Smile Confident With Dental Implant

July 15th, 2009 healthwiki

A smile can make your day brighter, but with missing teeth, you might lose the confidence to share your sweet smile with the world. This is where a dental implant procedure can help.

A dental implant is nothing more than a metal screw that is placed into the jaw bone. If you are missing one or more teeth and wish to eat your favorite foods, increase your chewing ability and improve your appearance, speech and self-esteem, then you are a candidate for dental implants.

A dental implant replaces the root of a missing tooth and is made form surgical-grade titanium alloy to exacting specifications. Initially the implant is placed into the jawbone either immediately after the loss of a tooth, or after an extended period of time. If there is insufficient bone, various bone enhancing procedures can be performed prior to the implant placement. An abutment, which acts as a base for a prosthetic tooth replacement such as a Crown, is either inserted into the implant at the time of implant placement, or subsequently after a period of healing.

In the past, dentists would try to keep or replace teeth with treatments such as root canals, bridges, and fixed or removable dentures. Unfortunately, a significant number of root-canal-treated teeth fail, bridges require that healthy adjacent teeth be cut down, and removable dentures can often be unstable and require the use of sticky adhesives. Dental implants are a solution to all of these problems, and many of the frustrations associated with natural teeth are eliminated, including dental decay.

The procedure
The placement of a dental implant is typically completed in less then an hour, as an office procedure with only local anesthesia. Post-operative discomfort is normally none or less than that of a tooth extraction.

For aesthetic reasons, it is usually possible to have a fixed transitional restoration inserted immediately after implant placement so that you are never without a tooth. After a period of two to six months of healing, a final abutment post is inserted into the implant. A crown or removable denture is secured to the abutment as the final restoration.

Who is a candidate for implant?
Anyone in reasonable health who wants to replace missing teeth may have dental implant. You must have enough bone in the area of the missing teeth to provide for the anchorage of the implants.

Some people are missing all their teeth and most of those are excellent candidates for dental implants. But today, we use implants to replace small bridges, removable partial dentures and even missing single teeth. If a patient does not have enough bone to support a dental implant, bone grafts can be placed.

Is the implant ever rejected by the body?
The implant is machined from surgical-grade titanium alloy (Ti-6A1-4V), which is a biocompatible material. However, there is a slight possibility that it will not integrate with bone. If this occurs, the implant can be replaced with another one. It is most unlikely that second implant would not integrate.

How much discomfort will be experienced?
Minimal to none. While undergoing treatment, you will receive anesthesia. You may have mild post-surgical soreness for up to 72 hours. An over-the-counter pain reliever will alleviate the discomfort most patients.

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