What Patients Need to Know about Dental Implants

Dental health is an essential part of wellness, and thanks to breakthroughs in modern dentistry there are many wonderful solutions that were not available in the past.

One of the most helpful for patients who need it is dental implants. They are used to help replace the vital root of the tooth if it is no longer functional.

Sometimes dental implants are a recommended solutions if the tooth or teeth have been damaged because of an injury or accident. They may be used if the root of the tooth is infected beyond repair or in cases where its structure is weakened due to a loss of bone.

What are Dental Implants?

A dental implant is a type of anchor that does the work of the root of a tooth. The tooth’s natural root ensures that the tooth is stable and strong. But oftentimes, for many different reasons, that root and its corresponding tooth are damaged or unhealthy, so they need to be removed.

After the dentist removes a tooth, it can be replaced by an artificial type of tooth made of a substance such as porcelain. Unless there is a root or anchor point to attach that new artificial tooth, however, it can’t be installed. That’s where implants are used. They are like posts or screws that the replacement or prosthetic tooth can attach to safely and securely.

Dental Implant Surgery

Dental surgeons perform the installation of implants all the time, in a procedure that’s done in the dentist’s office. The patient will be given sedation or pain relief medications to help make the process as comfortable and pain-free as possible, just as is done with other kinds of dental treatments and procedures.

The implant is usually placed into the bone of the jaw, where the jaw will naturally grow around it to form a tight and secure hold. Because bone takes time to grow and develop, the length of time the dental implant procedure takes from beginning to end with vary with each patient on a case-by-case basis.

Sometimes it will involve multiple dentist appointments until eventually the bone adheres nicely to the implant and provides the right kind of support for a replacement artificial or prosthetic tooth to be installed over the implant.

Is a Dental Implant Right for You?

Whether or not dental implants are the best option for you will be a decision you want to make with the help of a qualified and experienced dental surgeon.

In most cases, you’ll already have a relationship with that kind of dentist and they’ll answer all of your questions and provide you with a good overview and education about dental implant procedures and purposes.

But some things that will be a prerequisite to determine if you’re a good candidate for implants include your current health status and whether you have enough supportive jawbone to ensure successful implanting.

Lastly, the dentist will want to determine whether you have any issues with your gum or periodontal health that might influence the decision to get implants installed.

Two Categories of Dental Implants

While most dental implants are placed right into the jawbone, which is call an endosteal implant, there are instances when the dentist will instead use another type of implant called subperiosteal.

A subperiosteal implant doesn’t go all the way down inside the bone, but instead is installed right on top of it.

That’s accomplished by using specially designed framework that goes into and through the gums of the mouth and is secured there, atop the actual jawbone.

That type of implant might be used, for example, if the patient doesn’t have a large enough amount of jawbone to accommodate the more typical endosteal style implant.

So, while there are several types of dental implant procedures that accomplish different goals, these are the two broad categories based on how installation is achieved.

Various Dental Implant Applications

Depending on what your dental health needs are, the dental surgeon can use dental implants in several ways. One of the most common is an implant used to secure a single prosthetic tooth.

But there are also situations where multiple teeth require this kind of replacement, and dental implants can be used for all of those teeth.

In fact, there are cases where all or nearly all of the teeth in a patient’s mouth are safely secured by these same kinds of implants.

Related Procedures and Solutions

To make the implant successful, as mentioned before, the jaw needs to be adequate and have sufficient height or size. The top portion of the jaw, toward the rear of the mouth, is one area where that can be problematic. But dental science can also help to remedy that kind of issue through what is known as sinus augmentation.

Sinus augmentation is a process where that part of the jaw is developed and built-up to meet the requirements for installation of implants. Another version of modification in order to create a secure footing for the dental implants is what’s called a ridge modification.

This involves the dental surgeon going beneath the gum to where bone is absent, and then filling in that space with either real bone or a manmade substance that’s especially created to replace lost bone.

After Dental Implants are Installed

After the procedure, your dentist will monitor your dental health and give you tips for how to ensure a full and successful outcome. In situations where you are having multiple teeth replaced, it may take time to complete all the work. But in the meantime, the dentist can often provide you with some temporary crowns or dentures to help you with activities like eating.

Soon you’ll be back to normal with safe, secure new replacement teeth held in place by your dental implants. Once the implants have been installed, they can last a long time and help ensure good overall dental health.

They can also help to restore facial structure tooth function quickly and successfully. That makes them a popular option for dentists and their patients, regardless of what the underlying dental problem with the tooth’s natural root may be.

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