Dental implants are a solution to the problem of missing teeth. Having teeth missing can make us feel self conscious about how we look, and also cause us problems in everyday life, such as eating or speaking.
What are dental implants?
A dental implant is used to support one or more false teeth. It is a titanium screw that can replace the root of a tooth when it fails. Just like a tooth root, it is placed into the jawbone.
Am I a candidate for dental implants?
Generally speaking, if you have lost teeth. It is important that you are in good health, however, as there are some conditions and diseases that can affect whether dental implants are right for you. For example, uncontrolled diabetes, cancer, radiation to the jaws, smoking, alcoholism, or uncontrolled periodontal (gum) disease may affect whether dental implants will fuse to your bone. It is important to let your dental surgeon know all about your medical status (past and present) together with all medications you are taking, whether prescribed, alternative (herbal) or over-the-counter.
Where and how implants are placed requires a detailed assessment including x-rays and scans.
What are the options for implant tooth replacement?
Single Tooth Replacement: Immediately (at the same time an implant is placed) or after a period of healing, an abutment is attached to the implant. This is a device that “abuts??? or joins the implant to a tooth form called a crown, which replaces the tooth part you see in the mouth. It will hold a custom-made crown that the dental laboratory will fabricate and match to your existing teeth. The custom crown is cemented or screwed onto the abutment to permanently keep it in place. Once the crown is in place, it should be indistinguishable from your natural teeth.
Fixed Multiple Tooth Replacement: As with single tooth replacement, temporary healing caps or abutments may be placed on multiple implants until the healing phase is complete. After healing, permanent abutments are attached to the implants. They can attach to custom-made crowns or bridgework that a dental laboratory will fabricate to match your existing teeth. In the final step, the custom bridge, which will replace multiple teeth, is cemented or screwed onto the abutments. The teeth have been replaced without disturbing the healthy teeth next to them, and bone loss has been halted.
Removable Implant-Supported Tooth Replacement: If all your teeth are missing, 2-6 implants may be used to support a denture. A new denture clips onto the implants making it much more stable and comfortable. This will give you more confidence in wearing a denture and minimise future loss of your jaw bone.