The artificial roots that are used to support a restoration for missing teeth are called dental implants. Dental implant surgery is considered a form of prosthetic dentistry. However, the dental implant procedure is also deemed a form of cosmetic dentistry.
Individuals who have lost a tooth or more can feel self-conscious when talking, eating, or smiling. In addition, any biting irregularities secondary to tooth loss can have a negative impact on eating habits.
At times this can lead to further health problems like malnutrition. When the missing tooth roots are replaced, dental implants can provide the stability and strength required to eat any food without struggling to chew.
In addition, dental implants can help stimulate and retain jawbone so bone loss is avoided and the facial features are supported.
What to Expect During the Consultation
To assess if dental implants are right for you, a consultation with your oral surgeon or dentist. During the consultation, your teeth and gums will be examined. Your bone quantity and density will also be evaluated.
Computer tomography (CT) scans and X-rays may also be required to check if there is enough bone structure to support the dental implants. The dentist will also determine where the dental implants will be placed.
The dentist will create the most suitable treatment plan based on the following crucial factors:
- Condition of the oral tissues
- Personal habits
- Oral hygiene
- Commitment to follow aftercare instructions
Patients with insufficient gum or bone will require soft tissue or bone grafts. When appropriate, the use of mini dental implants might be recommended. During the consultation process, your dentist will give you a timeline of the treatment from start to finish.
During the initial consultation, anesthesia options will also be discussed. When applicable, sedation dentistry might also be considered. The estimated cost of the dental implants will also be talked about.
Dental implant cost can vary from one patient to another and will be based on several factors.
Before the Dental Implant Procedure
If the patient has underlying health issues, it must be managed properly first before the dental implant procedure begins. Common issues such as gum disease and tooth decay can make the dental implant treatment less effective.
For those patients who are heavy smokers, their dentist will most likely advise them to quit smoking first as it can affect the effectiveness of the treatment. Smoking has also been known to impact osseointegration, the process where the dental implant fuses with the jawbone.
Once the dentist considers someone healthy enough for the procedure, the treatment can begin.
Placing the Dental Implant(s)
Nowadays, dental implant restorations are indistinguishable from the natural teeth. This appearance is aided in part by the functional and structural connection by the living bone and the dental implant. The dental implant procedure is typically carried out in a single sitting. However, time for osseointegration will be required.
Basically, osseointegration is the process where the implant fuses with the jawbone. Osseointegration can take anywhere between six weeks to six months. Once osseointegration has taken place, a crown, bridge, or hybrid denture restoration will be placed. If osseointegration does not occur, the dental implant will fail.
Ideally, dental implantation is done after adolescence or when bone growth is already complete. Certain medical conditions such as cancer, diabetes, or periodontal disease will be treated first before the dental implant procedure can be carried out.
Generally, once the implant has been placed, adhering to diligent oral hygiene is required to ensure proper integration with the bone structure. It is also important to keep in mind that without proper oral hygiene, infection can occur and the dental implant procedure can fail.