What Are Dental Implants?

Dental implant Vector DiagramDental implants consist of two elements. The first is a titanium fixture, resembling a screw, which is inserted into the jawbone. The second element is a crown that is fixed to the screw. The screw acts as the anchor that holds the tooth in place, in exactly the same way that the root of a natural tooth works.

Dental implants are used to replace badly damaged or decayed teeth that cannot be saved in any other way; they are also used to replace teeth that have been knocked out through trauma, or that have been missing for some time.

Advantages of Dental Implants

  • Dental implants last a lot longer than bridges or dentures and they also work to prevent bone loss from occurring as a result of missing teeth.
  • They are far easier to live with than bridges or dentures, as they are fixed, meaning they don’t have to be removed at every meal and cleaned in any special way. They also allow you to continue enjoying all your favourite foods, while other methods of tooth replacement force you to stay away from hard or chewy foods. It is for this reason that lots of people choose a dental implant treatment after having bridges or dentures for a number of years.
  • Dentures can cause damage to surrounding teeth due to the protruding metal fixtures rubbing on them. There are no protrusions with dental implants, meaning this wear and tear doesn’t happen.
  • Once the crown has been placed on top of the implant there will be no evidence that you have undergone a dental procedure. The crown will match the rest of your teeth almost perfectly.
  • They are suitable for all ages of people, whether it’s a young adult that’s had his tooth knocked out playing football, or an elderly lady that wants her front tooth back.

Are Dental Implants Suitable For Me?

Dental implants are a fantastic option for anyone that is missing a tooth or is about to lose a tooth. However, there are a few eligibility requirements for dental implants. You must have dense enough bone tissue for the implant to be able to take root and you can’t be suffering from periodontal disease, which is an advanced case of gum disease. If you aren’t eligible for dental implant due to any of these reasons, there are always other alternatives. Dr Olstein will be able to discuss these options will you, and determine the best course of treatment.

What Are Dental Implants Made Of?

The metal fixture, or screw, is typically made of titanium. Titanium is the preferred choice of material because it is biocompatible with the body so it doesn’t evoke an immune response and is unaffected by the various acids that are present in our mouths and in the food we eat. It is lightweight and it is non-magnetic, meaning you can safely pass through metal detectors and get scans in MRI machines. A crown is typically made of porcelain or a porcelain metal combination.

What Types of Dental Implants Are There?

There are a few different types of dental implants and your specific needs will inform which type of implant is selected. The types are:

  • All on 4 This type of implant is used where an entire set, or a large number of teeth need to be replaced. This type of implant only requires four screws for a whole set of teeth, allowing for simpler cleaning and better results than other methods that use individual screws for each tooth.
  • Endosseous Implants: These are preferred for single implants and involve inserting the screw into the jawbone and allowing it to fuse with the bone tissue. This method requires a healthy amount of bone tissue to ensure successful treatment.
  • Mini Implants: A mini implant is exactly what it sounds like; it’s a smaller version of a typical endosseous implant. These are often used for smaller teeth, such as lower incisors, or in narrow areas of the mouth.

Dental Implant Procedure

A dental implant procedure will typically run over three appointments:

  • First appointment: This appointment will consist of a diagnosis, a check to see that you are eligible for a dental implant and a mapping out of the plan for the insertion of the implant.
  • Second appointment: Local anaesthetic will be applied before the surgeon inserts the implant, according to the procedure decided on in the initial appointment. The surgeon will ensure there is enough time for the implant to fuse with your jawbone before a third appointment is scheduled. In between appointments you can go about your normal activities but you must ensure that you keep up a health, oral hygiene routine.
  • Third appointment: Once Dr Olstein is happy with the progress of your implant, a crown will be fixed.

If you’re suffering from missing teeth, then make an appointment with Dr Olstein today. With more than 30 years experience, he is well versed in all aspects of implants and crowns. He also specialises in sleep dentistry techniques, so if you’d prefer not to be awake for your procedure, Dr Olstein is here to help.