The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare states that each adult Australian has an average of 4.5 missing teeth. Gaps in your smile can be uncomfortable, cause issues with speech and nutrition, and damage self-esteem. If you have missing teeth, you may be wondering how to restore your smile and regain your confidence. Dental implants are a revolutionary procedure that can permanently replace your teeth with prostheses that look and function like natural teeth.
Patients considering dental implant surgery often ask, ‘How do dental implants work’? Learn how dental implants restore your smile and support your oral health and how dental implant surgery works.
What is a Dental Implant?
Dental implants act as artificial roots for missing teeth. Dental implants have three parts, the implant, the abutment, and the crown.
This part of the implant looks like a tiny screw and is usually made from titanium. The dental implant is surgically placed in or on the jaw where the roots of the original tooth were. There are two types of dental implants:
- Subperiosteal: When not enough healthy jawbone is available to support the drilled endosteal implant, a subperiosteal (On the bone) implant is used. Subperiosteal dental implants are placed just on or above the bone, under the gum, rather than drilled into the jaw.
- Endosteal: Endosteal implants (In the bone) implants are tiny screws made from biocompatible metal. Holes are drilled into the jawbone, and the endosteal implant is inserted. Because they are placed into the bone, these implants can be used to secure one or several replacement teeth, including an entire dental arch.
The abutment connects the metal implant to the replacement crown. It is a small metal extender that is placed either during implant surgery or in another procedure once the implant site has healed.
To complete your dental implant surgery, your dentist crafts a restoration to act as the structure above the gum line and provide a chewing surface. For a single tooth, you’ll need a dental crown. For several consecutive missing teeth, your dentist creates a bridge. If you need a complete dental arch, your dentist may prescribe an All-on-4 procedure with four dental implant posts to support a denture plate.
How Do Dental Implants Work?
Many patients at Available Dental Care want to know how do dental implants work for everyday use. Dental implants are so close to the look and feel of your natural teeth that you’ll feel like your old smile is back.
The materials last a lifetime, and dental implants are easy to maintain with regular oral care and hygiene. Although the dental implant can last a lifetime, the restoration may only last about 15 years due to wear and tear.
Dental implants work through osseointegration. When the implant is placed in the bone, the pressure stimulates the release of cells that generate bone tissue. The titanium post features screw-like thread and is coated in a bioactive film that allows the bone tissue to fuse easily with the post and form a firm foundation for the abutment and restoration.
How Do Dental Implants Work: Dental Implant Surgery
Dental implant surgery is a process that can take several months to complete because the bone must heal around the metal to support and retain it. If an abutment needs to be placed in a separate surgery after the implant placement, you’ll need approximately two weeks of additional healing time before the dentist can place the restoration.
There are four basic steps to the process of dental implant surgery:
- Your dentist needs a detailed picture of the area the implant will go into so that they will take several X-rays and digital scans.
- During oral surgery, the implant will be placed in or on the jawbone, and the abutment will be placed either simultaneously or during another outpatient surgery.
- The bone tissue will grow around the dental implant to give it a secure and stable foundation for the replacement tooth.
- Once the jaw is adequately healed and the dental implants are stable, a replacement tooth or teeth will be formed from moulds taken by your dentist. A crown will be fabricated from those moulds, and your dental crowns will be attached to the dental implant.
If there is extensive damage to the jawbone or sinus cavity, your dentist may recommend a bone grafting procedure before a dental implant. Bone grafting is done when the jawbone needs to be augmented or built up to support the implant post.
During bone grafting, additional layers of bone are added to the existing one to regenerate and build strength. Bone can be taken from another area of your body, or it could be treated donor tissue from a cadaver, pig, or cow. Your dentist may also suggest synthetic bone tissue for the graft.
Who Can I Talk to About Whether Dental Implant Surgery is Right for Me?
Dental implants can restore your smile and help you regain your confidence. If you are interested in dental implants, contact Available Dental Care on (02) 4062 8763 to get a free consultation at your local dental clinic.
Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.
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How many teeth do you have? How many will you keep for life?