Although at first, it may seem like a daunting process, undergoing a tooth implant procedure is much more common and simple than you may expect. This guide to tooth implants will help you learn everything you need to know about this procedure, which can help you decide whether it is a suitable missing tooth replacement option for you.
What is a tooth implant?
Tooth implants, or dental implants, are a popular solution for replacing missing natural teeth. There are two main parts to every dental implant: the root and the crown. There is also a connector (abutment) that keeps these two parts securely together.
The implanted root of the dental implant is a small titanium post that is placed into the patient’s jawbone. It fuses with the surrounding bone to form a strong and stable foundation for the dental crown.
The dental crown is attached to the connector, which resembles a screw. At the top of the connector sits the crown, which is designed to look like and function just like a natural tooth.
What types of tooth implants are available?
Depending on how many teeth you are looking to replace, a number of different dental implants that can fit your needs. If you are looking to fill the gap caused by a single missing tooth, then a single implant is an excellent solution.
Similarly, if you have an area where two or three teeth are missing, filling in this gap can be achieved by either one dental implant topped with a longer crown, or by having two dental implants connected at the crown level with a dental bridge containing the correct number of teeth together between the two implants.
Another option for people seeking a tooth implant procedure is implant-supported dentures. Dentures are a great way to replace a full arch of teeth that may be missing, but one of the main complaints of people who wear dentures is their tendency to slip.
Dentures do not prevent bone loss in the jaw from occurring, and over time, what used to be a snug and well-fitting pair of dentures becomes unwieldy and unpredictable, and they may slip around the mouth causing problems with eating and speech.
By using as few as two dental implants in the lower jaw and four implants in the upper jaw, Scott Street Dental Care can help you create a set of removable dentures that are secure in your mouth. There are special connections fitted to both the implants and the dentures, so the dentures can be clicked in and out of the mouth as needed.
At Scott Street Dental Care, we use Straumann and Osstem dental implants.
What is a tooth implant procedure like?
After a consultation with a dental professional at Scott Street Dental Care, an appointment for the first of two implant surgeries will be made. Before the surgery, your dentist may ask you to rinse your mouth with a special antibacterial mouthwash or prescribe you some antibiotics to take in the days leading up to the procedure.
On the day of the appointment, you will be made comfortable using local anaesthesia. Many patients describe the procedure as more comfortable than they had expected it to be. The dentist will then make an incision in the gum and drill a tiny hole in your jawbone.
Then the dentist will screw the base of the implant into this hole with either a hand tool or the drill used earlier to make the hole. The gum is then placed back over the implant to allow it to heal, and sometimes a couple of stitches are necessary to secure the gum in its original place. Once the anaesthesia wears off, you may experience some discomfort, but it can be alleviated with over-the-counter painkillers. The site typically takes three to six months to heal fully.
After the gum has healed, the second implant surgery can take place to allow the connector to be fitted to the top of the implant. In this surgery, your implant will be re-exposed if it was not already. Once your dentist has fitted you for a crown, the crown is then placed at the top of the connector and secured with a small screw and special dental cement.
After the surgery, make sure to take good care of your implant, so there are no complications like infection, bone loss, bodily rejection of the implant, or a lack of adhesion to the bone. Brush and floss around the implant in the way your dentist will have explained to you after the procedure. Keep seeing your dentist frequently to make sure no complications arise.