Dental Implants: A Comprehensive Guide to Getting and Caring for Them
Dental implants are one of the options provided by dentists for people who are unhappy with their smile and looking for a lasting solution that would give them the smile they’ve always wanted.
Dental implants are artificial roots that are planted into the jaw to hold a replacement tooth or other restorations. People who have lost a tooth as a result of aging, an accident or poor oral hygiene can choose to get dental implants.
If you are thinking of getting dental implants, here is a comprehensive guide to help you before, during and after the process.
Types of dental implants
There are different kinds of dental implants classifications. The most common categorisations are:
- Osseo-integrated implant, and the
- Fibro-integrated implant.
Osseo-integrated is more popular, as it is a structural and functional connection between the implant and the living bone. The procedure involves the use of titanium alloy fixtures that are put in to replace the actual root of the tooth after it is extracted. The titanium alloy fixtures eventually grow into the bone and are said to be ‘osseo-integrated,’ which is how the procedure gets its name.
The dentist carrying out the procedure should be the one to help you make the choice between both procedures, and give you professional advice about the best dental implant that will work with your bone, bite and health.
An osseo-integrated implant is generally preferred, but it depends on if the implant can be supported by your bone. There are many different shapes, types, surface textures, coatings, lengths and widths of osseo-integrated implants, and all these technical decisions are best made by the dentist.
How to decide if dental implants are right for you
The best way to decide if you are a good candidate for the procedure is to see a dental implants expert. According to Cecelia Luong at AdvancedDentalConcept, “Getting dental implants nowadays is a fairly straightforward procedure, and it starts with letting the patient know all there is to know so that they can make the best decision for their oral health.”
Whether you are looking to replace one tooth, multiple teeth or all of your teeth, as long as you are able to undergo the surgery to place the implants, you are eligible for dental implants. If you practice good hygiene and have a jawbone that is strong enough to hold an implant, then dental implants may be a good option for you.
However, smokers and people who have had diabetes, heart disease or radiation therapy in the head or neck my not be qualified. A series of tests will have to be performed by the dentist to determine if you are able to successfully undergo a dental implant procedure.
What are the chances of success with dental implants?
Even though a dental implant procedure is an outpatient surgery, it requires local and in certain cases, general anaesthesia, depending on the number of implants needed by the patient and if other procedures like bone grafting or sinus lifting are required. Since the bone needs to grow and infuse with the implant, the procedure can be spread out over a few months. In some other cases however, dental implants can be completed in a one hour sitting.
How successful the operation is depends mostly on the skill level of the doctors, but the patient’s oral hygiene and bone availability at the site are also major deciding factors. Generally, these procedures have a success rate of about 95%. If after the procedure, the implant is lost, moves from its position or causes more bone loss than anticipated in the first two years, the implant can be said to be a failure. Reasons for this could include poor placement, infection of dental implant or in very rare cases, wear and tear over time.
How to care for dental implants
To ensure health of implants, good oral hygiene must be followed before, during and after the placements of dental implants. Your hygienist can help you address your concerns and guide you to establish an individualised home-care routine. Ensure to ask your dentist important questions relating to the proper care of your dental implants such as:
- What kind of maintenance will my implants require?
- Can I brush and floss my implants like regular teeth?
- Can food get underneath the fixed implant bridge or prosthesis?
How well you look after your dental implant will determine the success and durability of the results you get from procedure. Implants can be cared for much like you would your regular teeth, and they require the same high oral hygiene involving brushing, flossing and regular visits to the dentist.
In addition, it is essential to adhere to the specific instructions provided for you regarding your implant surgery to avoid the possibility of failure. Also, avoid exposure to items that can lead to damage such as hard candies, and tooth staining products like caffeine and tobacco.