Dental implants are a popular replacement for missing teeth and have become an effective and established method for doing so. They are often preferred to dentures due to their snug fit, longevity and support for replacement teeth. A single implant or several implants can be inserted depending upon how many teeth are to be replaced.
A dental implant is a slim, titanium rod which acts as an artificial tooth root. It is inserted into the jawbone where it then fuses with the bone over a period of several months in a process known as ‘osseointegration’. Once this has occurred, false teeth (restorations) are then fitted over the implant which look and act the same way as natural teeth.
DENTAL IMPLANT PROCEDURE
There needs to be sufficient density in the jawbone before an implant is inserted. If you do not have enough bone in your jaw then a bone graft will be performed before the insertion of an implant.
If you have any existing dental problems such as tooth decay and/or gum disease then these will be treated before the implant procedure.
Dental implants are inserted under a local anaesthetic. The dentist makes a small incision in the gum before lifting the flap to drill a small hole in the jaw. This acts as the site for the implant. The titanium implant is placed in this hole and the gum incision closed with sutures.
The implant is left to integrate with the jawbone for up to 6 months. You will be given a temporary set of teeth, i.e. dentures to wear in the meantime.
Once integration has taken place a small device called an abutment is attached to the implant which acts as a connector between this and the replacement tooth. A temporary crown is fitted and worn for a short period of time before being replaced by a permanent tooth.