Dental implants are a great option for people with serious dental problems. With over 50 years of practical research dental implants serve as the best alternative to dentures or bridges to replace unhealthy or missing teeth.
In this issue, we will discuss dental implants- what do I need to know.
When a patient has enough healthy bone to accommodate a dental implant the results can be life-changing. Implants are comfortable, functional and natural looking as the person’s original teeth.
What is a Dental Implant?
A Dental implant is a traditionally a small titanium or titanium-alloy post that a dentist inserts into the jawbone. It serves to hold a custom-made dental crown in place. In cases where all the teeth are missing, several implants are placed and a bridge or an overdenture is anchored by the implants.
Here are the steps you can expect to undergo for a dental implant procedures:
- Dental exam: Before the implant process begins, your dentist needs to conduct a thorough exam. One of the big improvements since the early days of dental implants is the use of 3D imaging employing a CT scan. Not having to rely solely on two-dimensional X-rays helps the dentist better assess your dental health, especially the bone that will support the implant.
- Removal of tooth or teeth: The next step is the removal of the tooth or teeth that will be replaced. If the tooth or teeth are already missing then a proper inspection of the bone is required.
- Bone graft: If the initial exam shows you don’t have sufficient bone to support the implant, your dentist will need to perform a bone graft.
- Insertion of implant: After the bone is fully healed your dentist places the implant into place. This also requires a period of healing afterward (if the bone graft is minor, these two surgeries may be performed at the same time). The implant is essentially an artificial tooth root, so it needs to be anchored into the bone, just as a natural tooth is. As you heal from the implant and bone grows around the new implant—a process known as osseointegration—you may wear a temporary, removable denture to cover the gap where your original tooth was taken out.
- Abutment and Crown added: After three to six months, when enough bone has grown around the implant then the abutment and crown is added. This is usually the final step for single or multiple implants. In full mouth cases, the Overdenture is then anchored to the multiple implants.
Millions of people around the world are missing teeth. Many of them struggle to keep dentures in place while trying to eat. Others suffer embarrassment due to missing teeth or unsightly teeth. Replacing your teeth with dental implants not only restore your dentition and your smile, they restore your quality of your life.
Dr. Kendal V. O. Major is Founder and CEO of Center for Specialized Dentistry which is a comprehensive family dental practice operating in Nassau and Freeport. He is the first Bahamian Specialist in gum diseases and dental implants since 1989. He also is a certified Fast braces provider. His practice is located at 89 Collins Avenue, Nassau at (242)325-5165 or [email protected].