Dental implants are metal root replacements for missing teeth that are placed into the bone. They take approximately 4 to 6 months to integrate with the bone at which time they are able to support a crown (cap), bridge or denture. Even if there is any bone loss from previous infection, periodontitis, etc., a bone graft can be placed before the implant to replenish some of the lost bone.
What are dental implants made of?
They are made of titanium and coated with a titanium alloy which is compatible with bone.
How long do they last? Dental implants have a very high success rate of over 95%. A large advantage to this procedure is that if they are placed and subsequently integrated, they usually last indefinitely. There are, however, certain risk factors that may compromise the integration process or the longevity of the implant.
How are dental implants placed?
Implants are typically placed by an oral surgeon, periodontist, prostodontist, or a trained general dentist. This can be done under local anesthetic or sedation depending on the case and usually involves no discomfort during, and minimal discomfort after the procedure.
There are special x-rays or tomographs that are taken prior to placement to ensure all vital structures, such as nerves, are avoided and the implants are placed only within bone.
Before placement or on the day of surgery a temporary denture is inserted to ensure the patient never goes with missing teeth. When the implants are integrated some months later, the prostodontist or general dentist places the dentures, crowns or bridges securely onto the implants.
Risk factors or contraindications of dental implants. The main risk factors associated with implants are smoking, poor oral hygiene, diabetes (especially if uncontrolled), other compromising diseases, and possibly some medications.
It is important to review your health history thoroughly with your dentist before commencing any dental treatment, including implants.
Will my implants feel like my natural teeth?
One of the main advantages of implants is that they do feel like natural teeth. They function and look like natural teeth, do not decay or require root canals. They maintain the surrounding bone, whereas if there was no tooth or implant, the bone would resorb or recede.
This is one of the only procedures that replace teeth without affecting any existing teeth in the mouth. They are by far the best treatment option to replace missing teeth and are widely used in my practice, resulting in many very happy patients.