Dental implants are a popular choice for individuals looking to improve their oral health and enhance their smiles.
Whether you want to know if dental implants are the solution to restoring your confident smile or want to discover their benefits and potential risks, this comprehensive guide will explore everything you need to know about this type of restoration option.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are titanium or zirconium fixtures surgically placed into the jawbone to replace missing teeth. They are artificial tooth roots that provide a stable foundation for prosthetic teeth.
The implant fixture, abutment, and prosthetic crown make up a dental implant. The implant fixture is a screw-like post inserted into the jawbone. The abutment connects the implant fixture to the prosthetic crown. Lastly, the crown is the visible part of the dental implant and resembles a natural tooth.
Who Can Get Dental Implants?
Not everyone is a suitable candidate for dental implants. To determine if this dentistry option is ideal for you, it’s important to consider several factors. These include healthy gums and oral tissues, sufficient bone density and volume, your overall health and any medical conditions you may have.
To determine if you’re a suitable candidate for dental implants, visit a dental office in Waterloo to have a qualified professional assess your situation.
How Does Dental Implant Surgery Work?
The dental implants procedure involves several stages:
Before starting the implant process, your dentist will conduct a thorough examination, typically using 3D imaging with a CT scan. This advanced technology allows the dentist to assess your dental health, especially the bone that will support the implant, more accurately than traditional two-dimensional X-rays.
Removal of tooth or teeth
The dental implant expert will then remove the tooth or teeth that need replacing. Typically, an oral surgeon performs this procedure, although some dentists specialize in implantology and can handle the entire process from beginning to end.
If the initial exam shows you don’t have sufficient bone to support the implant, the dentist will perform bone grafting for dental implants. The process involves adding bone or bone-like material to areas with insufficient bone density or volume in the jawbone. This augmentation creates a sturdy foundation for the dental implant.
Once the initial healing phase is complete, the dentist or oral surgeon will drill the jawbone and insert the implant. This procedure may require additional healing unless minor bone grafting is performed simultaneously.
As you progress through the healing process, new bone will gradually grow around the implant, a phenomenon known as osseointegration. To fill the gap left by the missing tooth during this stage and maintain appearance and function, you need to wear a temporary, removable denture.
Following approximately 2 to 3 months, when sufficient bone growth stabilizes the implant, the next step involves adding the abutment.
After the abutment is placed, the gum tissue is carefully closed around its edges. At this stage, the gum requires healing time, which typically takes around 4 to 6 weeks. This healing period is crucial to ensuring the proper integration and stability of the abutment before crown placement.
Once the gum tissue has healed, your dentist will create impressions of your teeth to custom-design the crown. The crown is then securely attached to the abutment. The dentist ensures proper fit, alignment, and colour matching for a natural-looking result.
After the crown is in place, your dentist will make any necessary adjustments to ensure a proper bite and comfort.
What Are the Types of Dental Implants?
There are 2 primary types of dental implants:
- Endosteal implants
This type of implant is the most common variety and involve the placement of the implant fixture directly into the jawbone. This procedure is typically performed in 2 stages, with a healing period between them.
- Subperiosteal implants
These implants are suitable for individuals with insufficient bone height or volume. Instead of being placed in the jawbone, a dentist or oral surgeon positions them on or above the jawbone, beneath the gum tissue. Subperiosteal implants are often recommended when bone grafting is not viable.
Are Dental Implants Safe?
With the right professional overseeing the process, dental implants have been proven to be a safe and effective oral restoration option. This is why choosing an experienced implant dentist with a track record of successful implant placements is essential. In addition, getting an expert’s complete evaluation of your oral health can guarantee that you receive the appropriate dental treatment.
Post-surgical care and follow-up appointments are also crucial for a safe and successful outcome. Aftercare instructions from your dentist will include instructions on proper oral hygiene practices and any dietary restrictions you may need during recovery. Following these guidelines and attending follow-up checkups can ensure the longevity and safety of your dental implants.
What Are the Benefits of Dental Implants?
Dental implants offer numerous benefits over traditional tooth replacement options. Here are some of them:
- Natural – Dental implants look and feel like natural teeth. They are designed to blend seamlessly with your existing teeth.
- Don’t get cavities – Unlike natural teeth, dental implants are not susceptible to cavities. The materials used, such as titanium and ceramic, are resistant to decay.
- Bone loss prevention – By replacing the missing tooth root, implants stimulate the surrounding bone, preserving its strength and density. This prevents bone resorption, which is commonly associated with tooth loss.
- Ease of maintenance – With implants, you only need to brush and floss regularly and schedule routine dental checkups to keep them clean and your mouth healthy. There are no special cleaning procedures or dietary restrictions compared to other tooth replacement options.
- Long-lasting – Dental implants have a high success rate and can last a lifetime with proper care.
- Durable – Implants are made from strong and biocompatible materials that can withstand the forces of daily chewing and biting.
What Are the Potential Risks of Dental Implants?
It is worth noting that, as with any surgical procedure, dental implant surgery has potential risks and complications. Some of them include the following:
- Damage to surrounding natural teeth – Although rare, there is a slight risk of accidental damage to neighbouring teeth during implant placement.
- Injury to the surrounding tissues during surgery – There’s also a minimal risk of minor soft tissue injury, but skilled dentists take precautions to prevent such incidents.
- Inadequate function – In rare cases, dental implants may not deliver the desired functionality.
- Difficulty cleaning the gums around the implant – You may need to be extra careful when cleaning around the implant site.
- Post-surgical numbness – Temporary numbness in the surrounding areas is possible after surgery but typically resolves on its own.
However, these risks are minimal when a skilled professional performs the procedure and you follow the recommended aftercare instructions.
Ask a Trusted Dentist if Dental Implants Are Right for You
Dental implants are a remarkable tooth restoration option to improve your smile, oral health, and self-esteem. Understanding the intricacies of dental implants, including their types, candidacy criteria, and aftercare requirements, is crucial for making informed decisions about your treatment. If you are considering dental implants, consult a qualified oral health professional who can assess your needs and guide you through the process.
If you’re considering getting dental implants in Waterloo, consult with an implant dentist from Art Dental Clinic today and take the first step towards a lifetime of beautiful, functional smiles. Call us at (519) 747-9797 to book an appointment.