What Are Dental Implants and Who Needs Them?
Dental implants are used to replace missing, diseased, or injured teeth. A titanium frame is often custom-designed and surgically screwed to the jaw bone before a set of natural looking false teeth is placed on these fixtures. However, a certain amount of jawbone is required for the dental implants to have sufficient anchorage. If the jaw bone is not adequate, then bone may be grafted from other areas of the body such as the pelvis. In some cases, donor grafts are supplied from other patients. Bone grafting for dental implants is a common occurrence although sometimes synthetic materials are used as a substitute. However, most healthcare providers prefer the stability and reliability of organic tissue, since infection and disease are not nearly as common. There are 3 main types of dental implants: root form implant, plate form implant, and subperiosteal implant, and the healthcare provider usually determines which type is most appropriate.
Dental Implant Procedures
Root form implant is the most common type of dental implant available. The procedure begins with a thorough examination during which a casting of the mouth is made. This mold is sent to a lab where technicians design the frame and artificial teeth. The crown, (the false teeth attached to the implant) is secured to the fixture after the titanium frame has been affixed to the jaw. In three to six months after the dental implant procedure has taken place, bone grows around the fixture, strengthening it. The crown has to be exchanged approximately every 10 to 15 years but the dental implants can last a life time. Because this is a fairly painful procedure, patients should discuss all of the details with their healthcare providers prior to the operation. Dietary charges, improved dental hygiene, and regular check-ups are often recommended after surgery.