of the appearance (a.k.a colour, position, size…) of a client’s teeth, bites, and/or gums. Dental implants may not check off all these boxes, so further consultation with a dentist may be required.
Other Dental Services
If after all of this, you realize this is not what you or someone else you know desires or needs, feel free to look into other dental services that may better fit your requirements such as:
- Teeth Straightening - If you or someone else has crooked teeth or a misaligned jaw this may be what you are looking for. This is often a process that can take several months to a few years and uses realignment tools such as braces, Invisalign or other. The end result is a perfectly straight smile and an adjusted bite.
- Teeth Whitening - Teeth whitening held by a professional can take a couple of appointments until the perfect shade is achieved. Since this is done under the care and supervision of a specialist, the damage to the gums and surrounding tissues is greatly minimized unlike with over the counter strips that may contain too strong of a number of bleaching ingredients.
Looking for a specialized dentist?
It is recommended that all people should book an appointment for a checkup with their doctor at least twice a year. This is to prevent, reduce the risk, and spot any early signs of tooth decay, oral cancers, gum disease or other.
If you live in the Richmond Hill area and have yet to find a dentist whom you are comfortable with, keep in mind that we at Tower Hill dental would be glad to accommodate you and your teeth’s needs. We always ensure our patients' oral health by never settling for below our high standards in dental care.
Feel free to book an appointment with us by contacting our office at 905-884-8282 today. We look forward to ensuring you obtain that beautiful Hollywood smile.