Tooth loss doesn't have to mean that your days of smiling are over. If you have lost or are missing teeth, your dentist might be able to offer dental implant surgery. Below is a brief guide as to what you should expect if you choose to have dental implants, the surgical procedure and the different types of implant available.
Dental implants involve inserting an artificial tooth in place of a lost or missing tooth. Unlike dentures, dental implants are surgically attached to the jaw. This will help to stimulate the jaw bone, helping to prevent it from deteriorating. If your jaw bone deteriorates, it can cause your face to look caved-in and prematurely ages you. Dental implants restore your smile and are longer lasting when compared to other tooth replacement options such as dentures.
Dental implants are held in place by titanium posts which perform the same job as the root in a natural tooth, holding the artificial tooth in place. Before performing dental implant surgery, your dentist will perform an examination to determine if there is enough jaw bone to install the titanium post. If there is not enough jaw bone, your dentist may recommend a procedure which takes bone from another part of the jaw and grafts it on to the area that needs it.
Once your dentist is happy with the jaw bone, he will perform the first part of the surgery. This involves the insertion and attachment of the titanium post into the jaw. It is likely you will have to wait between 2 and 6 months for the titanium post to fuse with the jaw. Once this has happened, your dentist will attach the artificial tooth to the post and the treatment will be complete.
Types of Implant
- Endosseous Implants: These implants are screwed into the bone. These are the most commonly used implants, provided your jaw is the correct depth and width to accommodate them.
- Subperiosteal Implants: These implants use a metal frame work which sits on top of the jaw but underneath the gum tissue. They are often used as an alternative when endosseous implants will not fit the patients jaw.
- Transosteal Implants: These implants are normally used when the patient has very limited jaw bone material. The main disadvantage is that it can only be used on the lower jaw and require extensive surgery which requires hospitalisation.
If you are considering dental implants, contact your dentist today for more information and to book a consultation visit.