The ideal, natural-looking option
- Hide your smile because of spaces from missing teeth?
- Feel your dentures are not secure?
- Have difficulty chewing?
- Wish you could smile, speak and eat in comfort and with confidence, but are missing one or more teeth?
If so, then dental implants are for you. Commonly referred to as the 'third set' of teeth after the first two have been lost (baby teeth, adult teeth), dental implants can replace any number of teeth, from a single tooth to a complete set.
What exactly are dental implants?
A dental implant is commonly made of titanium, a metal that is well-tolerated by the body, which is placed into the jawbone. It is used to support one or more false teeth. A small attachment at the top of the implant emerges through the gum. Crowns, bridges or dentures can then be attached to the implant by screws or clips.
For people in good general health who have lost a tooth or teeth due to disease, an injury, or some other reason, dental implants are an ideal option. They are so natural-looking; you may forget you ever lost a tooth!
What types of dental implant are there?
There are 2 common types of implant used today:
1. Endosteal (in the bone): This is the most commonly used type of implant. The various types include screws, cylinders or blades surgically placed into the jawbone. Each implant holds one or more prosthetic teeth. This type of implant is generally used as an alternative for patients with bridges or removable dentures.
2. Subperiosteal (on the bone): These are placed on top of the jaw, with the metal framework's posts protruding through the gum to hold the prosthesis. These types of implants are used for patients who are unable to wear dentures and who have minimal bone height.
How long do dental implants last?
Dental implants have been used for over 30 years to replace missing teeth. Depending upon how you look after them, they can last a lifetime.
For anyone seeking the optimal method of replacing missing teeth, dental implants are rapidly becoming the preferred treatment. They offer an immediate and permanent solution for people with missing teeth and for those losing their teeth.
Under a local anesthetic, implants are placed during a small operation.
The gum where the implant is to be placed is cut and lifted. A small hole is drilled in the jawbone at the precise location of the intended implant. The titanium implant is tightly fitted into this socket and the gum is stitched back over the implant. If there is insufficient bone material to accommodate the implant, a bone graft may be required, or alternatively we may use smaller sized mini-implants, if suitable.
You may feel a little discomfort after the operation due to stitches and the normal healing process.
After they have been placed, your implants will need to bond with the bone. This can take at least 3 months in the lower jaw, and 6 months in the upper jaw. If you are having one, two or three teeth replaced, you will have a temporary restoration in the meantime. If you have complete dentures, then you can wear them throughout the healing period once they have been adjusted after the surgery.