What Is A Dental Implant? The Answers You Need to Know

Gone are the days when missing teeth could only be replaced with bridges or dentures. Dental implants are now a popular and effective solution for those dealing with missing teeth. A dental implant is a surgical innovation that involves positioning a metal post into the jawbone to create a stable base for a replacement tooth or bridge. Welcome to our blog! Here, we’ll dive into the ins and outs of dental implants. Discover the procedure, cost and potential complications – everything you need to become an informed patient.

What Are Dental Implants? 

A dental implant is a diligently crafted synthetic root made of surgical-grade titanium that effectively replaces a missing tooth. A surgical placement in the jawbone is followed by several months of fusion with the bone, resulting in a stable foundation. This stable foundation enables the attachment of a replacement tooth or bridge.

Benefits of Dental Implants

Dental implants provide several advantages over other alternatives for tooth replacement. These benefits include:

• Improved appearance – Dental implants present an indistinguishable appearance and texture from your natural teeth.

• Durability –Well-maintained Dental implants can endure the test of time, even a lifetime. 

 Comfort – since dental implants are securely fused to the jawbone, they are more comfortable than dentures or bridges.

 Improved oral health – Dental implants don’t affect surrounding teeth during placement. This not only saves those teeth from possible harm but also ensures an outstanding outcome for patients.

How much does a dental implant cost?

Although dental implants are popular, cost factors can deter people from investing in them. Factors such as the number of teeth that require replacement, the location of implantation and the experience of the dentist determine the cost of dental implants. While a single-tooth implant can cost around $3,000, they are a practical and cost-effective option for long-term teeth replacements. The implant can last a lifetime with proper professional installation and dental hygiene maintenance. Therefore, the cost of dental implants depends on individual needs and goals.

What Are The Components Of Dental Implants?

A dental implant comprises three critical components:

• The implant post – a cylindrical titanium shaft that is inserted into the jawbone.

 The abutment – a small metal connector piece that attaches the implant post to the replacement tooth or bridge.

 The prosthesis – the artificial tooth, bridge, or denture that is attached to the abutment.

Types of Dental Implants

Multiple types of dental implants are available for teeth replacement. The implant type installed is dependent on individual needs and preferences. Some popular options to consider include: 

  1. Endosteal Implants Endosteal implants are the most frequently utilised dental implant. A surgical procedure is used to place this implant directly into the jawbone. It’s a highly precise method commonly employed for such implants.
  2. Subperiosteal Implants Subperiosteal implants are fixtures positioned beneath the gums yet over the jawbone. They are frequently implanted in patients whose jawbone is slim or who, for one reason or another, are ineligible for endosteal implants.

All-on-Four Implants

All-on-four implants are a type of endosteal implant designed to support an entire dental prosthesis. The procedure involves planting the prosthetic roots into the jawbone before fitting a set of dentures on top. This efficient process not only ensures the prosthesis is securely fitted but also increases convenience for the patient, leaving them with a new, confident smile.

  1. Mini Implants

Mini dental implants are a smaller variation of the traditional dental implant with a versatile application. They can effectively support a single tooth, a bridge or a denture set. These implants can be installed in either the upper or lower jaw.

Zygomatic Implants

Zygomatic implants are long dental implants placed in the cheekbone instead of the jawbone. Generally, these types of implants are recommended for patients who have a narrow jawbone or cannot receive endosteal implants due to various reasons.

  1. Implant-Supported Dentures

Implant-supported dentures are a superior alternative to traditional dentures; they rely on dental implants rather than the gum tissue and bones of the mouth, leading to a more secure and comfortable fit. Implants present an ideal alternative for individuals struggling to wear traditional dentures or seeking a more permanent and secure fit.

dental implant treatment

Stages of Dental Implant Process

  1. Initial Consultation
  2. The path to receiving dental implants begins with an initial consultation with your dentist. This consultation involves taking X-rays and discussing various available options to determine which approach is most suitable for you.
  3. Dental Implant Placement

Once the type and number of implants are determined, your dentist will place them in your jawbone. The procedure typically takes an hour while being performed under local anesthesia. The procedure is done as follows:

• When a dentist fits an implant, they make a tiny incision in the gum tissue and create a socket in the jawbone, allowing for a perfect fit.

• Afterwards, the surgeon places the implant into the jawbone and fastens it with screws.

• After suturing and giving time to heal, the gums regain their original position.

  1. Osseointegration

Once the implant is placed, it must go through a process known as osseointegration. This stage is when the implant fuses with the surrounding bone, creating a strong foundation for the replacement tooth or bridge. Although it usually takes several months to complete, this vital process ensures longevity and robustness for the new dental work.

