How Do Dental Implants Work

If you are in line for dental implants, there are a lot of options available today. It is good to keep in mind that some dental implants are better than others and can provide a more "natural tooth" feeling.

Dental implants take the place of a missing tooth by filling in the gaps with an artificial tooth and are essential for ensuring good oral health. These replacements comprise of three parts:

Crown: The tooth-like part of the implant, usually made of ceramic material, designed to look like a natural tooth.

Connector: Sometimes called an “abutment,” the connector is used to secure and support the implant to its base.

Base: A titanium screw that fuses with natural bone to provide a safe, stable and long term base.

The dental implant process needs oral surgery and is performed while a patient is under the effect of local anaesthesia. To control pain, anaesthesia options during surgery include local anaesthesia, sedation or general anaesthesia.

Talk to your dental specialist about which option is best for you. Your dental care team will instruct you about eating and drinking before surgery, depending on what type of anaesthesia you will be using. If you're having sedation or general anaesthesia, plan to have someone take you home after surgery and expect to rest for the remainder of the day.

During the treatment, the dentist drills a small hole in the jawbone and carefully screws the base into the bone, forming the tooth root. The gum tissue is then placed over the implant so that it can heal naturally.

Once the area has healed, the second round of treatment is needed to fit the connector into the top of the implant. The last step involves adjusting the crown on top of the connector. This crown is attached to the connector with special dental cement and a small screw.

There are significant differences between implant materials. You don’t need to research the make, model, and contents of dental implants (as you would when purchasing a car). Have faith in your dentists and their treatment plan.

Problems or complications with dental implants are rare, and in case something does happen, they tend to be minor and can be treated quite easily.

The risks may involve:

Infection at the implant site.

Injury or damage to surrounding structures, such as other teeth or blood vessels.

Nerve damage, which can cause pain, numbness or tingling in your natural teeth, gums, lips or chin or sinus problems, when dental implants placed in the upper jaw protrude into one of your sinus cavities.

The process for dental implants may involve a variety of professionals, who may offer advice, diagnosis or treatment at different stages.

These professionals may including a doctor who specializes in conditions of the mouth, jaw and face (also commonly known as an oral and maxillofacial surgeon), a dentist specializing in treating structures that support the teeth, such as gums and bones (periodontist) and a dentist who designs and fits artificial teeth (prosthodontist).

Because dental implants require one or more surgical procedures, you must have a thorough evaluation to prepare for the process, including a:

Comprehensive dental exam

Review of your medical history

Treatment structure

Dental implant surgery is usually an outpatient surgery performed in stages, with healing time between procedures. The process of placing a dental implant involves multiple steps, including:

Damaged tooth removal

Jawbone preparation (bone grafting), when needed

Dental implant placement

Bone growth and healing

Abutment placementArtificial tooth placement

The entire process can take many months from start to finish. Much of that time is devoted to healing and waiting for the growth of new bone in your jaw. Depending on your situation, the specific procedure which is done or the materials used, certain steps can sometimes be combined.

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