For those who are interested in implants, which are also referred to as dental fixtures, it is important to know about the procedure. There are millions of individuals in the United States who suffer from tooth loss from gum disease and tooth decay. When individuals have missing teeth, it can cause an array of problems, which can be solved by implants.
What is an Implant and what are the Advantages?
An implant will enable a solid foundation for permanent teeth, which effectively match an individual’s natural teeth. Implants are designed to fuse with an individual’s bone within a few months, so they are permanent. Implants are the closest alternative to an individual’s own teeth and provide stability that dentures are not able to provide. Many individuals opt to have implants because they provide several benefits, which include:
- By having implants, an individual will have an improved appearance. The implants are designed to appear and feel like an individual’s own teeth.
- Implants can also give a person improved speech. If a person has dentures that are not fitted properly, then it can cause the dentures to slip, which can result in slurred speech. Implants enable a person to speak without having to be concerned about his or her teeth slipping as with dentures.
- Implants also provide more comfort than dentures or missing teeth. They can make eating easier for a person because they function like his or her own teeth. Many individuals with missing teeth eat in pain and discomfort, but implants will enable them to eat free of pain.
- Implants also provide improved oral health. When a person has a bridge that is supported by other teeth, it requires the surrounding teeth to be reduced. Implants will not have an impact on surrounding teeth, and will improve oral health because more of a person’s own teeth are left in their original state.
What is the Procedure for Having an Implant?
When a person decides to have an implant to replace a missing tooth, a dental surgeon will perform an examination and take X-rays or CT scans of the area in the mouth. A dental surgeon will examine the site to see if the jawbone is able to support the implant. When a dental surgeon decides a dental implant will be suitable for the area, a person will schedule an appointment for the procedure.
During the first stage of the procedure, a surgeon will remove any remaining tooth that is still present. There are many times when a person will have a part of a damaged tooth still present at the site, so removal of the remaining tooth is important to continue with the procedure. When a person has enough jawbone at the site an alveolar bone graft will be administered, which will provide a sturdy base for the implant, and will take two to six months to heal. If there is not enough bone at the site, then an onlay bone graft will be administered, which will take at least six months to heal. There are some instances where an immediate implant can be performed, which is when the damaged tooth is removed and the implant is placed in the area during the same appointment.
When the bone graft has provided adequate stability for the implant, a dental surgeon can proceed with the next step in the procedure. At this stage, a dental surgeon will place the implant, which is titanium post, into the bone. A healing cap is then placed over the implant and the gum is stitched, which will enable healing. It usually takes two to six months for an implant to heal, but this is dependent how well the person cares for the area.