Dental Implants

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Dental Implants: An Overview

Dental implants are a popular and effective solution for replacing missing teeth. They are designed to provide a foundation for replacement teeth that look, feel, and function like natural teeth. The person who has lost teeth regains the ability to eat virtually anything, knowing that teeth appear natural and that facial contours will be preserved. Implants are titanium posts that are surgically placed into the jawbone where teeth are missing. These metal anchors act as tooth root substitutes. The bone bonds with the titanium, creating a strong foundation for artificial teeth. Small posts are then attached to the implant, which protrudes through the gums. These posts provide stable anchors for artificial replacement teeth.

Benefits of Dental Implants

  • Improved Oral Health:

    Dental implants don't require reducing other teeth, as a tooth-supported bridge does. Because nearby teeth are not altered to support the implant, more of your own teeth are left intact, improving long-term oral health. Individual implants also allow easier access between teeth, improving oral hygiene

  • Durability:

    Implants are very durable and will last many years. With good care, many implants last a lifetime

  • Convenience:

    Removable dentures are just that; removable. Dental implants eliminate the embarrassing inconvenience of removing dentures, as well as the need for messy adhesives to keep them in place

Types of Dental Implants

  • Endosteal Implants:

    These are the most common type of dental implant and are placed directly into the jawbone, acting as an artificial root to hold a replacement tooth or bridge

  • Subperiosteal Implants:

    These implants are placed under the gum but on or above the jawbone. This type is used for patients with insufficient bone height or who cannot wear conventional dentures

Procedure

  • Damaged Tooth Removal:

    If necessary, the damaged tooth is removed.

  • Jawbone Preparation (Grafting):

    If the jawbone is not thick enough or is too soft, bone grafting may be required.

  • Dental Implant Placement:

    The dental implant, made of titanium, is placed into the bone socket of the missing tooth.

  • Bone Growth and Healing:

    The jawbone grows around the implanted metal post, anchoring it securely in the jaw.

  • Abutment Placement:

    Once the implant has bonded to the jawbone, a small connector post called an abutment is attached to the post to hold the new tooth securely.

  • Artificial Tooth Placement:

    After the abutment is placed, a crown - a replacement tooth - is attached to the abutment

Man showing his tooth with implant

Recovery and Care

  • Initial Healing:

    The initial healing phase, where the implant integrates with the bone, can take several months. During this time, patients may be given a temporary denture for aesthetic purposes.

  • Long-Term Care:

    Once the implants are fully integrated, patients will receive their permanent crowns. Dental implants require the same care as real teeth, including brushing, flossing, and regular dental check-ups.

Considerations

  • Health Requirements:

    Ideal candidates for dental implants should have good general and oral health, adequate bone to support the implant, and healthy gum tissues free from periodontal disease.

  • Risks and Complications:

    As with any surgical procedure, there are risks involved, including infection, damage to other teeth, and nerve damage. However, the success rate for dental implants is high, and failures are rare

Conclusion

Dental implants are a highly successful and versatile solution for tooth loss, providing benefits that surpass those of other tooth replacement options. With proper care and maintenance, dental implants can offer a permanent solution for restoring functionality and aesthetics to a patient's smile.

FAQ:

The success rate of dental implants varies depending on several factors, including the type of implant, the patient's health, the surgeon's experience, and the quality of aftercare. However, various sources provide a general range for the success rate of dental implants:

  • Endosteal implants, which are the most common type, have a success rate of around 95%
  • A retrospective study reported that the success rate of implants over 10 years is between 90% and 95%
  • Another study observed long-term cumulative rates of 94.6% for survival and 89.7% for success rates, respectively, after a mean follow-up of 13.4 years
  • Large-scale studies have reported long-term survival rates of implants between 93.3% and 98%
  • A 6-year retrospective observational survey found an overall failure rate of 3.11%, which implies a success rate of approximately 96.89%

The dental implant process can take several months, depending on factors such as dental health, which teeth are being replaced, and whether additional procedures like extractions or bone grafts are needed.

Caring for dental implants is similar to caring for natural teeth, involving regular brushing, flossing, and dental check-ups. Proper maintenance can ensure their longevity.

The most common types of dental implants are endosteal (placed in the jawbone) and subperiosteal (placed on top of the jawbone). Zygomatic implants are less common and are placed in the cheekbone.

Dental implants are considered safe and effective, with a long history of use. They are made from biocompatible materials and are the only restoration method that stimulates natural bone beneath the missing tooth.

Yes, dental implants are a common and increasingly popular solution for replacing missing teeth due to their reliability and natural appearance.

Yes, dental implants can be removed, although they are designed to be a permanent solution for missing teeth. The removal process can be complex and may require specific techniques depending on the situation.

Yes, dental implants can indeed lift your face and improve your facial appearance by preventing bone loss, restoring natural facial contours, and supporting facial muscles, contributing to a fuller, more youthful look.