Dental Implants

dental-bridgeHave you ever thought of having artificial teeth?

That might not be a question you’re asked every day but for some people artificial teeth can be a vital lifeline – perhaps if they are in need of a remedy after recovering from an accident or as a solution to the ravages of time on the teeth.

Dental implants play a vital role in assisting artificial teeth, ideally providing solid foundations for the patient. It’s time to learn some more about their role.

What is a dental implant?

Let’s start from the beginning – what is a dental implant? Well, a dental implant is an artificial tooth root and it’s used to support restorations resembling a tooth or group of teeth. This might include crowns, dentures or bridges.

They take the form of a metal piece, similar to a screw. Pretty much all implants are placed within the bone and the goal is to fuse the outer surface of the implant and the surrounding bone tissue.

What is the procedure used to put in place dental implants?

dental-2The dentist will first make an assessment of the teeth to ensure there are no underlying problems which need treatment, such as gum disease.

Once treatment can begin the gum where the implant is being placed is cut and lifted. Then a small hole is drilled in the jawbone at the location of the intended implant. The titanium implant is fitted into the socket and the gum is stitched back over the implant.

It can take up to six months to heal and integrate and during this period patients are given temporary teeth to wear.

Once the healing period is complete the gum is again lifted and a post is attached to the implant with a temporary crown. Up to six months later the final permanent restoration can be fitted to the implant.

What else should I be aware of?

While traditionally an implant would normally support a single crown, just one implant can support several missing teeth. Dental implants can last a lifetime, depending on how well they are looked after.

In terms of price, this can vary but roughly speaking, a single tooth implant can vary cost between £800 and £3,000.

graftAge is not necessarily a factor, providing the jaw is fully developed, but patients must have a sufficient quantity and quality of bone tissue available in order for the procedure to be able to take place. Clearly a good standard of oral hygiene is vital too for the benefit of having a tooth implant put in place.

In addition, implants may not be suitable for heavy smokers, as it hinders the healing process. Also, excessive alcohol intake is not advised due to the fact it affects the healing of gums.

As mentioned previously, anyone with gum disease would need to have the condition treated beforehand in order to have dental implants. Finally, teeth grinders would need to seek advice beforehand as continued grinding would have a severe impact on the implants.

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