Replacing Lost Teeth

Dental implants generally consist of two major parts: and artificial tooth or multiple teeth and the underlying permanent anchor which is attached. The anchor is surgically placed on the top of or within the jawbone and the artificial teeth are attached by posts to the anchor. The artificial teeth fit right onto the gum line or close to the gums for a natural appearance.

To increase the acceptance of outside materials by the body, implants may be coated with a material such a hydroxylapatite which is well accepted by surrounding body tissues and seems to lead to few complications. For the same reasons, titanium is often used to construct anchors.

The anchor can be structured for one or more individual teeth, a partial denture, or a full denture. As a result of advances in materials and techniques, use of implants has increased dramatically in the last few years and has become and important part of modern dentistry.
  
The process of dental implantation involves careful assessment by the dentist to determine whether or not the option is the best one for a patient's unique set of circumstances. That assessment includes a thorough dental history and examination and a medical history. X-rays and other imaging methods, such as computed tomography (CT Scan), are used to assess bone and other underlying structures.

The anchor for a dental implant must be surgically placed, which involves an incision in gum tissue. The incision is made in gum tissue and space is created in bone for the implant. Often, the procedure can be done on an outpatient basis with local anesthetic.

After the surgery, teeth cannot be attached immediately to the anchor. A three to six month wait is necessary to allow bone tissue to grow on and around the anchor, attaching it tightly to the jawbone.

Depending on the type of anchor used, posts (for the attachment of teeth) may already be present. If not, a second minor surgical procedure will be necessary to attach posts to the implant. The final restorations will be placed on these posts. Once gums have healed, posts ate attached.

Temporary effects include pain and swelling and inflammation of the gums. The possibility of long-term adverse effects is low, but rarely nerve or sinus injury may occur.

The person considering dental implants must be highly motivated because the most difficult part of dental implant success is after care. Long-term success depends on meticulous dental hygiene and good care of the oral area. That includes brushing, flossing, and regular dental checkups. Only persons who are able to achieve that level of oral care are good candidates for dental implants.

The length of time that implants will last depends not only on the skill with which they are placed, but also the care that is given thereafter. The partnership of the patient and dentist is crucial for maintaining dental implants. The life of implants varies depending on the area in which they are placed, the condition of the underlying bone and soft tissue, the type of implant used, the general health of the patient, and the after care of the implant. The majority of implants last for ten years or more.

Your dentist will help you weigh the advantages and disadvantages of a dental implant, considering your unique set of circumstances. Together you can make the best decision for your long-term dental health.