Invented in 1952 by a Swedish orthopedic surgeon, dental implants have become a standard of care for the prosthetic replacement of missing teeth. Most dental implants are made of titanium, which is a safe material for our mouths and easily integrates with our bones without causing problems for our existing teeth.
The process of getting dental implant surgery is called osseointegration. This process usually takes a couple months. Dental implants have a success rate of 98% and last for about 15 years. They have also become the a popular option comparison to dentures or dental bridges.
1. What are dental implants?
A dental implant is a surgical fixture placed in the jawbone and fused with the bone, acting as a replacement for the root of a missing tooth. A dental implant is the closest thing to a natural tooth because it stands on its own and does not affect nearby teeth.
2. What types of dental implants can I get?
In the past, there were two types of dental implants: endosteal and subperiosteal. However, not many — or any — dentists use subperiosteal implants today. Subperiosteal implants, as shown over time, did not have good long-term results in comparison to endosteal implants, so most implants today are endosteal.
There are different kinds of implants you can get. These include mini-implants and full implants. Mini-implants act as a temporary anchorage device to help move a tooth or teeth. They are also small and temporarily fixed into the bone, and can be removed.
If you need more than a tooth moved, you can look at the full implant option, which will replace a tooth or teeth opposed to just move them. A full implant usually lasts about 15 years.
3. How do dental implants work?
Dental implants can be used to replace one tooth, several teeth or all of your teeth. The goal of dental implants is to restore function and improve your smile.
Before getting dental implants, the first step is to meet with a dentist such as an oral surgeon to set up an individualized surgery and treatment plan. This plan will address any needs you have and is usually prepared by trained and experienced dental professionals.
Once you’ve had your consultation, and a plan is put together, the dentist will book the surgery. If you need a full implant, the surgery will usually involve a dentist implanting a small titanium post, which is placed in the bone socket of the missing tooth or teeth.
After this part is done, the jawbone will heal, and grow around the implant, securing it to the jaw. This can take six to 12 weeks. When the healing is finish, the dentist will then add a small connector post, called an abutment, which will hold the new tooth or teeth.
4. When should I get a dental implant?
Depending on your dental needs, dental implants are always an option at anytime. Some people choose dental implants over dental bridges or dentures, which are other options. There are factors to consider before moving forward with dental implants, these include the location of your missing tooth or teeth, quality and quantity of your jawbone, your health, and of course, cost.
Before getting dental implants, the dentist or dental surgeon will examine your mouth to understand whether or not you qualify for the surgery. After the examination, the dentist will help you choose the best option for your dental needs.
5. How much do they cost?
Some insurance companies will cover dental implants and others won’t. Depending on how many implants you need, and the dentist, the range can vary. Talk with your insurance company and dentist to find out what’s best for your budget.
There are many advantages to choosing dental implants over dentures and bridges, including improved appearance, speech, oral health, and durability. Dental implants are also a long-term solution to your dental needs, and look and feel like your own teeth. And unlike dentures, dental implants stay put so you don’t have to worry about removing them at night or at the dinner table.
This is just a brief overview, it’s always best to talk to your dentist about the process and what works best for you and your teeth.