If you have damaged or missing teeth, you may be considering dental implant surgery. Dental implants are a tried-and-tested tooth replacement method with many advantages, including durability and aesthetic appeal. As you consider taking this step, you are probably wondering, “How do dental implants work?” Read on for a comprehensive guide to dental implants and dental implant surgery.
Dental Implants: The Basics
Dental implants are an effective tooth replacement solution for people with severely damaged or missing teeth. They are often confused with artificial teeth such as dental crowns and dentures, but dental implants are made of three parts: The narrow, hollow, screw-like posts; the artificial tooth; and the abutment that connects the post to the crown.
During dental implant surgery, implants are inserted into the jawbone where the missing tooth’s root one was. Once the dental implant is in place, the surrounding bone fuses to it, forming a solid base to which an artificial tooth can be attached. The dental implant becomes a new, secure tooth root.
How Do Dental Implants Work: What are Dental Implants Made Of?
Because dental implants remain in the mouth, it’s crucial that they don’t cause the patient any adverse reactions. That’s why they are made using biocompatible materials. The most common materials for dental implants are titanium and zirconia. Both are safe, durable and have very successful results.
How Do Dental Implants Work: First Steps
Once the first stage of the dental implant surgery has been completed, and the dental implant is securely embedded into the jawbone, a process called osseointegration begins. This is when the jaw bone produces new cells that fuse to the implant. Complete osseointegration takes around four to six months to occur, although this varies from patient to patient. The implant and jawbone must be securely integrated before the abutment and artificial tooth can be fitted.
To encourage osseointegration, when dental implants are made, they are scored both outside and in to create threads, much like a screw. These threads give the bone cells something to grip onto.
Once osseointegration is complete, the abutment is attached, and a mould is taken of the tooth site and sent to a lab to make the artificial tooth, or indeed teeth. Dental implants can support several teeth at a time. Each tooth is carefully made to blend with the surrounding teeth, taking colour, shape, and size in mind.
Dental Implant Surgery
The dental implant process’ length varies from person to person because some people heal faster than others.
Some may need additional treatments such as tooth extraction or bone graft to prepare the area.
The whole process usually takes between four to nine months and includes:
Before deciding if an implant is the right choice for you, your dentist performs a thorough oral examination and answers all of your questions. This includes X-rays and digital scanning technology to see if you are a good candidate for implants and if any preparatory treatment is needed.
Placing the implant
During this first surgical appointment, your dentist makes a small incision in the gum and fits the dental implant into the jaw bone. Advanced Dental Care uses general anaesthesia to ensure you are comfortable throughout this procedure.
Several weeks later, when the implant is bonded with the bone, you can move on to the next step in the process. If needed, a temporary crown can be placed to fill the gap left by the missing tooth.
Attaching the abutment
The abutment is a small cap that connects the crown to the implant. Sometimes it can be attached at the same time as the implant, and on other occasions, it is done at a separate appointment.
Preparing the crown
After a short recovery period, your dentist takes an impression of the area that is sent to the lab where your customised crown is made.
Fitting the crown
Finally, the dentist fits your crown, cementing it in place and checking that it looks and feels good before you leave Advanced Dental Care with your new smile.
The Benefits of Dental Implant Surgery
Dental implants can be used to support an individual or multiple artificial teeth. They are one of the most popular options for restoring missing or damaged teeth due to their many advantages such as:
- They are incredibly strong and durable.
- They look, feel, and function like natural teeth.
- Although the crown may need to be replaced after 15 to 25 years, the implant can last a lifetime, making them good value for money.
- They prevent jawbone loss and facial hollowing.
- Unlike some other treatments, they don’t affect your speech.
- They don’t put strain on surrounding teeth.
- They are easy to maintain: Just clean them like your regular teeth.
If you think dental implant surgery may be right for you, now is the time to consult a professional at our practice. At Advanced Dental Care in Dubbo, our skilled dental professionals will assess your suitability for implants and discuss your options with you. Our friendly team will ensure you receive a warm welcome as soon as you step through the door.
Call (02) 6188 7103 today to book your initial consultation and discover if dental implants are right for you.
Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks.