Many dental patients are concerned when they hear the words dental implants. These restorative devices should not be so intimidating. Prosthodontists use them to support dental health and preserve people’s abilities to chew, talk and otherwise enjoy life.
What Are Dental Implants?
History tells us that people have been using dental implants for thousands of years. Ancient Egyptians and Mayans apparently used bone and wood to create false teeth. George Washington used wooden teeth.
Thankfully, science has advanced so that we do not have to depend on these materials any more. Dental implants are typically made from titanium today. They are surgically inserted in the jaw to take the place of teeth and their roots. Additionally, implants do much more than simply sit in place of dental structures. They support the surrounding teeth as well. Implanted into the jaw, they support various other dental prosthetic devices, such as crowns, bridges and dentures.
Dental Implant Procedure
Dental patients may notice that there is a lot of preparation before an implant procedure. The oral surgeon must identify the exact location, form and structure of the jaw and mouth. For example, depending on the future location of the implant, he may need to identify the proximity of the sinus cavity or the inferior alveolar nerve canal in the jaw. Aside from the usual dental X-rays, CT scans of the area may be required as well. It is important to know the exact shape of the jaw and amount of bone that can support the implants in order to avoid complications but also to prepare an implant that will fit exactly in place.
Once the planning has been finished, the oral surgeon can begin the actual procedure. It is necessary to make some sort of incision into the gums over the place where the implant will be inserted.
The implant is set in place without any other permanent adornment. It must be given time to let natural bone grow over it and set it in place firmly. Then, a prosthodontist can place crowns or other prostheses over the implant.
Recovery from Dental Implant
There is a great deal of debate over the proper amount of recovery time required to let the implant heal properly before placing a prosthesis on it. The general practice is to allow anywhere from two to four months for healing before adding the stress of a prosthesis, or four to six months if bone grafting is involved.
In very selected cases, a temporary prosthesis can be inserted on the same day of implant placement, possible if certain clinical criteria are meant.
Implants generally have a high success rate, although this is dependent on the type of procedure needed and the skill of the surgeon making the dental implant. So choosing the right dental surgeon to carry out the procedure is very important.