Dental Implants (Tooth Implant)
Dental Implants (tooth implant), also referred to as endosseous implant, is a dental surgery involving the jaw supporting dental prosthetics and serves as an anchor to facial prosthesis. Dental implants involve osseointegration, a process of integrating the dental implant with the bone that lasts for decades. This is a “high tech” solution and is the most natural replacement to replace the lost tooth/teeth without damaging the soft tissue and remaining teeth.
There are several benefits from having a tooth implant procedure. These include: increased confidence and safety and rejuvenation of normal appearance.
Who is a good candidate?
Not all people are suited for dental implants. During a consultation appointment, patients will be evaluated on their bone volume, jaw size, quantity and quality of bone and the state of the opposing dentition. The anatomy of the front of the lower jaw is analyzed by using x-rays performed at different angles. This evaluation is to ensure that the tooth implant is suitable, as the elements of the treatment are all precision made prefabricated components. As such, the shape and size of the jaw must comply with predetermined criteria.
How is the procedure performed?
Firstly, titanium implants are placed to replace the missing teeth. These implants will remain covered underneath the gum for approximately 6 months for upper teeth and 3-6 months for lower teeth. Whilst this is occurring, the bone should fuse to the implants.
Secondly, the implants are uncovered and a post is attached to each implant. This completes the foundation on which the new teeth will be located. At times, the surgeon may choose to place the posts during surgery.
Finally, the dentist places the new teeth. Using techniques that guarantee ideal shape, size, fit and colour, the replacement teeth should blend with the patient’s facial features, while providing supported required for a natural appearance.
Various types of dental implants are available, including:
- Endosteal implants are placed in the jawbone. Typically shaped like small screws, cylinders or plates, they are the most commonly used type of implant.
- Subperiosteal implants are placed under the gum but on, or above, the jawbone. This type of implant may be used in patients who have a shallow jawbone and cannot or do not want to undergo a procedure to rebuild it.
Dental implants also come in different sizes and heights, including standard and narrow. Your doctor is trained to help you determine what option is right for you depending on the tooth or teeth that need to be replaced.
There is risk in all surgical procedures and it is important that you are aware of the risks involved in your procedure before going ahead with the surgery. During your appointments you should discuss any concerns with your surgeon and not be afraid to ask questions. Your surgery will be unable to proceed unless you sign a pre-surgery consent form.
Note: This information acts as a guide to your possible treatment. Your individual concerns and specific medical history will need to be shared and discussed with your surgeon during your initial consultation.