Dental implants are an effective way to replace missing teeth. They also provide a permanent and fixed alternative to having removable, partial or complete dentures. Implants provide excellent support and stability to removable dentures that are clipped to implants.
Dental implants are artificial roots, usually made of metal (titanium) that are surgically placed into the upper or lower jaw bone by a dentist, periodontist or oral surgeon. The teeth attached to implants are very natural looking and often indistinguishable from natural teeth.
Dental implants are very strong, stable and durable. They will last many years. On occasion, however, they might need re-tightening or replacement due to normal wear.
Why are dental implants needed?
- To replace one or more missing teeth without affecting adjacent teeth.
- To support fixed bridges or dentures.
- To support removable dentures, making them really secure and comfortable.
- To prevent teeth shifting into the space of other missing teeth.
- To restore function (chewing, digestion and speech).
- To restore your smile!
How are dental implants placed?
The process of getting implants requires a number of appointments, sometimes over the duration of several months.
During your initial appointment, X-rays and impressions (moulds) are taken of the jaw and teeth to determine if sufficient bone, gum tissue and space are available to fit the implants. While the area is numb, the implant will be surgically placed into the bone and allowed to heal and integrate itself onto the bone for up to six months.
Depending on the type of implant, a second stage of surgery may be required in order to expose the implant and to fit the implant with a ‘post’ that will hold the artificial tooth in place. In other cases the ‘post’ is fitted to the implant at the same time the implant is placed in the gums.
After several weeks of healing, the crown, bridge or denture (depending on the case) are made and fitted to the ‘post’ portion of the implant. This might require several appointments, depending on the type of structure fitted to the implant.
You will be shown and given instructions on how to care for your implants and the structures fitted to them. Good oral hygiene, brushing and flossing, as well as healthy eating habits, will greatly extend the life of your implants.