A dental implant is an imitation tooth fixed firmly into your jawbone in the gap where the original tooth once was. A dental implant looks and feels like a natural tooth and after a while you may start to believe that you never lost a tooth in the first place. .
The stages for placing a dental implant
Dental implant surgery is becoming far more common and usually takes place in the dentist’s surgery. It’s not a painful process, but just to ensure you remain comfortable throughout the whole procedure a local anaesthetic is usually used. There are also other types of sedation available, such as nitrous oxide, intravenous sedation and oral sedation. Once the type of sedation has been determined and you are happy with the arrangement, the implant will be put in place.
The first stage consists of drilling a hole and burying the implant, which is an artificial root made from titanium, into the bone. The implant will be under the gum but in line with the bone and it will be covered over until it has healed.
During the second stage, the implant will need to be uncovered and an abutment will be placed over the implant. The gum is then left to heal around the abutment and when this has been completed an artificial tooth is fixed on top. Sometimes an abutment is fixed in place with the implant, but even though this may save time the bone still needs to osseointegrate with the implant.
A one-stage dental implant
This method uses a one-piece implant with a metal collar that protrudes through the gum while the implant is being accepted by the bone. After some healing time, an abutment is linked up to the implant and an artificial tooth is placed on top.
How long will a dental implant last?
Dental implant technology is not that new. Up to now it is unable to boast a 100 percent success rate, but on average it is closer to 90 percent. If a dental implant fails to successfully integrate with its surroundings it will need to be removed. It is possible to replace it and have another go at implanting. All this depends on how much useful bone remains after the old implant has been removed. Sometimes it may be necessary to take a small piece of bone from another part of your body and graft it onto the bone into the space where the implant will need to be placed. This offers more strength for the dental implant.
A dental implant offers several benefits over other options for tooth replacement such as dentures.
- It looks and functions like a normal tooth.
- It replaces one tooth and does not affect the health of adjacent teeth.
- A tooth supported by a fixed bridge involves filing down adjacent teeth so that can more easily be cemented to the bridge.
- Dental implants help to maintain healthy bone as they integrate with it.
If you believe a dental implant is right for you, contact your dentist for an assessment of your teeth and the move you should take next.