Implants are artificial screws (usually titanium) placed into the bone to support a prosthetic tooth crown. They are designed to mimic both the appearance and function of real teeth. Sometimes an implant can support numerous teeth, or even help retain a denture. You should always discuss the procedure with your dentist. Implants are not the only option for replacing teeth, and you should carefully consider your options before making a decision.
Dental Implant Procedure
Generally speaking the three main stages are:
1) Implant surgery and insertion
- The implant is screwed into position. Often a specialist performs the surgery.
- A “healing abutment” may then be placed to help dictate how the gum heals around the implant site.
- The implant may be left for up to 6 months to ensure it has “osseointegrated” with the bone.
2) Abutment attachment
- The abutment is the portion which connects the tooth-like crown to the implant. The abutment is attached (usually screwed) onto the implant.
3) Crown attachment
- Once the dentist is satisfied that the implant is strong enough to cope during normal chewing and speaking function, they will attach the crown.
- The crown is then attached to the implant.
- In cases where an over-denture is to be placed, the dentist will check the occlusal forces and attach the denture. Insertion, removal and cleaning instructions will be explained.
Implants don’t fail, right?
Whilst dental implants will not “decay,” the bone and gums supporting them can deteriorate, leading to their failure. This is called peri-implantitis. Infection can also lead to loss of supporting bone. Smoking should be avoided and diabetes should be kept under control. Good oral hygiene is essential. Implant fracture or breakage is extremely rare. Should you have any further questions, please contact your friendly Northbridge Dentists team.
Do implants hurt?
At the time of placement, there should be no discomfort with good anaesthetic. After the anaesthetic wears off, swelling, bruising and pain are all normal side effects and should resolve over the next few days. Ice packs and pain killers will help resolve this.