Perhaps you’re missing a tooth? Maybe your teeth have suffered severe decay? In any case, you’re thinking about getting dental implants.
The only problem is: you don’t really know anything about dental implants. Why might you need them? When and when not would they be beneficial?
In this guide, we’re going to get into the specifics of teeth replacement, covering everything from viable reasons to get dental implants to potential problems associated with dental implants to the dental implant procedure itself. Let’s begin!
Reasons to Get Teeth Replacement
To put it simply, dental implants are a viable option when your authentic teeth are not. Some of the primary reasons to get dental implants are as follows.
You’re Missing Teeth
Are you missing teeth? If so, dental implants will benefit you both functionally and aesthetically. Not only will they help return your smile to its prime state, but they will also help you to chew and speak.
You’re Losing Bone from Your Jaw Due to Tooth Damage
If the teeth and gums aren’t properly cared for, they will begin to decay. After some time, this decay will spread from the teeth and the gums down into the jawbone. From there, the jawbone will start to deteriorate, essentially vanishing over time.
There are a number of ways to counteract this problem, but if a decayed tooth is the reason for its existence, a dental implant is usually the best option. By extracting the decayed tooth and replacing it with a synthetic one, you stop the spread of decay and cease the deterioration of your jawbone.
Your Teeth Are Crowding into One Area
One of the big problems with missing teeth is that they create a blank space into which surrounding teeth can move. Without the support of the non-existent tooth, the other teeth have trouble staying aligned.
How can you prevent your teeth from crowding into the area where a tooth once existed? By replacing it with a dental implant, of course. An implant will provide your teeth with the structure that they require, ensuring that they stay as straight and as even as possible.
You Don’t Want to Wear Dentures
Are you on the cusp of having to get dentures? If so, there might be another option available to you. You might be able to get dental implants instead.
As long as you still have bone left in your jaw, and as long as your gums are still strong, you can receive dental implants. And once your dental implants have been inserted, you can leave them in for the rest of your life. The same can’t be said of dentures.
The Dental Implant Process
Curious as to what the dental implant process entails? We’re going to get into the specifics of it below.
Removing the Damaged Tooth/Teeth
The dental implant process begins with the extraction of the damaged tooth or teeth. This requires an intensive procedure, one during which the mouth will be numbed to reduce pain.
Note, of course, that if you’re having a dental implant inserted in the place of a missing tooth, this step of the process won’t be necessary. After all, you can’t remove something that doesn’t exist.
Grafting the Jawbone
Next, if necessary, the jawbone will be grafted. Note, this is only required if your jawbone has experienced severe deterioration. It is done so that the jawbone is strong and prominent enough to support an implant.
Unfortunately, jawbone grafting takes time, sometimes up to several months. This is particularly true if your graft is taken from somewhere else in your body. However, it should be noted that synthetic grafting is possible, and will take much less time to complete.
In any case, your dentist will help you in establishing a grafting plan, one which suits your particular situation.
Placing the Metal Post
Now that your tooth has been extracted and your jawbone has been grafted, you can begin the implantation process. The first part of this process involves the implanting of a metal post into your gums.
During this process, your dentist will make an incision in your gums so that the bone beneath is exposed. Once the bone is exposed, your dentist will drill a hole into it, providing a place for the metal post to be planted.
After the hole has a been drilled, your dentist will plant the metal post, placing it deep down into your jawbone. There, it will remain until your next appointment. To keep it hidden, it will be covered with a synthetic denture-like material.
Allowing the Affected Area to Heal
After the metal post has been implanted in your jawbone, you must wait for your jawbone to heal and grow. This can take several months, as the jawbone needs to provide a firm, unmovable base for the implant.
Placing the Abutment
Once your jawbone has healed, you will have an abutment inserted into the affected area. Your dentist will cut open your gums, place the abutment on your implant, and then use your gums to cover the sides of the abutment.
After this has been completed, you will have to wait a period of 1 to 3 weeks for the gums to heal. Only then can your artificial tooth be attached.
Placing the Artifical Tooth
You’ve got your abutment. Your gums have healed. All that’s left to do now is to have your artificial tooth placed.
The first part of this process is to take tooth impressions. These impressions will provide you with an accurately-shaped tooth, ensuring that your implant fits perfectly in your mouth.
Then, you will consult with your dentist to decide on whether you’d like a permanent or temporary implant. Temporary implants are removable. Permanent implants are not.
Potential Problems With Dental Implants
While the insertion of dental implants is typically a successful procedure, it’s not without its risks. Some problems you could encounter as a result of dental implants include the following.
One of the most troubling risks of getting dental implants is the risk of infection. If the gums are unable to heal properly, they could come under the attack of bacteria, resulting in a condition known as peri-implantitis.
Unfortunately, when this condition presents itself, it wreaks havoc on the jawbone, often resulting in softening and/or bone loss. In essence, it creates or exacerbates the problem that tooth implantation is meant to deter.
Note, however, that infection is fairly rare. The vast majority of patients make it through the implantation process unscathed.
Damage to Surrounding Teeth or Gum
Another potential risk of tooth implants is damage to the surrounding teeth and gums. This could happen as a result of the cutting and splicing that occur during the implantation and abutment processes. While it’s highly unlikely to happen, it is something that you have to be prepared for.
If you’re having teeth implanted on the top of your mouth, there’s a chance that your procedure could cause sinus issues. This is because the implants could be inserted too far into the gums, causing them to interfere with cavities in the sinuses.
Again, however, the chance of this happening is rather low. As long as you have your implantation performed by an experienced dentist, it’s not something you should have to worry about.
Recovering from a Dental Implant Procedure
As you might expect, the insertion of dental implants can result in a bit of discomfort. Because of this, some individuals have a difficult time with recovery. However, if you plan carefully, you can get through the recovery process with general ease.
First and foremost, have pain relief medications on hand. Ibuprofen and Tylenol can both help to quell any discomfort you might be feeling.
In addition, be sure to avoid hard foods in the days directly following the procedure. Stick to liquids or soft foods such as soup, pudding, and similar such items.
You’ll also want to make sure that you’re keeping up on your dental hygiene. Brush your teeth and your implants with a soft-bristle brush at least two times a day.
Generally, the discomfort will start to subside within 72 hours. If your discomfort persists for a week or longer, you should contact your dentist.
In Need of a Dental Implant in South East London?
Think you might need teeth replacement? Looking for a dentist in South East London? The dental professionals with Green Lane Dental Centre are the people to see.
We do everything we can to provide dental care to as many patients as possible. Whether you have your own dental insurance or receive care through the NHS, we can help you.
Contact us today to discuss your procedure!