Dental implants are the crowning achievement of tooth restoration technology. Nothing comes close to an implant’s ability to restore the look, feel, function, and health benefits of a fully functioning tooth.
As dental technologies develop, the potential uses for dental implants increase. From single tooth restorations to a full mouth restoration, implants present many exciting opportunities for dentists and patients alike.
What Is A Dental Implant?
A dental implant is basically a titanium screw. This gets implanted into the jaw where the root of a tooth used to be, and forms a new, artificial tooth root.
Titanium is used because it’s bio-compatible. Tissue will form around the metal without starting an immune response. This way there’s no inflammation or rejection of the implant.
From there, many things can be attached to a dental implant.
A single crown will make the implant a replacement for a single tooth.
A bridge of 3-4 teeth can be mounted on one or two implants to restore several missing teeth.
A full upper or lower denture can be supported on as little as four implants per arch to restore every missing tooth.
Why Should I Get an Implant?
When you have a tooth extracted, you leave a gap in your mouth. Since our bodies are constantly changing over time, this gap will eventually close.
The hole where the tooth root is will eventually collapse as there’s nothing to support the bone around it. The space between the teeth may be closed when teeth either side of the gap “tip” over into it.
All of these events will negatively impact your ability to eat and chew properly, and can result in further damage to other teeth in the future.
What’s The Process of Getting A Dental Implant?
Step one is to remove the tooth or teeth needing to be replaced, if they haven’t been taken out already.
Next, the implant is placed into the jaw. The gum is sewed shut over the top, and the site is allowed to heal. During this time, the bone will fuse to the implant.
Once the implant is set in place, the gum will be opened and a connecting point — an abutment — will be attached to the implant.
Finally, the restoration — from one crown to an entire denture — is connected to the abutment.
The process can take several weeks to several months, depending on the number of implants, health of the mouth, and available bone volume.
Who Can Get A Dental Implant?
Implants are suitable for just about anyone with a healthy mouth and enough bone volume.
Some contraindications include:
Too little bone volume. This can be fixed with bone augmentation or grafting in certain cases.
Smoking is generally a contraindications for any major oral surgery, as it greatly increases the risk of gum disease and weakens the gums.
Certain medications and medical conditions that would make surgery a risk will also be relevant to whether you can get implants. Consult with your dentist if you’re unsure.