What You Need to Know About Dental Implants
Missing teeth not only damper your smile and confidence but can also affect the surrounding teeth. When the spaces in between your teeth are left unfilled, the surrounding teeth will shift and wear down, thereby affecting your dental structure.
Although there are a variety of dental treatments that can replace your missing teeth, dental implants provide a more permanent solution.
Before you go rushing to a dentist near you for a dental implant procedure, here are a few things you need to know;
1. It’s an invasive surgery
A dental implant is a surgical procedure that requires drilling and fixing the titanium screw into the jaw.
Depending on your teeth condition, the dentist can either give you single dental implants or all-four implants.
- Single dental implants are ideal if you are missing only one tooth. The dentist will fix the implant without necessarily treating the surrounding teeth.
- All-on-four implants refer surgically fixing four implants to support all teeth. The implants are ideal for people with severely broken, decayed or compromised teeth because of gum disease.
You can also get mini dental implants that are similar to regular implants but smaller. They are made of a titanium post and a rubber ring socket.
Regardless of the type of implant you get, the dentist can either do an endosteal or subperiosteal.
- The endosteal implant is placed directly into the jawbone after the gum has healed. The implant is made of a screw, titanium cylinder or blade, ceramic and an abutment or bridge. It is the most common form of implant, but you need to have healthy gums and good bone density for the implants to be fixed.
- Subperiosteal implants, on the other hand, are ideal for people with a low bone density but don’t want a bone graft. The implants are fixed below the gum tissues but above the bone.
2. You need enough jawbone
Dental implants need a strong jawbone to support it. If you don’t have one, a few procedures can be done to rebuild the jawbone.
- Bone graft or augmentation. This is a process that involves grafting a bone or bonelike material to the bone. The graft can be from your bone or a cadaver which stimulates natural bone growth. A bone graft can take months to fuse to the existing bone and this can take a few months.
- Sinus lift or elevation is ideal for people who have lost teeth in their upper jaw and the natural bone is weak to support the implant. The dentist lifts the sinuses upward and fixes the bone graft on the upper jaw in the area of the molar or premolar.
- A ridge expansion is done if the jaw is not wide enough to support the implants. The dentist creates a small space along the jaw and adds bone material.
3. There are risks involved
Similar to any dental surgery, dental implants have risks. You could develop conditions such as;
- Infection in the implant area
- Injury in the surrounding blood tissues
- Sinus problems if the implants are placed in the upper jaw
- Nerve damage
Although dental implants have a success rate of 95%, they can fail at times. The success rate of the implants will largely depend on the experience and skills of the dentist and how the procedure is done.
Autoimmune diseases such as celiac disease and lupus, poor blood supply, infections, certain medications, allergic reactions can also affect the success of dental implants.
Dental Implants vs. Bridges
Dental bridges can also replace missing teeth. Instead of a titanium screw, the bridges are made of false teeth suspended by two crowns. Plus, the bridges are not fixed to the gum.
The difference in implants and bridges comes down to time, cost and durability. The bridge recovery is short, but on the downside, they are not long-lasting compared to implants.