Dental implant procedure is part of a dental operation to replace a missing tooth. Unlike dentures, which are false teeth that you can easily remove, dental implants are placed in the jawbone in a series of minor operations.
Dental implant is a piece of titanium or other materials that looks like a screw. It is put into the jaw where the missing tooth’s roots were. Over time, bone grows around the implant, which helps to hold it in place.
An artificial tooth, or crown, is then attached to the metal to fill in the gap left by the missing tooth. The crown is specially made to look like the other teeth in size, shape and colour.
Dental implants can also be used to hold a dental bridge or dentures in place.
When might a dental implant be needed?
If you have one or more missing teeth, a dental implant might be a suitable option if you:
Your dentist will discuss with you whether a dental implant procedure is suitable for you.
Stages of the dental implant procedure
A dental implant is usually done in stages over a few months, with a series of minor operations and tests.
It’s a slow process, with quite a few visits to the dentist and possibly some trips to have scans or x-rays..
What to expect after a dental implant?
After any of the minor operations, you might have bruising, pain and swelling of the gums and face. You may also have some bleeding from the gums.
You might need to eat soft foods after each surgery to let the dental implant site heal.
No special care required for a dental implant. You will probably be advised to keep your natural and artificial teeth clean by brushing and flossing, and have regular dental check-ups.
Benefits and risks of a dental implant
Dental implants are usually successful. Problems are rare but include:
Alternatives to a dental implants
The alternatives to dental implants are wearing dentures or having a dental bridge. The advantages of dental implants are:
they look and feel like your own teeth and they don’t sacrifice the quality of other teeth.
What are the costs of dental implants?
A dental implant is expensive — it can cost thousands of dollars. Make sure you know all the costs before you start. If you have private health insurance, ask the insurance company how much you will get back.
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