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All about implants

Implants serve as artificial roots to replace natural teeth lost from decay or trauma and should feel and act like natural teeth. They are part of a prosthetic dental treatment aimed at reinstating a healthy mouth condition.

As discussed in the video below, changes resulting from fewer-than-normal teeth in the mouth cause poor oral health. Complications due to missing teeth include loss of bone in the jaw, shifting teeth, trouble keeping natural teeth clean and resultant periodontal disease, grinding and clenching of the teeth, jaw pain, chewing problems, and gum shrinkage and recession.

Dental implants are known to last longer than fixed bridges and removable dentures, and to have fewer issues. Discuss the alternatives to dental implants, including endodontic root canal therapy, with your dentist.


The examination

The examination performed by your dentist includes a visual exam of your teeth and mouth, x-rays, impressions, and bite registrations. If there is inflammation, it will be treated before any other procedures. If there is decay in the natural teeth or periodontal disease, this will also be treated first. Approval from your medical doctor will be sought if you suffer from a systemic illness. Your dentist will now explain the treatment in more detail, including the recommended plan of action.

The treatment

After an examination, your dentist may find that tooth implants are an excellent solution to a missing tooth or teeth. Tooth implants are implanted directly into the jawbone. During the healing process, the bone adheres to the implant, integrating the dental implant into the bone.

When the operation begins, a local anaesthetic is applied, and the jaw is exposed where the implant will be inserted into the bone. The implant site is prepared, the implant inserted, and the gum stitched. The post-operative pain and recovery time is similar to that of a tooth extraction.

The healing period lasts for at least 90 days. It can take three to six months, depending on the patient’s circumstances, for the implant to become securely anchored to the jaw. During this time, the implant is protected from harm beneath the gum.

After this phase, a new tooth is affixed to the small titanium rod that is screwed into the implant, much like a crown after root canal therapy.

Implants can also be used to support an overdenture or implant supported denture. The video below displays an animation of the process.