Dental implants consist of a titanium rod which is surgically inserted into the jawbone at the site of the tooth being replaces; a metal extension attached to the titanium rod once the rod has fused with the jawbone, and the prosthetic ceramic tooth which is attached to the metal extension after a cast is made of the patient’ teeth so that the prosthesis can be molded to fit perfectly.
Titanium, because it is an inert metal, is the metal of choice for a dental implant. Titanium, unlike the steel used in early implants with disastrous results, does not trigger the body’s rejection response, and will fuse into the jawbone with no negative side effects. A titanium based dental implant, in fact, will actually strengthen the jawbone because the stress of biting and chewing with the implant will increase the bone’s density.
Who Should Not Consider A Dental Implant?
If you are capable of getting through a tooth extraction without complications, you can probably handle a dental implant. If, on the other hand, you have any chronic medical conditions like cardiovascular disease or diabetes; are a smoker; have gum disease; or have undergone radiation therapy on your neck or head, you will need to be evaluated more closely to determine if a dental implant is a good idea.
The success rates of dental implants depend on the location of the teeth they are replacing, with a dental implant which replaces at lower front tooth having a higher chance of succeeding than a dental implant replacing an upper rear tooth. Lower front dental implants will succeed in 19 of every 20 cases, while upper rear dental implants succeed in 17 of 20 cases.
The Dental Implant Procedure
The dental implant procedure will normally occur in three phases over nine months to a year. In the first phase the dental surgeon will make an incision in the gum where the tooth is to be replace, drill a hole in the jawbone, and insert the titanium rod for the dental implant. The patient will then heal for three to six months, while the jawbone and implant rod fuse.
The second phase of the Dental implant process will be when the dental surgeon attaches the extension to the titanium rod below the gumline, and takes a cast of the patient’s mouth from which a mold can be made for the ceramic prosthetic tooth.
Dental implants are an ideal solution for those who no longer want to struggle to maintain deteriorating teeth, or who are tired of the discomfort of trying to chew with poorly fitting bridges and dentures. Even at a cost of $1000 to $2500, a dental implant can be a good investment over time as it eliminates the need to maintain and replace dentures.