What are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are replacement teeth and roots. The implant replaces the root to create a strong, long-lasting foundation for replacement teeth, which may be fixed, or removable for more thorough cleaning. Good implants should be made to match natural teeth, and with a programme of oral care and cleaning should last a life-time. As the site, Dental Implants.com, explains this procedure brings together the rapid advances made in dental treatment over the last decades with expertise in clinical practice and the aesthetics of cosmetic surgery.

Why are dental implants better than dentures?

Implanted teeth are permanent, as the holding structure fuses with bone to give the appearance and feel of natural teeth. There is no need to worry about dental adhesives or slipping dentures, which may lead to distorted speech. Implanted teeth are as strong as natural teeth so eating and chewing are not difficult. When implanting teeth, unlike with bridge-work, there is no need to file or remove surrounding teeth, thus reducing the risk of oral disease. Best of all, implants allow patients to smile with confidence again, a big boost to self-esteem.

Who can benefit from implanted teeth?

Candidates for implants may have lost teeth through an accident, or as a side-effect of the prolonged use of some prescribed medication. It may be a cosmetic choice to remove unsightly teeth and replace them. Anyone with healthy gums and enough jawbone to support a dental implant can undergo the procedure, providing they are committed to good oral hygiene. Heavy smokers or patients with some poorly controlled diseases may have a higher risk of complications, so a risk assessment will need to be undertaken.

The dental implantation process

As advised on the website Webmd, the first step in the dental implant process is a treatment plan, drawn up by a trusted team of restorative dental surgeons. Any remaining teeth in the area of the implants will need to be extracted and the gum allowed to heal. Then a small titanium post is placed in the bone socket. Within a few weeks the jaw bone will have healed around this, holding it firmly in place. A connector post, or abutment, is attached to the implant ready to hold the new tooth. Replacement teeth are made after detailed impressions and models have been made of the patient's teeth and bite. The new tooth, or crown, is attached to the abutment. If several implants have been needed a small dental plate of teeth will be made to fix across the abutments.

Dental Implant after-care and follow up

The implant surgery will have been performed with local anaesthetic under sterile conditions, so complications are unlikely. Post surgery soreness is easily controlled with over-the-counter analgesics. A post treatment check-up will ascertain that the implants have successfully embedded. Titanium is commonly used for all surgical implants anywhere in the body, as it is rarely, if ever, rejected. A good programme of teeth and mouth cleaning, as well as regular dental visits will ensure the long-term success of the implanted teeth and a confident smile.

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