What Is a Dental Implant and Why You Need to Know

Are you missing a tooth due to trauma or gum disease? Do you want a long-term solution to restore your beautiful smile? Then, you might want to consider dental implants. A dental implant integrates with your jawbone and provides a stable base for an artificial tooth. Discover the ultimate guide to dental implants that will equip you with all the knowledge you need to make an informed decision. From the procedure to the recovery process, we’ve got you covered. 

What Are Dental Implants, and How Do They Work?

Dental implants are a surgical procedure to replace one or several missing teeth. They consist of metal posts, usually made of titanium, that are inserted into the jawbone to support artificial replacement teeth. As time passes, the implant and the jawbone gradually grow together, forming a sturdy base for the fresh tooth. Not only does it feel and function like a natural tooth, but it also helps prevent bone loss in the jaw.

Benefits of Dental Implants

Dental implants have many advantages over other tooth replacement options, such as bridges and dentures. The most significant benefits are:

Improved appearance: Dental implants can revitalise your smile with their natural look and feel. Unlike dentures, these implants stay put in your mouth and provide assurance and stability. 

Long-term solution: Dental implants are durable and can last up to 15 years with good care.

Preservation of healthy teeth: Bridges require grinding down two healthy teeth, while dentures do not attach to any other teeth. With dental implants, you don’t need to sacrifice any healthy teeth.

Improved oral health: Since dental implants become a part of the jawbone, they help to preserve the natural integrity of your teeth. By taking these measures, gum disease and tooth decay can be prevented.

• Increased comfort: Dental implants are crafted to fit securely and feel like natural teeth. They blend so seamlessly that you’ll forget you even have them!

Are Dental Implants Right For You?

Whether or not dental implants are right for you will depend on your individual situation. It’s important to understand that the success of dental implants depends on a healthy jawbone and gums, so if you have gum disease or lost bone density in the area of the missing tooth, you may need additional preparation before getting an implant. Additionally, certain medical conditions may make it difficult to safely undergo the procedure. To assess the feasibility of dental implants, your dentist will evaluate your oral health.

dental implant surgery

Types of Dental Implants

There are several different types of dental implants available, depending on the number and location of missing teeth. Some common dental implants include:

  • Endosteal Implants 

Among dental implants, endosteal implants rank supreme as the most widely used variety. These implants are fixed directly into the jaw bone and are commonly deployed to support a single tooth, a bridge, or to anchor dentures in place.

  • Subperiosteal Implants 

Subperiosteal implants are dental implants placed beneath the gum but above the jawbone, often used to help patients who have lost considerable bone mass due to injuries or periodontal disease.

  • Mini Implants 

Mini implants are smaller than traditional implants and are typically used to support a single tooth or a set of dentures. They can be installed in either the upper or lower jawbone, providing a versatile solution for replacing missing teeth.

  • All-on-Four Implants 

All-on-four implants are placed in the upper or lower jaw and are used to support an entire set of dentures. They create a firm anchor within the jawbone, providing a robust base that secures dentures in place.

  • Zygomatic Implants 

Cheekbone-mounted zygomatic implants offer crucial support for upper dentures. They are particularly useful for patients who have lost significant bone due to disease or injury.

  • Implant-Supported Bridges 

Implant-supported bridges are a secure option for replacing one or more missing teeth. As these bridges fuse with the jawbone, they provide a stable foundation, allowing for greater confidence when smiling, talking, and chewing.

Risks and Complications Associated with Dental Implants

Whilst dental implants are generally effective and safe, the procedure is not without its potential risks and complications. It’s important to discuss these risks with your dentist before undergoing any type of dental implant procedure. Some common risks include:

Infection: An infection is a risk both at the implant site and in the tissue surrounding it. 

Rejection: The implant may be rejected by the body, leading to painful inflammation and swelling.

Nerve damage: Improper placement of the implant in close proximity to a nerve causes numbness or tingling in the affected area.

Damage to surrounding teeth: If not properly placed, the implants can damage adjacent teeth.

Preparing for a Dental Implant Procedure

Before receiving dental implants, you will need to have a full dental examination. This includes X-rays of the area where the implant will be placed and any other necessary tests to evaluate your oral health. Before placing an implant, your dentist might recommend additional treatments like bone grafts or periodontal therapy. These will ensure optimum oral health and increase the success of the procedure. It is important to follow your dentist’s instructions and keep up with your regular dental visits to ensure the success of your implant.

Overview of the Dental Implant Procedure Step-by-Step

Here is a summary of the steps involved in a dental implant procedure:

  1.  Anaesthesia and Incision:

You will receive local anaesthesia or sedation to numb the area and make you relaxed. The dentist will then make an incision in your gum tissue to access the jawbone.

