What are dental implants?

Dental Implants have changed the face of dentistry over the last 25 years. A dental implant is actually a replacement for the root or roots of a tooth. Like tooth roots, dental implants are secured in the jawbone and are not visible once surgically placed. They are used to secure crowns (the parts of teeth seen in the mouth), bridgework or dentures by a variety of means. They are made of titanium, which is lightweight, strong and biocompatible, which means that it is not rejected by the body. Titanium and titanium alloys are the most widely used metals in both dental and other bone implants, such as orthopaedic joint replacements. Dental implants have the highest success rate of any implanted surgical device.

Dental implant placement is done in 2 stages. In the first stage root part of implant is placed in the bone. This is absolute painless procedure which is done in 100% aseptic conditions and takes only 20 -30 mins. The second stage is placement of crown over the implant. The time between first stage and second stage is 3-4 months which is the time taken by bone to form around the implant. This is a total safe procedure and is equally successful in controlled diabetics and hypertensive patients.

Steps of placing an implant

The way implants are placed depends on your anatomy or bone structure, the type of implant, and the tooth being replaced. Some implants require 2 or 3 appointments and can take up to a year to complete. Other implants can have a temporary crown placed on the same day. You and your dentist can discuss which type is best for you.

Most implants involve 3 or 4 basic steps:

Placement of the implant
Your dentist surgically places the implant into your jawbone. There may be some swelling and/or tenderness after the surgery, so pain medication may be prescribed to ease the discomfort. Your dentist may recommend a diet of soft foods during the healing process.

The healing process
What makes an implant so strong is that the bone actually grows around it and holds it in place. This process is called osseointegration (OSS-eo-in-tee-GRAY-shun) and takes time. Some people might need to wait until the implant is completely integrated before a permanent replacement tooth can be attached to the implant. This can take several months. Other people can have the implant and a temporary replacement tooth placed all in one visit. The length of the healing process depends on location of the replacement tooth and the type of implant being used.

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