Dental implants are small, surgical-grade root posts made of titanium that can be surgically placed in the jawbone. These artificial roots are anchored in the bone beneath the gums where they become fused into the jaw. A crown is mounted over the implant for a long-lasting and natural looking smile. Many patients prefer dental implants because they offer the same esthetics and function as natural teeth without having to worry about dentures or partials slipping out of your mouth. Dental implants may be used to replace a single or multiple tooth.
DID YOU KNOW… that approximately 30 million people live with no natural teeth in one or both jaws? But more and more dental patients are opting for dental implants as a means of tooth replacement. The American Academy of Implant Dentistry reports that 3 million people currently have dental implants – a number that is rapidly growing by about 500,000 per year. Modern titanium implants were first developed in the 1950’s, but archeologists have determined that ancient Egyptians and Mayans were the first cultures to implant artificial teeth.
DENTAL IMPLANT PROCEDURE
Dental implants are placed in two stages. It begins with a surgical procedure during which a titanium post/root form is placed in the jawbone. The gums and the jawbone around the implant heal for a few months. During this time the implant gains strength as it fuses with the surrounding jaw bone.
In the second stage, impressions are taken to fabricate a permanent crown which will then be placed over the root.
It is normal to experience some discomfort, including bruising and swelling following a dental implant procedure. However, inflammation and pain can be managed with over-the-counter or prescription medications. You will be advised on your diet and home care for the next few weeks.
The advantages of dental implants are even more significant if you are missing multiple teeth or all teeth. Although dentures or partials may seem like a to-go option because of the initial low cost and ease of procuring them, it is important to know of the long-term consequences. When you lose teeth your jawbone starts resorbing at a faster rate as that part of the jaw is not stimulated by the natural chewing process making it atrophy. In addition, the overlaying dentures and partials put additional pressure on the jaw causing it to atrophy faster. Over 10-15 years there will not be enough bone left to retain the partial nor the implant unless you went through extensive bone grafting procedures.
Ask your dentist how you can save yourself the agony and expensive treatment in future by just getting implants done in the beginning.