  1. Restoration

Once the implant and bone have fused, your dentist will create a tailored solution that perfectly replaces your missing tooth or bridge, using X-rays and mouth impressions for optimal results. The solution is meticulously crafted and attached to the implant using screws and cement, producing a natural-looking and durable outcome that can last for years to come.

What to Expect During The Recovery Period?

The recovery period following a dental implant procedure can vary depending on the individual. Generally speaking, it is important to practice good oral hygiene during this time and steer clear of hard, chewy foods that pose a risk of damage to your implant. Some common side effects include swelling, bruising, pain, and minor bleeding. These symptoms are usually mild and should go away within a few days. If there’s any discomfort, a dentist may prescribe medication to relieve pain and antibiotics to fix it.

When Is Bone Grafting Required?

Bone grafting is sometimes recommended before dental implant placement, especially when gum disease or tooth loss has weakened the jawbone. In the procedure, healthy bone tissue is transplanted to the weakened area for a stable implant foundation. This process frequently accompanies the actual implantation, with a notably high success record.

Tips For Caring For Your Implants

Once the implant is placed, it is important to follow your dentist’s instructions for care. This may include:

  1. Keep Them Clean

It is important to keep your implants clean to prevent infection. Maintain good oral hygiene by committing to regular brushing and flossing. 

  1. Avoid Hard Foods

Avoiding hard foods is essential to prevent damage to your implants. Opt for softer options like cooked veggies, soups, and mashed potatoes.

  1. Don’t Smoke

Avoiding smoking is key to minimising implant failure and infection risk. If you do smoke, be sure to brush and floss regularly to remove any residue from your teeth.

  1. Be Careful With Your Mouthwash

Mouthwashes that have alcohol can dry out your mouth and raise the risk of infection. For a better option, pick an alcohol-free product or simply dilute your current one with water before swishing. This wise choice will leave you with a healthier and hydrating mouth and fewer concerns about oral health!

  1. Wear A Mouthguard When Playing Sports

To protect your implants, it’s crucial to wear a mouthguard when engaging in contact sports. You can purchase a mouthguard at most sporting goods stores.

  1. See Your Dentist Regularly

Regular visits to your dentist or implant specialist are crucial to maintaining healthy and functional implants. Don’t neglect the importance of proper implant care!

tooth implants

Potential Complications With Dental Implants

While dental implants are generally considered safe and effective, the procedure does come with potential risks and complications. Such risks include:

 Infection – if bacteria get into the implant site, it can lead to infection and require antibiotics or additional surgery.

• Nerve damage – if the dental implant is placed too close to a passing nerve, it can compress it, causing numbness or tingling in the affected area.

 Implant failure – if the implant does not fuse properly with the jawbone, it can fail and require removal.

• Sinus issues – if an implant is placed too close to the sinuses, it can cause sinus problems or irritation.

• Allergic reaction – Although rare, an implant’s material may trigger some allergic reactions in some patients.

While these complications are uncommon, they are something to be aware of before undergoing the procedure. It is recommended to always voice any concerns with your dentist before starting any treatment to ensure a seamless experience.

When Should You Seek Immediate Help From Your Dentist?

Promptly getting in touch with your dentist is mandatory if you notice any of these symptoms: 

.• Severe pain at the implant site

• Swelling or redness around the implant site

• Discharge from the implant site

• Loose or unstable implants

• Changes in bite and jaw alignment

How Long Can Dental Implant Last?

Dental implants can last many years and, with the right upkeep, even a lifetime. That said, everyone’s success rate depends on individual factors like oral hygiene and daily habits. To maximise the lifespan of your implants, commit to consistent dental visits, avoid habits like smoking, and make good oral hygiene a top priority.

Are Dental Implants Covered By Insurance?

Typically, dental insurance plans do not cover the cost of dental implants. Nonetheless, some plans may extend partial coverage for certain types of implants or implant-related procedures. It’s always a good idea to vet your insurance provider to determine what’s covered and what isn’t.

replacement teeth

Conclusion:

A dental implant could be the solution you’ve been looking for if you’ve felt self-conscious about your smile. Not only do they look natural and blend in with your other teeth, but they also function like real teeth. Dental implants involve a minor operation, but the benefits far outweigh the minimal discomfort and recovery time. 

We recognise that the prospect of dental implants can be intimidating. That’s why we’re fully dedicated to guiding you through every stage of the process with compassionate care. Don’t let a missing tooth hold you back from the smile you deserve. Embark on the path to a healthier, happier version of yourself today! Reach out to us for a consultation – we’re eager to hear from you and develop a bespoke plan tailored to your specific needs.

References:

  1. https://www.healthline.com/health/dental-and-oral-health/dental-implant-procedure#cost
  2. https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/dental-implant#:~:text=The%20dental%20implant%20is%20fitted,the%20new%20tooth%20or%20teeth.