Dental implants are small metal posts placed in the jaw bone and used to replace one or more missing teeth. These posts act like a tooth root, providing a firm base to support crowns and dentures. They are usually made of surgical grade titanium and used in joint replacement.
It is strong and lightweight, allowing actually bone growth and surrounding tissue growth, giving a natural appearance. Whether your tooth loss or gap is from birth, accidental, or extracted for other health reasons, a dental implant will give you the look, feel and function of an actual tooth. In order to be considered for a dental implant, it is important for you to be in good health, have healthy gums and sufficient bone density in your jaw to hold the implant. Sometimes, a bone graft is used to build up the bone prior to an implant insertion. Like all teeth, dental implants must be cared for by brushing and flossing as well as regular dental visits.
The dental implant procedure involves anaesthesia and surgical insertion of a small metal post into the jaw. This will act as a supportive anchor to fix crowns or dentures. The bone will grow around and fix the post into the jaw, creating a strong support to hold it in place. Once the implant has been placed it is normally allowed to heal undisturbed for approximately 20 weeks prior to attaching the crown, bridge or denture.
The crown can be fabricated by porcelain fused to metal or made of ceramic. These can be either cemented in place to provide a consistent stable firm base or removable.
The major benefit include improved quality of life and ease of eating compared to conventional dentures. Dental implants also preserve jaw bone, are easy to clean and help to preserve side teeth,
keeping them aligned. They preserve and improve appearance and function.
Situations that have an increased risk of implant failure include:
- Periodontal disease is a major cause of bone loss, which would hinder the success of any implant procedure.
- Heavy smoking - this slows down the healing process.
- Excessive alcohol intake - disrupts healing of the gums.
- auto-immune disease.
- Bruxism - teeth grinders