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A Complete Guide to Dental Implants

Cosmetic dentistry is developing very fast like all other fields of general and special health areas, resulting in improved systems to for restorative dental procedures. Dental implants are one of such advanced techniques used by millions of people all over the world, and is expected to frow still more in the coming years.

What are dental implants?

Dental implants are replaced tooth roots where original tooth roots are replaced with artificial metal posts inserted into the jawbone. These metal posts or screws are used to place crowns on top of it with the help of special appliance.

Who can opt for dental implants?

Anyone who needs to replace their missing or lost teeth can avail of dental implants. Since the dental implant procedure requires invasive surgery, it is important for the patient to be physically fir to undergo the surgery. You can have dental implants at any age, provided your immune system is healthy and you do not have any allergies to surgical procedure as well as certain antibiotics. It is also important that you are not on any radiation therapy or drugs which can interfere with healing process after implants are installed.

What preparations are required before dental implant surgery?

The first meeting with your dentist will be an introduction to what are implants and what the whole procedure involves. Once you realize that your teeth require to be replaced and you want to know how it can be done, your dentist will explain the various ways by which you can get your teeth replaced, among which dental implants is one. He will give you a detailed outline of all the steps that has to be followed in succession to get the dental implants installed. Once the decision has been taken with your consultation, the dentist will contact the team of experts who will oversee the whole procedures.

The first step will be to do a comprehensive examination to check on your teeth, gums, general and oral health and medication if any.

A series of x rays will be taken to determine not only the place and size of implant, but also if all your teeth are healthy and if any of the teeth requires root canal treatment or any treatment for any other issues. The team of doctors will then explain each stage and their role in it. After consulting you, the dentist will make a model of the impressions he has taken during initial examination. The model will be based on the smile that the you want to achieve after the implant surgery. The dentist will order the crowns and the implant based on your choice of teeth you want to have. You can choose the size, the shape and colour of the teeth you want to replace missing teeth. You have to decide how many teeth you want replaced.

Before the surgery your dentist has to determine the bone tissue in your jawbone. Strong bones are needed to endure the process of chewing. If your bones have receded, and there is no substantial bone left on your gums, then the team may decide to do grafting of bone to supplement bone material to support the implant. When your teeth have been lost for a long period, your bone mass may have resorbed in the body and not enough bone mass remains to support the implant.

If your jawbone needs grafting, then the bone for the grafting will come from another part of jaw bone which will be done before dental implant surgery. This part has to heal before actual implant is inserted in the jaw.

One implant can support more than one tooth also. Two implants at a distance can support a bridge with many teeth on it.

The procedure will begin after the dentist has determined the health of your jawbone, to make sure it is healthy and without any gum disease. If there is any bacterial infection in the gums, it will be treated so that the healing process and the osseointegration is not affected during implant procedure. Your dentist will take help from orthodontist, and your general physician if need be. If there is a need to extract one or more teeth, then it will be done before the implant insertion.

What is the actual dental implant procedure?

The dental implant is a metal screw, which is inserted into the jawbone.  The screw is left there untouched for a few months so that bone tissues will grow around it, and after a while the whole screw will be surrounded by the live bone tissue, which will make it immovable, fixed in the jaw like a natural root. This process of bone tissues growing around the metal screw is called osseointegration process which is vital for the implant to remain in place and support crowns on top of it. Unless osseointegration is complete, the crown cannot be put on top of the implant.

Abutment: After the implant is securely embedded in the jaw bone it is ready to have an abutment on top of it, which will help secure the crown with the implant. The abutment is a connector basically which is fixed onto the implant with tiny metal screws to keep it in place.

The crown: Once the abutment is fixed, a crown (replacement tooth) will be cemented on top of the abutment. Only the crown will be visible once all the procedures are over.

During all these procedures, the dentist will use anaesthesia as and when needed.

Cost of implants

Choosing to go for dental implants must be a considered decision. As discussed earlier, while discussing the feasibility of the procedure, the dentist will also discuss the cost. It is a long procedure, lasting between 3 to 9 months, which will require many visits to the dentist. You need to consider whether it will be possible for you to make so many visits to the dentist’s office. You must also be clear about the cost, due to the lengthy procedure.

You will also have to have some sort of substitute or temporary teeth, till you get your permanent crowns at the end of the dental implant installation. A little discomfort during and after surgeries is expected, but it will be taken care of by your dentist.

Ask your dentist about your food intake. During the multiple procedures, your dentist may ask you to refrain from hard and chewy foods. Soft food is advisable after the surgery as your jaw bone may be inflamed and sore.

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