It might be the case that you are missing some or all of your teeth. The truth is that if this is the case, you might feel badly when looking in the mirror and it will affect your confidence. Luckily, it is possible to make you smile again with implant surgery.
You might have heard your dentist talking about implant surgery or implant dental surgery. This is one way to replace missing teeth; other methods may include dentures, partial dentures or bridges. The decision to make the choice to do implant surgery will be decided after a consultation. However, it is important to understand what these terms mean and how the procedure is done.
What Is a Dental Implant?
Many times, you might hear a reference to being rooted in something. This also refers to teeth. Sometimes, teeth are lost during an accident or infection. This means that there is still an adequate amount of bone left with a high bone density level.
A crown and other restorations have to be attached to teeth and you need roots as a basis. Implants replace the missing root in order to support or anchor artificial teeth or replacements. Dental implants are placed during implant dental surgery in the jawbone. Implants are made out of titanium and are therefore extremely strong.
People who are most suited to receive a dental implant are people who are generally healthy, have enough bone in the jaw and have healthy gums. In the case of the jawbone that has shrunk, there is not enough bone, or, if the jawbone has not developed normally as it should have, a procedure called bone grafting can be done. During this procedure, bone is added to the jawbone. Each patient is unique and your dentist will tell you if you are a suitable candidate for a bone graft.
Implant dental surgery has to be performed by a specialist since this is a more specialised procedure. If your dentist is not specialised in this area, a referral will be made. Specialists who do implant surgery are called a periodontist, oral surgeons, and maxillofacial surgeons. A specialist that works with dentures, crowns and bridges on an implant, is called a prosthodontist.
There are many reasons why implants are done, and it is not only for aesthetical reasons. Here are some reasons why implants are considered an advantage:
- Improvement of speech. If you have dentures that fit poorly, your speech will be disrupted. You might slur your words or it might sound like you are mumbling. With implants, you do not have to worry that your dentures might slip.
- More comfortable. With implant surgery, the implants become part of your jawbone and there is no discomfort like in the case of dentures that might hurt or fall out.
- Easier to chew. If not, this might be reason alone to consider implants. Dentures might slide and food might go in between the dentures and the gum, which is very uncomfortable. Since the implant cannot come out and is strong, you will be able to chew easier.
- The improvement of general oral health. When implants are placed, the neighbouring teeth are left untouched. Therefore, there is better oral hygiene as your own teeth are still left intact.
- Durability. The implants are strong and if looked after, it will last for many years
Improvement of confidence self-esteem. You are going to smile more and will have more confidence.
If you know what the procedure entails, you will be more relaxed. Firstly, you have to visit your dentist. During this consultation, the dentist will examine your mouth and x-rays will be taken of your teeth, jaw, and head. The result on the x-ray will determine whether you are a candidate for dental implant surgery.
The whole procedure takes about an hour, but the duration can be influenced by how many teeth are involved and the location of the teeth. The surgery can be divided into two stages. The first stage is where the dentist will place a dental implant into the jawbone. Since this will act like a root, the implant has to be placed underneath the gum tissue, which is stitched back into place after the insertion. The gum tissue has to heal, since this is a surgical procedure. During the healing time, the gum will attach to implant, which has bonded with the bone. The healing time can take up to six months.
The second stage of the treatment takes place after the healing of the gums. Now, an abutment, a post like structure, is attached to the implant. This post has to connect the artificial or replacement tooth with the implant. Sometimes, stage one and two are done at once, but discussion is needed with your dentist.
A replacement is made and is attached to the abutment. It might take several appointments to make sure that the replacement tooth fits adequately to the abutment.
In the case of all teeth being replaced by implant surgery, a fixed bridge is attached and anchored to the dental implants. The bridge will be held firmly in place by the dental implants both sides of the missing teeth.
The Success Rate of Implants
The success rate of dental implants is extremely high. However, some factors will help with the success of implants that can only be determined by the patient. Patients have to be committed to an everyday oral hygiene plan. Gums must be kept healthy and the dentist has to be visited regularly.
If you are a heavy smoker, have heart disease, diabetes, or have had radiation therapy to the neck or head area, you must be evaluated more often. Please talk to your dentist if you fall under one of these categories.
Dental implant surgery can make your life so much easier and will improve your quality of life.The technology and techniques used in our surgery gives us the capability to do a full mouth reconstruction in one single day. This means less appointments and more time to enjoy all the pleasures the South African Lowveld has to offer.
For more information about our services, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.