Missing teeth are an inconvenience. Not only do they affect your appearance, but they can also damage your jaw structure because the surrounding teeth shift to the space. This will eventually affect the bone and teeth alignment. Furthermore, missing teeth can cause bone recession which can damage your facial structure.
Although dental dentures or bridges can replace your teeth, dental implants offer long-lasting support.
Dental implants are metal-shaped posts that are surgically fixed into the jawbone to serve as a base for an artificial tooth. The implants are made of a titanium screw, abutment or bridge, and crown.
• The single dental implant which is fixed if you have one missing tooth
• All-on-four dental implants refer to all teeth being supported by four implants. These implants are ideal for patients with severely decayed, broken or compromised teeth
• Mini implants are similar to the regular ones but are smaller
These dental implants can either be endosteal or subperiosteal.
The implant procedure is done in several stages;
1. Initial consultation
On your first appointment, the dentist will do a comprehensive assessment of your teeth and gum and together you will come up with a treatment plan.
Next, the dentist will fix the implant into your bone and the procedure can take one to two hours. The healing process can last up to seven months depending if its upper or lower jaw.
If you don’t have enough bone to support the implant, the dentist may perform a bone graft to rebuild your jaw. It can take up to 12 months for the bone graft to fuse with the existing bone, further lengthening the recovery time.
2. Second appointment
Once the osseointegration (implant fusing to the bone) process is complete you will be ready for the next stage of getting a temporary crown. This crown will stay for ten to 14 days to facilitate tissue healing.
Thereafter the placement of the abutment, a connector or bridge between the crown and implant. The dentist will take another impression of your teeth. They will also give you a temporary crown for four to six weeks as you wait for the permanent crown to be made.
3. The final stage
The temporary crown will be replaced with the permanent one which can either be cemented to screwed in place.
Dental implants have a 95% success rate, but there is a chance they could fail. Certain factors like autoimmune disease, poor health, insufficient blood supply, infection, and medications can impair the success of the implants. The failure of the implants can also be attributed to the experience and skill of the dentist.
Furthermore, you may also develop an infection in the affected area, tissue, nerve damage and bruising.
On the first day after a dental implant, you will feel gentle pressure and bleeding, but the bleeding will stop after 30 minutes.
Some of the symptoms to expect include pain, swelling, oozing, and persistent bleeding These symptoms will subside on their own.
During the recovery time, you should avoid certain foods such as spicy food, hard nuts, acidic foods or popcorn.
Food to eat includes baked beans, avocado, eggs, fish, oatmeal, noodles, and rice.
Other guideline instructions;
Dental implants provide better support and stability than dentures or bridges. Furthermore, they are easy to maintain and help to prevent bone loss.