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Dental Implants

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A missing tooth, especially the one in the front makes you self-conscious every time you smile. In order to overcome the embarrassing toothless grin and the problems associated while talking or chewing, one can try dental implants. The dental implants are the best option for replacing a missing tooth or diseased teeth. They look as real as your natural teeth and offer stability and comfort to your jaw.

What are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are specifically designed to replace a single tooth. They are made of titanium, that functions as the root of the missing tooth. It looks like a screw that is fitted over the jawbone.

A dental implant has three parts. The titanium fuses with the jawbone, providing stability. Next is the abutment, the portion that protrudes outside the gum line. Over this abutment, a crown is fitted that looks just like your natural teeth. These implants are useful for people who have  a single missing tooth. They are much better than  a fixed bridge. This is because, in fixed bridge the adjacent teeth have to be cut off or shaped to help the bridge fit in the given space. In case of dental implants, no such adjustments are required.

If one has many missing teeth in the same area or different areas of the gum line, dental implants are still better than conventional dentures. This is because dental implants are more comfortable than removable dentures. They are not required to be removed daily and do not cause irritation in the mouth like ill-fitting dentures. Also, daily brushing will take care of the hygiene and cleaning part for dentures.

Types of Dental Implants

There are two types of dental implants. These include:

Subperiosteal Dental Implants

These are implants that are placed on the bone. This means the titanium posts are placed over the gum on top of the jaw. These implants are very useful for people with less bone height of the jaw.

Endosteal Dental implants

The dental implants that are surgically attached to the jawbone are called as endosteal dental implants. These implants are the most commonly used by dentists.

Who Is the Right Candidate for Dental Implants?

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Patients who should go in for dental implants, includes those who have an overall good dental health. Except for growing children, people from any age group can go in for dental implants. One should have adequate bone structure and a healthy gum line.

Procedure for Dental Implantation

Placing a dental implant is a long process that takes a few months for completion of the process. You need to speak to your dentist clearly about the entire process. According to your requirement, the dentists will pick the type of implant and structure the implantation process accordingly. The process that will take place may include the following steps:

  • The implant will be surgically placed over the jaw. It will positioned such that, the abutment is slightly over the top of the bone.
  • Placement of screw over the implant will prevent any type of debris or tissue entering the implant.
  • The dentist will now secure the gums over the implant. This process takes time as the gum tissues and the bone fuses with the implant. It takes about 3 to 6 months for ‘osseointegration’. This means, complete fusion of the bone with the implant.
  • One may suffer from tenderness, pain and swelling for a few days. Thus, one is advised a diet that consists of soft foods, liquids and easily to chew foods.
  • After the fusion is complete, the dentist will attach a post, that is a type of extension to the implant. In some cases, the implant and post is placed simultaneously.
  • After the healing process is complete, the crown will be placed over the implant. The color, texture, shape, etc. of the crown will be similar to the other natural teeth. Thus, completing the process of dental implantation.

Maintenance for Dental Implants

Implants too require maintenance to keep them long-lasting. One requires to carry out daily brushing and flossing. Regular visits to the dentists is also necessary. The dentist will clean the dental implants under the gums as well as check the crown and bridgework for any damage or instability.

Dental implants will help prevent loss of bone in the jaw. Also, it looks good cosmetically and takes away the trouble of maintaining removable dentures. Regular visits to the dentists will ensure, dental implants remain stable and comfortable for a long time.

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Written by: Saptakee sengupta
Date last updated: February 25, 2015

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