If you are self-conscious because you have missing teeth, wear dentures that are uncomfortable and would prefer not to get a bridge so you can keep the structure of your good teeth… then dental implants may be an option for you.
Dental implants are a popular and effective way to replace missing teeth and are designed to blend in with your other teeth.
They are an excellent long-term option for restoring your smile. In fact, the development and use of implants is one of the biggest advances in dentistry in the past 40 years.
Dental implants are made with materials such as titanium and other materials compatible with the human body to eliminate and minimise rejection or allergy responses by your body.
Implants require a post that is surgically placed in the upper or lower jaw bone. The post functions as a sturdy anchor for artificial replacement teeth.
Most patients find that a dental implant is secure, stable and a good replacement for their own tooth.
There are generally three phases to getting an implant:
- First, the dentist surgically places the implant post into the jawbone. Your dentist may recommend a diet of soft foods, cold foods and warm soup during the healing process.
- Next, the bone around the implant heals in a process called osseointegration. What makes an implant so strong is that the bone actually grows around the implanted post and holds it in place. Osseointegration means “combines with the bone” and takes time.
Some patients might need to wait until the implant is completely integrated – up to several months, before replacement teeth can be attached to the implant. Other patients can have the implants and replacement teeth placed all in one visit.
- Finally, it’s time for the placement of the artificial tooth/teeth. For a single tooth implant, your dentist will customise a new tooth for you, called a dental crown. The crown’s size, shape, colour and fit will be designed to blend in with your other teeth. If you are replacing more than a single tooth, custom-made bridges or partial dentures will be made to fit your mouth and your implants.
The replacement teeth usually take some time to make. In the meantime, your dentist may give you a temporary crown, bridge or denture to help you eat and speak normally until the permanent replacement is ready.
If you’re missing teeth and would like to consider dental implants, it’s a good idea to discuss it carefully with your dentist first.