If you are interested in getting dental implants, you might want to know more details about the types and procedures as well as possible drawbacks.
Whether you’re missing one tooth or several, it can affect your whole life. The good news is, dental implants and other tooth replacement options are more varied and affordable than ever.
However, that also makes it more difficult to know which is best for your situation.
One of the more popular choices is dental implants. An implant is a post or frame made of titanium or another dental-grade metal that’s surgically implanted into your jawbone.
They’re capped by a crown, which can be made from porcelain, ceramic or one of those materials blended with metal, giving the recipient the next best thing to a natural tooth.
What Are Your Implant Options?
A good cosmetic practice will offer a range of implants from economy to premium. The difference is usually in the materials used to create the post and crown, not the quality of the end product or skill of the lab technician.
Traditionally, an implant was used to replace one or two teeth. Many offices now offer denture implants as well, which are used to secure dentures in place.
There are two types of dental implants:
1. Endosteal implants – these consist of a post or posts that are implanted into the jawbone where your root used to be. Installation usually requires two surgeries, one to place the base into the bone, and a second to attach the post to the base once the gum has healed and the swelling subsides. The final step is to place an artificial tooth, bridge or denture.
2. Subperiosteal implants – this type of implant is placed on top of the jawbone just below the gum line. As the incision heals, the frame fuses to the bone, allowing the post to be affixed to it after. The rest of the procedure is the same as for endosteal implants.
Due to advanced periodontal disease or other issues, some patients don’t have enough stable bone tissue to get implants.
If that’s the case, your dentist may perform one of three procedures to make implants possible:
- Bone grafting – sometimes called bone augmentation, this procedure restores enough bone tissue to provide a stable foundation for the post or frame. This is the preferred option.
- Ridge expansion – this is a grafting procedure that widens to the jawbone. It’s used when the area is too narrow to support an implant.
- Sinus lift – this procedure is used to add bone tissue to the area below the sinus cavity. It’s performed when the patient has an excessive bone loss due to missing teeth in the upper back part of your mouth.
What’s the Procedure Like?
First, you’ll have a consultation with your dentist to determine if you’re a candidate for implants. This will usually entail X-rays and a visual exam. Your dentist will explain your options for treatment and schedule an appointment to begin the first stages of the procedure.
Before you receive your implants, you may have to undergo tooth whitening to ensure a better match with your replacement teeth.
Installing the implant(s) usually involves two or three visits and a follow-up to ensure that the treatment area is healing properly. The first visit will be to place the base or frame, the second is to install the post and the third is to add the crown or denture.
There are several alternative procedures, including:
- Immediate load implants, which are also called same-day implants.
- Mini-dental implants (MDIs), which are slim posts used to stabilize lower dentures.
- All-on-four implants, which are used in conjunction with full-sets of replacement teeth on the top or bottom; these are called full-arch dentures.
The wait time between steps depends on whether you need a bone graft or other augmentation and on the type of implants you’ll receive. Newer technologies like 3D imaging and surgical planning improve accuracy, experts at Union Square Dental Practice say. They can also reduce cost and recovery time considerably.
What Are the Benefits of Dental Implants?
Implants can change your life. You’ll have more confidence, they’re permanent and you’ll be able to eat your favorite foods again without a problem. But, the differences go beyond the quality of life. Having an implant also prevents bone loss, preserves tooth alignment and provides stability for the surrounding natural teeth.
Are There Any Drawbacks to Getting Dental Implants?
The disadvantages are few, and mainly involve the same type of risks you would incur with any surgical procedure. Materials used in implant surgery are dental-grade, so the risk of rejection is low. If you don’t follow your oral surgeons instructions, you run the risk of infection. Implants can also be expensive, so lack of insurance coverage can become a factor.
Any kind of surgical procedure is a big step. Since implants are considered a permanent solution, it helps to have all the facts beforehand. Your cosmetic dentist can provide you with more detailed information as it relates to your own situation.