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Do you need a Dental Implant?

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Do you need a Dental Implant?

Maggie Muthama

What is an implant?

Dental implants are artificial tooth roots that support crowns, bridges or dentures. Implants are made of titanium, a light but strong material. Implants are surgically placed into your jawbone as an anchor for the replacement of missing teeth. You can have a number of teeth replaced with an implant or implants, from one tooth to a complete set.

Is an implant the best tooth replacement option for me?

One of the main determining factors of whether an implant is the best tooth replacement option for you is the condition and health of the bone (soft and hard tissues) in your jaw. Other factors, such as chronic illnesses (i.e. diabetes) may affect your suitability for an implant.

Benefits of implants:

1.       Improved aesthetics, function and confidence: missing teeth can make you self-conscious of your smile and laughing out loud. Implants offer better cosmetic and functional end results. Replacing a missing tooth with an implant will restore your self-confidence, and bring back uninhibited laughter to your life.

2.       The procedure is minimally invasive: your dentist does not have to grind down the teeth on either side of the missing tooth. The adjacent teeth are left untouched during the procedure; however, if you opt for a bridge as a tooth replacement option your dentist will need to interfere with what are sometimes perfectly healthy teeth in order to support the bridge.        

3.       The procedure reduces the likelihood of further loss of valuable bone structure in your jaw;

4.       Long term implants are more reliable, predictable, cost effective and satisfactory option than other forms of tooth replacement. Long term studies demonstrate a high rate of success, and can last a lifetime when placed correctly by a dental professional and maintained with consistent home oral hygiene and dental hygiene appointments.

5.       Implants provide a stable foundation for your new teeth which and the comfort and security they provide you allow you to enjoy things such as your favourite food. Whilst some tooth replacement options such as dentures move about, especially during meals, implants are anchored to the bone in your jaw like natural teeth, and therefore are more firmly placed and do not prevent you from eating as you would if you had healthy, natural teeth.

Is the procedure of placing an implant painful?

Placing an implant is as easy as having a tooth removed. As with extractions and fillings dentists use local anesthetic when placing an implant. Patients do not feel pain during the procedures but may experience discomfort for up to a week after the implant has been placed. Mild painkillers can be prescribed to ease this discomfort.

How long will it take to heal?

Once an implant has been placed it can take a few months for the bone in your jaw to grow and fuse with the implant/s. In the time it takes for this to happen your dentist may place a healing cap and a temporary denture on the implant site to protect it. Once the bone grows around the implant, holding it securely in place, your dentist will place a crown over the implant. The shape, size and colour of the crown will be custom made to make sure that it blends in with your other teeth.

How long do implants last?

Implants, like natural teeth, will last as long as you care for them. Looking after your implants involves brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing your teeth at least once a day, and visiting your dentist as per his/her recommendation. Like natural teeth, failure to brush and floss will lead to the development of plaque not only around your implant but around the rest of your teeth, which can lead to gum disease.

What next?

Visit Smile Studio today for further consultation and advice if you think you may need an implant to replace a missing tooth/teeth.