Know Your Dental Implants

Dental implants are usually screws that are placed directly into the jawbone, so they can serve as “roots” to hold or support the artificial teeth. They may be used to replace a tooth or several teeth which have been lost due to a dental disease or injury. Dental implants are designed to function the same way as natural teeth, so that within limits you can still enjoy your favourite foods, speak normally and smile with confidence.

Aside from replacing lost teeth, dental implants can also act as a support for dentures, making the dentures more comfortable to use and more secure. The implants can also be used as a support for a dental bridge so you would not have to deal with partial, removable dentures. While they can support dentures and bridges, dental implants on their own can provide you with more natural-looking, and more comfortable usage – so you can go on your daily lives feeling like you have never lost a tooth at all.

Endosteal Implants: the most common type of dental implant used, which means “in the bone”. The vast majority of these are root form “screw” type implants. Various kinds of endosteal implants may include the placement of cylinders, screws, frames or blades directly into the jawbone, with each of the implants holding one or more prosthetic (or artificial) teeth. Endosteal implants are more commonly used for patients with removable dentures or bridges.

Subperiosteal Implants: meaning “on the bone”, these types of dental implants are used with the metal framework’s posts placed on top of the jawbone, with the posts running through the gums to hold the prosthetic teeth. Subperiosteal implants are more commonly used for patients who have limited jaw bone height, or those who cannot (for various reasons) wear ordinary dentures.

Am I a Suitable Candidate?
Before the dental implants are placed, your gums and jaws will have to be carefully assessed in detail to ensure that you are a good candidate for the procedure. You will definitely be required to have your teeth X-rayed, and in some instances you may also be asked for a computer tomography scan (CT scan); these procedures will help in determining the quality, quantity and suitability of your gums and bone. Implant anatomy will also have to be assessed to ascertain whether implants are possible. This includes blood and nerve vessels and sinus chambers. In addition, the tests will also give a clearer picture of the specific type of dental implant you will need, so your dental implant professional can give you the treatment that suits you best.

I Want Perfect Teeth!
Sorry no such thing! – define perfection. You have to understand that implants are a substitute for your natural teeth not a direct replacement and they cannot replicate them exactly. Your teeth are a precious natural commodity given to you once in your life and you can never have another set like them. It is fair to say that dental implants will more than anything else, most closely resemble natural teeth in the way they look, feel and work but there are limits to this. The limits are constraints that your mouth, anatomy, available bone, personal time and costs will place on your replacement teeth. Usually it is not possible to give you a set of artificial teeth to exactly match the natural teeth that you used to have. The longer ago the tooth loss occurred and the more teeth that were lost the truer this statement is.

Do Dental Implants Hurt?
Dental implant treatment can like all other forms of dentistry be done painlessly and without anxiety. However one should allow for some post-operative discomfort which can be satisfactorily controlled with simple medication and local measures. All necessary aftercare advice and instructions will be given to you before and after any procedures. It is usually necessary to allow some change to your daily routine to allow time off work and an opportunity to rest. Everybody varies in their response to surgery and your surgery and post-operative care will be tailored to your personal needs.