Dental implants are replacement teeth that feel and work in the most natural way artificially possible. The procedure to get these implants may sound long and tiresome, but the end result is the best artificially made teeth possible.
Unlike other replacement options, a dental implant is placed inside the bone of the jaw, or in case of severe resorption of the jawbone, they are placed inside facial bones for support. These implants distribute the forces imposed by mastication or chewing forces onto the bone, just like a natural tooth would.
Tooth loss is a natural phenomenon, but some people lose their teeth due to trauma or disease like osteogenesis imperfect. The body’s hard tissues have compromised structure and wither away with time. For such people, dental implants are the best replacement option.
Procedure to get an implant
Getting a dental implant is a complicated procedure and would require a team of oral maxillofacial surgeons and a regular dentist. The team of surgeons makes sure that your bone is dense and healthy enough to let a foreign body in and build around it.
Next, all the damaged tooth structure is removed if the patient has any broken-down roots or crown remaining in the gums. After the removal, the space for implant is prepared, and a temporary implant made of titanium or, in rare cases, gold, is placed inside the prepared cavity.
A temporary tooth is attached to the implant, and the patient is sent home to give that implant some time to heal correctly. The period of healing is somewhere between 5 to 6 months during with the bone surrounding implant grows into the crevices of the implant and fuses with it.
This fusion determines the success of the implant in the long run. The better this fusion is, the longer will this implant survive.
After this period of healing and fusion, the temporary crowns are replaced with permanent ones. These permanent crowns mimic the natural tooth color and form, if any are remaining in the oral cavity of the patient.
Other replacement options
An implant is a relatively recently devised procedure to replace the missing teeth in the oral cavity. Before implants, there have been a number of options that work in ways to replace the tooth structure. Though these procedures do not provide the replacements better than an implant, they are better than leaving empty spaces in the mouth:
- Flipper: these are partial dentures that are worn temporarily by the patient. These are transient replacement for a more permanent one.
- Partial and complete dentures: these are the oldest solution to the missing teeth. This fix is temporary, and after a while, the patient needs to replace their denture as the material deteriorates after 5-7 years.
- Crowns and bridge: crowns replace or repair the damaged tooth structure. This fix is more reliable and permanent than dentures as they get stuck to the remaining tooth structure for support. The replaced crowns have a natural appearance