Dental Implants

Dental Implants

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Question
What is a dental implant?

Answer
A dental implant can be thought of as a prosthetic tooth root that is surgically placed into the jawbone. This is then used to support an artificial tooth (crown) or teeth (bridge or denture).

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Dental implant is fabricated from a very strong, biocompatible material placed in a simple procedure that, generally, is as convenient as a tooth extraction. After an initial healing period, during which the implant is buried in bone and left undisturbed under gum tissue, it is uncovered and connected to a small metal post that secures and supports the artificial tooth.

The implant material is extremely biocompatible. The bone grows onto the implant and bonds to it.

Question
How long does it take?

Answer
It depends on the type of bone, and where the implant is placed into your jaw. It can range from a few months to over 9 months. Generally, implants in the front lower jaw need  round 4 months; the back upper jaw needs around 9 months and elsewhere in the mouth  round 6 months. These times may need to be lengthened if bone needs to be grown or grafting has taken place.

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Question
Is everyone suitable?

Answer
Some people may not be suitable for this procedure. Conditions such as heavy smoking,
periodontal disease and uncontrolled diabetes can cause problems. Your dentist will also need to check to see how much bone you have and whether there is enough space for an implant. The adjacent teeth roots will also need to be away from the implant. If you don’t have enough bone, it is possible to grow bone or even graft bone from elsewhere in the mouth.

Question
What are the advantages of the implant treatment?

Answer
The adjacent teeth are not damaged or cut in any way as compared to a bridge which involves reduction of the adjacent teeth. It also helps to prevent bone loss. Implants are also used to stabilise loose dentures or even replace them with fixed bridges.

Question
What is the procedure for implant treatment?

Answer
The gum is lifted and folded back and the bone is prepared to receive the implant. You may have this done in the chair with local anaesthetic. The implant is generally covered over and left to heal until the implant has integrated into the jawbone. Your dentist may also leave the implant uncovered by the gum at this first stage. A second operation may then be needed to uncover the top of the implant. Your dentist can usually start construction of your crown or a bridge after a month.

Question
How long will an implant last?

Answer
This is impossible to predict, especially when done to repair a missing tooth that has diminished gum tissue. Though research has demonstrated a long life once the implants have been integrated with bone, each patient is different, and longevity may be
affected by overall health, nutrition, oral hygiene and tobacco usage. Individual anatomy, the design and construction of the prosthesis and oral habits may also have an influence.

Question
What is the cost of an implant?

Answer
In general, costs are closely comparable to those of other prostheses involving fixed
bridgework. The uniqueness of repairing a missing tooth (or teeth) depends on each patient’s restorative needs, which means this should be discussed with your dentist.

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