Implants are metal fixtures, surgically fastened to your jawbone below the gums, onto which artificial teeth can be mounted. The bone bonds with the titanium, a process called osseointegration. Implants are a permanent, stable and highly aesthetic solution for replacing missing teeth. Your dental professional will be able to assess whether you’re a suitable candidate for implants. This will include taking X-rays to see how much healthy bone is left and determining whether you need a bone graft to improve the quality of your jawbone.
Implants look and feel like your natural teeth, allowing you to eat all the foods you love and speak with confidence. They can also help prevent the deterioration of your jawbone that occurs when teeth are lost or extracted. This can cause the surrounding teeth to drift and ultimately lose their stability and structure. Implants help stimulate the bone and prevent its loss.
A consultation with a dentist, oral surgeon or periodontist is required to decide whether an implant is right for you. This will include taking X-rays and computer tomography scans (CT scans) to assess your bone density and volume. This is important as implants require a strong, healthy jawbone to support them.
The Looking for Dental Implants to place a dental implant is done under local anaesthetic. During the healing process, which takes weeks to months, the implant will “osseointegrate” or fuse with the bone, providing a solid base for the overlying prosthesis. A temporary prosthesis may be worn if needed during the healing period.
There are two types of implants – endosteal and subperiosteal. Endosteal implants are screw-shaped or cylinders that are surgically placed in your jawbone. Each implant holds one or more artificial teeth that are secured to the implant by crowns. This type of implant is suitable for most patients, including those who are heavy smokers and those with uncontrolled chronic conditions such as diabetes or heart disease, or those who have undergone radiation therapy to the head/neck area.
A subperiosteal implant is a metal framework with posts that are placed on top of your jawbone. This type of implant is suitable for those who can’t wear conventional dentures or don’t have enough jawbone height to hold an endosteal implant.
If you choose to have a dental implant, you should commit to good oral hygiene practices at home and attend regular visits to your dentist or dental practitioner. This will help to keep your mouth and implants clean, reducing the risk of infection and ensuring that the artificial teeth are maintained in a healthy condition.