Are Dental Implants Right For You?
Losing one or more of your teeth can be a devastating and embarrassing experience. Tooth loss occurs due to various factors such as age, genetics, physical impacts caused by accidents, or dental diseases. Whatever has caused you to lose one or more of your natural teeth, getting a restorative process done is an excellent way of getting a replacement. Many people who have lost their teeth have different restorative dental options to choose from. Two of the most important options are Dental Implants and Dentures. Dental implants and dentures each offer a wide range of restorative advantages. However, dental implants offer a permanent and natural-looking solution. If you have not yet visited your dentist for a restorative dental procedure, this article will guide you on the procedure and what to expect when you finally make the decision
What are Dental Implants?
Dental implants offer patients a permanent approach to restorative dentistry. For dental implants, a biocompatible material, usually titanium, is screwed into the jaw bone of the area with missing teeth. This biocompatible material or post will serve as a support structure on which a dental crown will be installed at a later appointment. Once the post has been installed, the gum is sewed shut, and the area is left to heal. After proper healing, the patient returns to the dentist for the second and final part of the procedure.
Generally, dental implants consist of three main parts;
The post or body of the implant. This is the part that is integrated into the jawbone and acts as the artificial tooth root.
The abutment. This is the portion that is attached to the body of the post or implant. This part is usually placed above the gum and secures the dental crown in place.
The crown. The crown is attached to the abutment and is designed to look like the rest of the patient’s teeth.
The entire process requires multiple outpatient procedures and takes time. Your dentist will begin with an initial consultation meeting where you will be presented with dental restorative options. After choosing dental implants, your dentist will make sure that you are the right candidate for the procedure. X-rays will be carried out to access your jawbone and determine whether it is sufficient to support the procedure. If your jawbone has shrunk over time, you may require other procedures like bone grafting. Bone grafting is done to extend the jawbone of the affected area so that it can support the implant properly.
If your dentist has determined that you have sufficient jawbone to support the procedure, the process is kick-started immediately. However, the time between the implant installation and the abutment placement may differ from patient to patient. This is because some patients heal faster than others, in general. Osseointegration or fusion of the titanium post and the jawbone can take two months or more.
Once the jawbone and the implant have fused, minor surgery is carried out to fix the abutment. The healing time may range from between two weeks to a month, after which the crown is installed.