What Is Dental Implant?
Dental implants offer a permanent solution to missing teeth. A dental implant is a small titanium screw which is surgically placed into the lower or upper jaw bone. It replaces the root of the missing tooth and serves as an anchor for your new tooth or teeth. Due to the biocompatible properties of titanium, a strong bond is formed between the implants and the bone over several weeks or months. Replacement tooth or teeth, in the form of crown, bridge or denture, is then placed over the implant.
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Advantages of dental implant
Implant supported replacement teeth most closely resemble natural teeth in terms of look, feel and function such as speech and chewing. They will not move during function, unlike conventional dentures. This will lead to improved speech and self-esteem. You can eat and chew better too
When missing tooth or teeth are not replaced, your jaw bone shrinks due to bone loss. This will affect your facial contour and appearance. Dental implant therapy minimizes bone loss and helps to prevent this process. Further more, this procedure does not involve grinding of adjacent healthy teeth. Thus your adjacent healthy teeth are preserved.
What Are The Processes In Dental Implant Treatment?
Pre-Treatment Evaluation And Treatment Planning
Your Dentist will carry out a detailed assessment with the aid of study models and radiographs to determine if it is feasible for dental implants to be placed. There must be adequate bone to surround an implant. Should there be a deficiency due to previous bone loss, the Dentist will discuss with you the different methods of bone augmentation.
It basically involves making a small incision in the gums to expose the underlying jaw bone so that the Dentist can prepare the chosen site for implant placement. During this process, you will feel some vibration, similar to that of having a tooth filled. This procedure is carried out under local anaesthesia. However, if you require sedation, please discuss with your dentist.
Placement Of Implant-Supported Crown, Bridge Or Denture
By this time, the implants would have integrated with your bone and the dentist will proceed with the fabrication of replacement teeth. An abutment connects the new tooth or teeth to the implant. This process may take a few visits. You should be able to function immediately after these replacement teeth have been fixed in your mouth. Your dentists may also want to see you again for a final review.
Is the treatment painful?
There will be some discomfort after implant placement, similar to extraction of a tooth. It is normal to have some bruising and swelling too but your Dentist will prescribe some painkiller and anti-swelling medications. You will be advised to adhere to soft diet after the surgery. You should brush your teeth but to avoid the surgical area for the first two weeks.
What precautions should I take before surgery?
If you are a smoker, you should stop smoking for at least two weeks before the surgery. Studies have shown that smoking decease the success rate of implant placement significantly.
When can I resume my normal activities?
Most people return to work within a day or two after the surgery. If you are an existing denture wearer, your denture may need to be adjusted to ensure a better fit during this interim period. Please contact your dentist.
What is the success rate for dental implants?
Dental implants have been in used for over thirty years. The long term success rate is reported to be as high as 95%. However, smoking and some medical conditions, such as diabetes, will compromise wound healing and increase the risk of implant failure.
How long does implants last?
Implants can fail if you do not practice proper oral hygiene techniques. As such, it is important for you to visit your Dentist at least twice a year to assess your overall oral hygiene condition and the implant stability. Proper brushing, flossing and regular dental check-ups will help to ensure the long term success of your implants