A remarkable amount of people suffer tooth loss during their lifetime, from injury, tooth decay or gum disease. For a number of years, the only treatment options to replace missing teeth were dentures and bridges. Implants are a modern alternative to these traditional choices. Inserted into the jaw, implants are surgically placed replacement tooth roots, which provide a strong foundation for a natural looking artificial teeth. Not only adopted for aesthetics, implants also closely mimic the natural function of teeth. For these reasons and more, implants are the restoration of choice for many individuals today.

Orthopedic surgeon Per-Ingvar Brnemark invented modern implants in 1952. Today, they can be used to replace a single tooth, a couple teeth, or a full set of teeth. Most dental implants are made from titanium. They are inserted into the jawbone and then left to fuse with the bone for six weeks or more. This anchors the implant securely to the jaw. Following the healing period, an artificial tooth or bridge can then be attached to the implant. The anchoring of the implant to the jaw in this way offers excellent individual stability.

The implants process starts with a comprehensive consultation, examination and x-rays. The quantity and quality of jawbone must be assessed for suitability. The implantation of the metal post is the following step of the process. Depending on the condition of remaining teeth, the first stage of the surgery can usually involve tooth or teeth extraction. A bone graft may also be needed to provide a solid base of bone for the implant. Following either ( or both ) of these procedures, healing time is necessary.

Once the jawbone is ready, the implants are placed with special tool. Another healing period is then required, though a temporary denture can usually be made during this waiting time. Follow-up appointments are essential to examine the surgical site for healing status and also for risk of infection. When joining of the jaw and implant has taken place alongside sufficient healing time, a component called an ‘abutment’ is attached to the implant using a screw. This holds the replacement tooth. Casts are then taken of the mouth to create the artificial teeth.

The rate of success for dental implants is close to 98%. There are numerous other benefits to dental implants such as improved appearance, speech, comfort and self confidence. Unlike any other options, dental implants both look and feel like natural teeth allowing patients to speak or eat without issues. What’s more, they are also a permanent solution. Implants are durable and with good care, will last a lifetime. The fusion between jaw and implants allows for a comfortable fit. Some patients considering implants are curious about how painful the procedure is.

Rest assured, the implantation is typically performed under local anaesthic and no discomfort should be felt during the procedure. Post-surgery pain will vary between patients, but mild soreness can be expected. This can usually be managed easily with over the counter pain medicine.

The other concerns for people considering implants are often the cost and / or eligibility. Patients need to have good oral health and sufficient bone to hold the implant. Every potential patient is individually evaluated for eligibility. In terms of cost, other teeth replacement options initially appear to be less expensive than implants. As mentioned previously however, implants are a long term solution with predictable results and a high success rate. Most dental care insurance policies do not cover the full implant procedure, but your dentist could be able to provide a payment plan to fit your needs.

Dental implants provide a trustworthy, comfortable and functional looking alternative for missing or damaged teeth. With proper care and maintenance, implants can provide an answer to last a lifetime. The procedure may not be quick, but millions of people have found the results to be worth waiting for. If you have missing or damaged teeth, consider dental implants for a better look and feel today.