Dental implants are now commonly being used for replacing missing teeth in adults. Factors that contribute to the immense popularity of dental implants is their high success rate and their ability to offer a permanent solution to tooth loss.
The dental implant procedure generally consists of two steps. The first is the surgical step that involves the drilling of the dental implant into the jawbone. The implant takes the place of the missing tooth root. The next step consists of the attachment of the dental crown, which will take the place of the missing tooth in the mouth, onto the implant. The entire procedure is completed in 4-6 months and is considered a long-term investment in terms of both money and time.
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What Makes Dental Implants a Permanent Solution for Tooth Loss?
Dental implants are made of biocompatible materials such as titanium or zirconium. A process known as osseointegration causes the implant to fuse with the jawbone and imparts stability to the entire restoration. Allowing the dental implant to integrate with the surrounding bone is the longest but most important part of the procedure.
Once successful osseointegration has taken place, dental implants can essentially last a lifetime with the right aftercare. They have been proven to have a success rate of more than 95% in most cases. Depending on their placement in the mouth, dental implants may be subjected to consistent grinding and chewing forces. Dental crowns are designed to withstand such forces and can last up to 15 years. However, they may need to be replaced if they begin to show signs of wear and tear over time. As long as the dental implant remains in place in the jaw, the crown and abutment may be changed multiple times.
Advantages of Dental Implants:
Up until the discovery of dental implants, dentures and bridges have been the only way to replace missing teeth. Unlike dental implants, other conventional methods of tooth replacement do not last as long and are usually not conservative in nature.
Dental implants remain fixed in the mouth and have the closest resemblance to a natural tooth, compared to all other tooth replacement options. Moreover, dental implants allow patients to speak and eat much like they would with their teeth. The titanium implant remains firm in the bone and holds the prosthetic teeth in place, unlike dentures that can easily fall out while eating or talking. The benefits offered by dental implants far outweigh any advantages provided by bridges and dentures, making them a superior tooth replacement option.
Caring for Dental Implants
The success of dental implants depends on various factors. The experience, skill-level, and treatment planning at the hands of the dentist plays a significant role in determining the outcome of the dental implant procedure. However, the patient’s responsibility is just as great, if not more, in ensuring the success and longevity of the dental implant.
Special care should be taken to strictly follow the dentist’s post-operative instructions following the surgical procedure of the implant. These include maintaining the recommended diet, avoiding unnecessary forces on the dental implant, and going for regular check-ups to the dentist.
Smoking is directly associated with conditions that can lead to failure of the dental implant. It is advisable to give up the habit before you decide to go ahead with the dental implant procedure.
Practicing proper oral hygiene measures is essential for the longevity of dental implants. Brushing at least twice a day and flossing regularly helps prevent plaque accumulation, which can lead to an inflammatory condition known as peri-implantitis. Peri-implantitis leads to loss of bone around the implant and has been proven to be the leading cause of dental implant failure.
Make regular visits to the dentist at least every six months. While practicing oral hygiene at home is essential, professional cleanings done occasionally at the dental office can help remove plaque from hard-to-reach areas.
Please schedule an appointment with us at Anoka Dental today for all queries and doubts regarding dental implants.