Dental implants help in replacing your lost teeth. They are artificial teeth, which consist of a metal base and a porcelain crown. They are considered to be the best replacement to natural teeth by most dentists as they look exactly like natural teeth and are very strong. Also, they have many added advantages which make them highly desirable to replace missing teeth.
How disadvantageous are missing teeth?
- A missing tooth would leave a gap between the teeth and in the jawbone as well. This allows the remaining teeth to move from their place. This is called drifting of teeth. It could lead to a change in the shape of the jawbone, malocclusion, etc. Also, your natural bite would be altered.
- Missing teeth would affect the functionality of the mouth. Everyday activities such as biting and chewing food, talking, etc. would be affected.
- Missing teeth could cause the remaining teeth to loosen from their sockets. This could lead to further tooth loss.
- Most importantly, having missing teeth would hinder a person's confidence. One may feel embarrassed to smile if one or more teeth are missing.
Structure of a dental implant
A dental implant has a metal post which is usually made up of titanium, owing to its high strength. The metal post would have grooves on its surface so that it can be screwed into place on the jawbone. The crown is a tooth-like extension which will be attached to the metal post. It is usually made up of porcelain. The metal post and the crown are connected to each other with the help of a connecting element called the abutment. Adhesives are also used for this purpose.
What is the procedure involved in installing dental implants?
An initial screening process is carried out where the dentist checks for any issues. X-rays are taken to determine the spacing available for placing the implant and to determine any loss of bone. Getting an implant installed would require a sufficient amount of jawbone. A bone graft would be performed if there is any deterioration of the bone in the jaws. A highly precise mold would be taken to fabricate the crown of the implant.
Local anesthesia will be administered to numb the gums and the jawbone. A small incision would be made on the gums and the jawbone would be exposed. A highly precise dental drilling machine is used to drill a hole where the implant would be inserted. The metal post is screwed into position and allowed to heal for a few weeks. During this time, the gums would re-grow around the metal post and cover the exposed jawbone.
During the next visit, the crown of the implant would be fixed on the metal post with the help of dental adhesives. During the following few visits, the implant would be checked for fit and comfort and any changes required will be made by the dentist.
What are the advantages of dental implants?
- They are strong and durable. Biting and chewing food can be done effectively.
- They make the jawbone stable and strengthen the remaining teeth. Also, the shrinkage of the jawbone due to missing teeth is reduced.
- They restore the functionality of the mouth, including the phonetics.
- They restore a person's confidence by replacing the missing tooth.
- They are a long-lasting solution and are said to last for several years with proper maintenance.