The dental implant field has a long history, dating back to the late 60s, when the procedure was first introduced. Before then, there were recorded cases of rudimentary dental implants made of bamboo and copper in ancient China and Egypt.
Since then, modern-day implants have grown in popularity and technical advances, affording individuals a long-term solution to tooth loss and its associated challenges.
This post will unpack dental implants, how they work, and an in-depth look at the procedure, benefits, and drawbacks. We will also look at the different types of dental implants, allowing you to decide whether to get implants or not.
The Mechanics Behind Dental Implants
Dental implants are artificial tooth roots designed to fit inside the jaw bone like a standard tooth root. The implant serves as a foundation for a crown or bridge while functioning similarly to a natural tooth root.
The crown, custom-made to fit the size, shape, and color of your natural teeth, sits neatly on the artificial tooth root.
The surgically inserted implants are typically made from titanium, which is biocompatible. This means that, over time, the implant will fuse with the jawbone while maintaining the bone structure of your jaw and face. This process is also known as osseointegration.
By functioning as a natural tooth and tooth root, dental implants provide a long-lasting and aesthetically pleasing solution to tooth loss.
Dental Implant Procedure: What to Expect
Getting dental implants involves several steps and a significant amount of time.
First, a dentist or oral surgeon will determine the viability of a dental implant. Factors to consider include medical history and any underlying medical conditions that may affect whether an implant can be placed.
Once a thorough examination has taken place, the surgical procedure can start with inserting the implant. While pain is subjective, many compare the procedure’s pain to a root canal.
Firmly nestled in the jawbone, the dental implant will need some time to heal and to fuse with the bone. Commonly referred to as the bone integration (osseointegration) phase, this healing period can take a few weeks to several months.
During this time, it’s essential to follow the instructions and advice of your dental physician, such as avoiding very hot or icy cold drinks and sticking to soft foods.
Once osseointegration has occurred, an abutment will be placed, connecting the implant and the crown (prosthetic tooth).
Depending on your treatment plan, follow-up checkups are recommended to ensure the implant and crown are in good condition.
What Are The Benefits of Dental Implants?
Tooth loss can be caused by various factors, including poor oral health, accidents, and even chronic diseases such as diabetes. The effects of missing one, some, or even all of your teeth can harm your overall health and well-being.
Superficially, tooth loss can change your smile and the structure of your face, which may lead to challenges with your self-esteem and mental health. On a physiological level, tooth loss may also affect your appetite, decreasing your ability to receive proper nutrition.
With dental implants, these issues can be mitigated and even overcome, and here is why:
- Dental implants are an effective and long-lasting solution to tooth loss.
- The implants blend seamlessly with the rest of your teeth.
- They help to prevent bone loss and contribute to maintaining the shape of your jawbone.
- They are vital in achieving and keeping up good general oral health.
- Unlike other dental solutions, such as removable dentures, implants are stable in your mouth.
What Are The Challenges of Dental Implants?
Dental implants are an effective long-term solution for tooth loss but have some drawbacks. Here are some things to consider when deciding to get dental implants.
It is usually more expensive.
The cost of dental implants is often higher than other teeth replacement options, such as bridges and traditional dentures. Various factors influence the pricing, including how many implants are needed, the type of implant, and whether any additional procedures are necessary.
The procedure is invasive and time-consuming.
Getting implants is not a walk-in and walk-out process. The surgical placing of the implant calls for anesthesia in most cases, and the recovery and healing process can take considerable time out of your schedule. The dental visits required before, during, and after the procedure may also take time.
Dental implants are not for everyone.
While an effective solution is gaining popularity and technical advances, not all patients are good candidates for dental implants. At the initial checkup, it will be determined whether your bone density is strong enough to handle the implant. If not, bone grafting will be required. Certain conditions, like uncontrolled diabetes and gum disease, may also affect the viability of dental implants.
Different Types of Dental Implants
Dental implants have come a long way since the copper replacement tooth was found in ancient Egypt thousands of years ago. Today, there are three main types of implants available.
1) Endosteal implants, made of titanium posts and shaped like a screw, are the most popular implants as they are versatile and suit most patients with sufficient jawbone density.
2) For those with shallow jawbones, for whom endosteal implants are not an option, there are subperiosteal implants. These implants are placed above the jawbone, under the gum tissue.
3) Zygomatic implants are inserted into the cheekbone instead of the jawbone in cases of extreme bone loss in the upper jaw.
Dental Implants and Your Journey to Good Oral Health
Tooth loss is something we all hope to never face. But when that day comes, rest assured that many dental implant options are available to help you overcome the loss and regain your lasting smile.
We hope this guide has shed some light on dental implants and how they can benefit you and your oral health. From helping you to maintain your facial structure to allowing you to chew food correctly, dental implants can positively impact your life.
Don’t just take our word for it; visit our implant gallery to see how transformative dental implants can be.Share This: