What are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are medical devices that are surgically implanted in the jaw to restore a person's ability to chew or their appearance. They support artificial (artificial) teeth such as crowns, bridges or dentures.
Dental implant systems consist of a dental implant body and a dental implant abutment, and may also include a screw to secure the abutment. The dental implant body is surgically implanted into the jawbone in place of the tooth root. The dental implant abutment is usually attached to the implant body with a fixation screw and extends through the gum into the mouth to support the attached artificial teeth.
When can I get Dental Implants?
When a person loses a tooth as a result of injury or disease, they may experience complications such as rapid bone loss, speech defects or changes in the chewing pattern that cause discomfort. Replacing a lost tooth with a dental implant can greatly improve a patient's quality of life and health.
How long will the healing process take?
Your general health is an important factor in determining whether you are a good candidate for dental implants, how long the healing process will take and how long the implant can remain in place.
The healing process of the implant body can take several months or more, during which time a temporary abutment is usually in place of the tooth.
What instructions should I follow after the implant procedure?
Carefully follow the oral hygiene instructions given to you by your doctor. Regular cleaning of the implant and surrounding teeth is very important for the long-term success of the implant.
Schedule regular visits to your dentist.
If you feel your implant is loose or sore, notify your dentist immediately.
What are the benefits of Dental Implants?
Restores the ability to chew
Restores the cosmetic appearance
Helps preserve the jawbone from shrinking due to bone loss
Preserves the health of the surrounding bone and gums
Helps preserve the stability of neighbouring (adjacent) teeth
Improves quality of life.
What risks can be associated with dental implant systems?
Damage to surrounding natural teeth during implant placement
Feeling of the tooth wobbling or twisting in place due to loosening of the abutment screw
Failure of the implant body (loosening of the implant body)
due to systemic infection, which can be more likely in patients with uncontrolled diabetes
Local infection in the bone and gums that support the implant body
delayed healing, which may be more likely in people who smoke.
Difficulty in cleaning the gum around the implant, resulting in poor oral hygiene
Untreated periodontal disease
Post-operative numbness due to a pinched or damaged nerve.
How is the implant surgery performed?
The oral surgeon opens the gum to expose the dental implant.
The abutment is attached to the dental implant
The gum tissue is then closed around, but not over the abutment.
In some cases the abutment is attached to the metal post of the dental implant as it is being implanted. This means that you will not need an additional surgical step. However, because the abutment protrudes beyond the gumline, it is visible when you open your mouth and will remain so until your dentist completes the restoration. Some people don't like this appearance and prefer to have the abutment fitted in a separate procedure.
Once the abutment is in place, your gums will need to heal for about two weeks before the artificial tooth can be attached.
What type of anaesthesia is used to insert the implant?
This small operation is usually performed under local anaesthesia on an outpatient basis.