Maintaining a clean, healthy smile and mouth might take more than just preventative treatments. Regular professional cleanings and examinations can help a patient avoid tooth decay and gum disease, but what happens when it is too late for preventive treatment?
When tooth decay or even an injury to the mouth has caused your teeth to become damaged or fall out, your dentist will make use of restorative treatments to restore or replace them. This refers to using dental prosthetics such as crowns, fillings, dental implants, veneers, etc, to remedy or replace a damaged or lost tooth.
These treatments are designed to help improve how your teeth look whilst also restoring natural function.
How dental implants replace missing teeth
Dental implants are artificial replacements for tooth roots. They are surgically fitted to your jaw and act as a holder for the replacement teeth or bridge.
This is a popular option for fitting replacement teeth. Because the teeth will not need to rely on the surrounding teeth for support (as with traditional bridges) and are more permanent and stable.
Since the dental implant is fitted onto your jawbone and beneath your gum line, it is not visible.
Each implant is made from certain metals (usually titanium) and ceramic material, similar to your bone’s natural construction, making it feel and function just like your natural teeth.
How do dental implants work?
Dental implant treatment comprises of 3 different parts:
- The Implant
This is the artificial root attached to the jawbone. It is made from biocompatible material so as to have a higher chance of successfully bonding with the tooth.
- The Abutment
It is attached to the implant with a screw and is used to connect the implant to the crown (the restoration). This part is usually made of titanium, gold, or porcelain.
- The Restoration
This can be an artificial tooth made from porcelain or a metal alloy. It resembles a natural tooth since it is visible and is bonded or screwed to the abutment. The restoration can also be a bridge (two or more artificial teeth) or a denture.
The dental implant treatment process
The entire process of dental implant treatment can take several months. First, the implant must be surgically placed in the jaw. Then, once this is healed (which can take months) the abutment and restoration are added.
There are 2 methods for placing a dental implant:
- Two-stage procedure
This procedure involves two surgeries to complete. In the first procedure, the dental implant is attached to the jawbone (below the gum tissue so it isn’t visible) and the gum tissue is re-stitched.
Once the surrounding gum tissue has healed, the second procedure is conducted. During this surgery, a metal post (the abutment) is connected to the implant, which was attached during the first surgery. An artificial tooth (the crown) is attached to the post creating your long-term artificial teeth.
- Single-stage procedure
As the name suggests, this procedure involves one surgery and is only performed when the patient has insufficient bone height (which is required for the two-stage procedure).
A long metal implant is surgically fitted onto the jawbone below the gum tissue (only the implant’s head remains visible).
The gum is stitched up and the patient is sent home for recovery. Once healed, the artificial tooth can fit onto the implant head without the need for further surgery. Subperiosteal implants are used for this procedure.
The benefits of dental implants
Dental implants are slightly more expensive than regular bridges and dentures, but they are worth it in the long run. Six of benefits of dental implants include:
- More stability
Dental implants provide more stability because they are fitted into the jawbone. Which means they provide support for artificial teeth. This helps to prevent restorations (mounted dental bridges and dentures) from moving around.
- More natural
Thanks to their permanence and stability, dental implants can feel natural. Most patients don’t notice any difference between their dental implant and a healthy tooth root.
- Improves function
The artificial teeth improve function because they are securely fitted and feel natural. This makes daily activities such as eating and speaking easier.
- Better oral health
Regular bridges use the surrounding teeth as an anchor, which may require altering your natural teeth (like shaving it down to accommodate crowns).
Dental implants don’t require surrounding teeth to be altered, so you can keep more of your natural teeth intact.
Dental implants won’t slip out of your mouth (as may accidentally happen with dentures) saving you the embarrassment. They also do not require any unpleasant adhesives to keep them in place.
If properly cared for, dental implants can last you a lifetime since they are attached directly to your jawbone. Dental implants may fall out as a result of injury, trauma, or gum disease.
Dental Implants with Wahroonga Family Dental Centre
Replacing missing teeth is important in maintaining your oral, dental, and overall health. And dental implants are a great method for doing this for two reasons.
Firstly, they are a more permanent solution. Secondly, they look, feel, and function just like your natural teeth.
Wahroonga Family Dental Centre, in Wahroonga, can help you get your best smile yet with dental implants. These implants will make you want to keep flashing your bright and healthy smile!
Want to know more about dental implants and other restorative treatments from Wahroonga Family Dental Centre in Wahroonga? Contact us to book an appointment today!