  1.  Post Placement:

A tiny hole is drilled into the bone, allowing a metal post to be inserted. Once complete, the incision is sealed, giving the site ample time to heal. 

  1.  Osseointegration:

During several months, the bone shall grow around the implant, fusing with it to establish a stable foundation. This process ensures the longevity and durability of the implanted structure.

  1.  Abutment Placement:

To install an artificial tooth, the dentist will create a slight incision in the gum tissue and then attach an abutment, a connector piece, to the post, which acts as the foundation.

  1.  Crown Placement:

Once the abutment is placed, your dentist will take a mould of your mouth and send it to a specialised dental lab. There, adept technicians will craft a uniquely fitted crown for you, which will be securely attached to the abutment by your dentist.

dental implant treatment

How Long Do Dental Implaments Take?

The time needed to complete dental implants may vary based on various aspects like the number of missing teeth and the amount of available bone. On average, the entire procedure generally spans between 4-6 months from start to finish.

What To Expect After a Dental Implant Procedure?

After the procedure, it is normal to experience some swelling and discomfort in the area. To manage any discomfort, pain medication or antibiotics might be prescribed by your dentist. Additionally, it is important to follow the instructions that your dentist gives you regarding caring for your implant, such as brushing and flossing regularly.

Are Dental Implants Painful?

Most patients report that dental implants are not painful. Some mild discomfort may occur during the procedure as well as a few days afterwards, but this can usually be managed with over-the-counter pain medications. Your dentist may also suggest other measures, such as cold compresses or prescription pain medication, to help reduce any discomfort.

What Is The Cost of Dental Implants?

Dental implants cost can vary depending on the type and number of implants, as well as other factors such as which dentist you choose. Generally speaking, a single implant can start at $3,000. However, the cost can increase if you need additional treatments or procedures prior to implant placement. Your dentist or insurance company may be able to offer financing options to help make the procedure more affordable. It’s important to keep in mind that investing in dental implants can ultimately save you money in the long run by preventing other dental issues from arising. Consulting with a dental professional can help you weigh the benefits and drawbacks of opting for dental implants. This ensures you choose an optimal solution that suits your needs whilst being mindful of expenses – all with the guidance of a trusted expert.

implant dentistry

Factors Affecting The Cost of Dental Implants

The cost of dental implants can vary depending on several factors, such as:

Number of Implants: The number of tooth implants you need will determine how much the procedure costs.

Location of Implant Placement: If you need an implant placed in the back of your mouth, it may be more expensive than if it’s placed in the front.

Preparatory Procedures: If you need additional treatments, such as bone grafts or periodontal therapy, these will add to the cost of the procedure.

Type of Implant Used: Different types of implants may have different price points.

Dentist’s Experience and Skill Level: Dental implants performed by an experienced dentist may come with a higher price tag compared to those done by a less experienced one.

Insurance Coverage: Some insurance plans cover dental implants, so it’s important to check with your provider to see if you are eligible.

Tips for caring for your implants

Maintaining proper care for your dental implants is crucial to ensure their longevity. Let’s go over a few essential tips to keep in mind:

Brush and floss twice a day: Brushing and flossing regularly will help remove plaque and bacteria from the implant site.

See your dentist regularly: Regular checkups and cleanings are essential to maintain the health of your implants.

Avoid hard and sticky foods: Chewy candies, crunchy chips, and other hard or sticky foods can damage the implant site.

Quit smoking: Tobacco consumption can elevate vulnerability to infections and other post-surgical complications that may arise from dental implant procedures.

Protect your implants from impact: It’s important to wear a mouthguard when playing sports or engaging in activities that can cause physical trauma to the implant.

How Long Can Dental Implants Last?

Dental implants are an enduring remedy for missing teeth, able to endure up to 15 years with proper maintenance. However, individual results may vary depending on how well you take care of your implant and other factors, such as oral hygiene. Taking good care of your dental implant is essential for ensuring it lasts as long as possible. 

The Final Word on Dental Implants

Missing teeth can be effectively and naturally replaced with dental implants, a modern solution that lasts a lifetime with proper care. However, it’s crucial to consider the potential risks and benefits of this treatment and select a reputable dental specialist who has the appropriate training and experience.

Our dental practice is committed to delivering exceptional care in a secure and comfortable setting. Our team of skilled dentists and staff provide a range of personalised implant options to meet your unique requirements. If you are interested in dental implants, we encourage you to get in touch with us to arrange a consultation. We look forward to helping you achieve the smile of your dreams!

Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.

References 

  1. https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/dental-implant-surgery/about/pac-20384622
  2. https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/dental-implant