What are dental implants?
Dental implants are rods, usually made of threaded titanium, that is screwed into holes that are drilled into the upper or lower jaw, in style replacing the root of a tooth. Over time, the implant melds with the bone of the jaw to make a secure foundation for fastening crowns, bridges, or dentures.
Implants provide a strong and long-lasting base for dental appliances and are especially effective when natural teeth are missing or can no longer serve well as anchoring points.
How are inserts installed?
In keeping with the adage “Measure twice, cut once” the first steps in dental implantation are a careful assessment of the task, considering the goals in mind for the job, the alternatives, and the particulars of the case. The ideal patient for implants has no bone density issues (such as osteoporosis), is in generally good health, is a non-smoker, has no drug dependencies, does not grind their teeth, and is likely to heal quickly from dental surgery.
Once the decision to install dental implants has been made, the dentist will make an incision in the gum to access the bone where the implant will be placed. The dentist then drills a pilot hole into the bone, followed by a series of enlarging holes to bring the drilled hole to the precise size for the implant. Drilling is carefully done to ensure the bone is not damaged or burned so that it will be fully receptive to the implant. The implant is then screwed into place.
After the initial implant
At this point, the process can follow a number of paths. In the past, the steps between extraction of the natural tooth, the drilling and insertion of the implant, and the loading of the new tooth attachments (crown, bridge, or denture) could be separated in time by weeks or even months. More commonly now, as techniques and materials have improved, it’s possible that the extraction, implantation, and loading can all be achieved in a single dental visit.
It’s now understood that the critical melding of the bone and implant (termed “osseointegration”) is best achieved by a high quality in the initial fit and that the stability of the implant depends as much on good fit and careful follow-through as on the simple passage of time. As a result, modern dentistry has managed to greatly reduce the time needed for completion of the implant.
If you’ve known about dental implants for a while, it might be time to update your information. Recently, dental implants have become simpler and easier to fit than in the past, and these days implants can be fitted with fewer complications after surgery.
The materials used in today’s dental implants are also better than those used in the past, offering the benefits of less risk of infection after surgery, better bone bonding, and longer service in use.
In the past, dental implants were seen as costly, complicated, and involving a long recovery, with significant risks of post-operative failures and body rejection. Fortunately, all of these traditional drawbacks of dental implants have been addressed, and with generally great success.
The cost of dental implants now competes with dental crowns, bridges, and dentures that do not use implants as anchors.
Better bone bonding is also now attained with the use of biocompatible materials that lead to less rejection, as well as advanced techniques of bone grafting to provide a secure foundation.
The result is that today’s implants achieve faster stability (usually in the range of three months), and are stronger and longer-lasting than older implant methods and materials.
Dental implants also have numerous advantages over other dental options. First, they are usually the most aesthetic option and are often undetectable.
Implants are the most hygienic option as well, being easily maintained and not susceptible to dental caries and bacteria. While traditional dentures and bridges are in constant need of cleaning, the demands of dental implants are less. That’s not to say however that implants can be ignored! Remember that implants are usually still in a mouth that is also using natural teeth, and the many benefits of good oral health apply, implants or not.
Dental implants are less likely to instigate periodontic disease, as their integration with the bone structure of the jaws and their fit with natural teeth is extremely stable, leading to fewer sites of infection and irritation.
Implants have always offered the significant advantage of being the most comfortable dental option, as well as being a conservative option as the implants do not involve other teeth in their anchoring.
Remember also that dental implants are not always just one thing: at times implants are a means of providing a secure foundation for conventional bridges and dentures.
The numerous advantages of implants added to the recent advantages in techniques, materials, and dropping costs, make implants a strong candidate to consider when looking at dental support for crowns, bridges, and dentures.