Having a missing tooth, or teeth, isn’t just an aesthetic problem, it can also severely affect your overall oral and dental health. Your mouth is a complete structure. This means that, when a tooth falls out, a part of that structure is lost, placing undue stress on the rest of the mouth. This can lead to further tooth loss and other forms of damage. This can eventually have a negative impact on your overall health and well-being.
A dental implant is the most effective means of replacing a tooth and restoring the structure and function of your mouth.
What Is a Dental Implant?
A dental implant makes use of a metal post and a crown to replace a missing tooth. The metal used is medical-grade and is known to be non-reactive to our human bone. Just like our hip/knee replacements. The crown is usually made of metal fused with porcelain or ceramic, so it looks exactly like a real tooth. For multiple teeth supported by multiple implants, sometimes a very strong type of acrylic can be used to form the bridge as well. The strength of these materials means that, once your treatment is complete, you can brush and chew as you usually would.
The Dental Implant Procedure
Every dental implant procedure is different, with jawbone health having a significant say on the type of methods available to you. A typical procedure will run as follows:
- First Visit: The first visit is a consultation, where the health of your bones and gums will be examined to see if you are suited to an implant procedure. You require a certain amount of jawbone strength and density to have an implant fitted, and if you aren’t suitable, you may elect for a bridge or denture procedure instead. Your dentist will likely refer you to have a particular scan done called the Cone Beam CT scan, this gives a 3-D understanding of your anatomical structure in the area needing the implant. All your risk factors will be assessed also, your smoking history, medical history etc will all be taken into account of to determine your suitability.
- Second Visit: Once you are deemed suitable to have an implant placed, the carefully treatment planned implant will be inserted. There is no pain involved during the procedure since it will be done under local anesthetic. Sometimes the situation will even allow immediate insertion of an implant at the time of the tooth extraction.
- Third Visit: In between the second and third visits, the implant will actually fuse with your jawbone. This process is called osteointegration. Once this fusion has taken place and the site has completely healed, we can attach the crown to the post, and you have a brand-new tooth!
What Can I Expect After the Procedure?
As with any surgical procedure, there maybe some post-surgical effects, including:
- Swelling around the gums or face
- Skin and gum bruising
- Minor bleeding
- Pain around the site of the implant
These effects will usually subside in the days following the implant. Appropriate pain relief will be prescribed by the dentist. If they persist or get worse, get in touch with your dentist so they can remedy the situation.
What Results Can I Expect?
Dental implants have extremely high-success rates, but it is up to you to take care of your teeth and gums to ensure success. Tooth loss is usually a result of poor dental habits, and it’s imperative that you take up a good oral health routine immediately after surgery. That means brushing twice a day, flossing once a day, eating a healthy diet and visiting the dentist at least every six months.
Other lifestyle factors can also compromise the success of the implant, including smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. You also need to avoid bad habits, like chewing on hard objects or grinding your teeth.
In the rare event that the bone fails to fuse in between visit two and three, the implant will need to be removed, and you can try the procedure again in another few months.
Why Opt for Dental Implants?
Dental implants have many benefits of other tooth loss treatments:
- They don’t have to be removed while eating or sleeping, meaning you don’t have to discreetly remove a bridge or dentures when you’re out for dinner or before you go to bed.
- You can clean and look after them like any other tooth, so all you have to do is brush and floss, and they’ll stay good as new.
- The original cost may be more expensive than other options, but if you look after them, you’ll enjoy your implants for far longer than removable or more temporary options.
A dental implant procedure is not just a way to restore the function of your mouth, it’s also a great way to improve your self-confidence. Missing teeth can have a severe effect on your self-esteem. Without confidence in your smile, you may withdraw from social situations, and even feel uncomfortable talking in a social setting.
With a dental implant, you’ll restore your confidence, restore the function of your mouth and set yourself up for a happier life where you can eat the (healthy) foods you like, smile in photos, talk in social settings and go to bed feeling happy and content every single night.
For more information, take a look at your dental implant blogs below: