What is a dental implant and how does it work?
If you’re missing a tooth, you’ve got a few options. The least advisable is to do nothing! It’s not just about aesthetics…Replacing a lost tooth is important to restoring maximum function, maintaining the alignment of surrounding teeth, and preserving facial contours.
Your pearly whites don’t just look pretty, they are important place holders for each other. Over time, those adjacent to a toothless gap can drift to fill the space and move out of alignment. Additionally, tooth roots below the gums provide stimulation that the underlying jawbone needs to maintain its form and density.
The most appropriate for you will depend on a variety of factors that you should discuss with your dentist.
Today’s gold standard for tooth replacement is the dental implant. This is actually a tooth root replacement to which a separately fashioned crown is attached. For successful implantation, there must be a sufficient amount of healthy jawbone to anchor the implant and the adjacent gums and teeth must be healthy. Certain systemic health conditions may preclude implantation as well.
- Aesthetic, functional, reliable
- Stimulates the jaw bone to remodel and rebuild
- Does not compromise the integrity of adjacent teeth
- Decreased risk of periodontal (gum) disease compared with a bridge
- More expensive than a bridge (but more durable so it could be more cost effective long term)
- Requires minor surgery and healing time before placement of a permanent crown
There are 3 reasons why you shouldn’t be nervous about the thought of having minor dental surgery.
- The procedure is precisely planned. Undergoing implant surgery is a relatively minor procedure, mainly because the placement is mapped out ahead of time. You would have had x-rays and CT scans of the mouth so that the exact location can be determined and a surgical guide is created to use during the procedure.
- The surgery can be performed under local anaesthetic. This means that the dentist will numb the site of the incision and the surrounding tissue while you remain awake. If you are an anxious patient this is an option to complete the procedure under sedation.
- This is minimal discomfort after the procedure. Because of the pre –planned surgical guides and planning, there is very little tissue disruption. The implant sight heals fairly quickly and dental implant success rate is 95-97% successful. A few weeks after the bone has integrated with the implant your dentist will attach the permanent crown that will be ready to give you years of function and a confident smile.