People lose teeth for numerous reasons ranging from dental decay, gum disease, trauma or because they were missing at birth. This can lead to a loss in self-confidence due to unsightly gaps, and functional problems like not being able to chew adequately. Dental Implants replace the missing tooth or teeth in a natural-looking manner. The procedure involves the insertion of a titanium or zirconia implant into the jaw bone. The body then heals around the implant and it becomes incorporated into the body (Osseointegration). This is then used as a platform to construct a naturally looking tooth on top of it.
Dental Implants Procedure
A Dentist can ascertain whether you are eligible to have a dental implant to replace a missing tooth or teeth. The Dentist may do the dental implant themself or refer you to a specialist Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon or Periodontist who specializes in these procedures. Photos, radiographs and impressions of the jaws are taken as part of the implant workup to determine whether there’s adequate bone for the insertion of the implant. It also allows for the proper planning of the implant placement.
The dental implant procedure, which involves the insertion of the implant into the jaw bone, is usually carried out under intravenous sedation or general anaesthetic. A bone graft may also be performed to ensure that there is adequate bone to support the implant. The gum may be dissected from the bone before the implant is placed or the implant may be placed directly through the gum. Depending on the case, a crown may be placed immediately on the implant or the implant may be covered by the gums and allowed to heal. In the latter case, the implant is usually uncovered after eight weeks and a crown placed once the Dentist or Specialist is sure it has osseointegrated.
After Your Dental Implant Surgery
It is normal to experience some discomfort in the jaw after the surgery. Swelling is minimal and there may also be some bleeding. However, this will subside in about 5 days. It is imperative that the surgical site is kept clean and a vigorous oral hygiene regieme is given to the patient. This includes mouthrinsing, flossing and brushing around the implant. A patient who smokes must not do so while the implant is healing because this reduces the blood supply to the area and reduces the success of the implants dramatically. The patient is followed up by the Dentist or Specialist over the next few months.
The Long Term Outcome
Dental implants are by far the best and most reliable treatment option for missing teeth as they do not damage the surrounding teeth and are very predictable. Success rates of ninety five percent are reported. However, if the patient smokes or does not take care of the implant during the healing phase then the success rate diminishes considerably.
Dental Implant Risks
The main risk is that the implant does not integrate into the bone. Another risk of the surgical procedure is incorrect placement of the implant (the implant is inserted at the wrong angle). A final and minimal risk is that a nerve is damaged during implant placement causing numbness of the lips and teeth. These risks must be discussed with your specialist prior to any treatment.
Dental Implant Costs
Implants with subsequent crown placements cost from $5,000 to $7,000 per tooth.