Single Tooth Dental Implants
What is a dental implant?
A dental implant involves replacing a missing tooth with an artificial tooth root and crown. The implant involves a small titanium post that is surgically placed into the jawbone to serve as the tooth’s root.
The implant will integrate and fuse with the surrounding bone and this provides stable and durable support for a custom-made crown to be placed atop the implant. The crown is cemented or screwed into place. The crown is designed to match the shape, size, and colour of your natural teeth, so that it looks and functions just like a real tooth.
What does an implant procedure involve?
The general timeline of the process is laid out below, but it can vary between situations. Your dentist will be best placed to discuss what to expect as part of the process in your specific circumstance.
1. Consultation: A consultation and assessment will take place to assess your overall oral health and the condition of the jaw bone. This can be done with standard clinical tests and dental radiographs. If suitable, an arrangement will be made for the placement of the implant. In the case where a dental implant may not be suitable, your dentists will be able to advise you of alternative options available to replace a gap where a tooth has been lost.
2. Preparation: In certain situations, some preparation might be necessary before an implant can be successfully placed. This might involve other procedures such as bone grafting or a sinus lift. Your dentist should thoroughly discuss this during your initial consultation so that you know what to expect.
3. Implant placement: On the day of implant placement, a small incision will be made in the gum where the implant is to be placed. The implant will be inserted into your jawbone and the gums will be closed back with stitches. After this procedure, the implant will remain covered by gums as it integrates and fuses with the surrounding bone. This is not an immediate process and usually requires a few months.
4. Abutment placement: Once the implant has integrated into the surrounding bone, the gum is opened up again, and an abutment (a connector between the crown and implant) is placed.
5. Crown placement: The final crown will be placed on the abutment
6. Review: Following this piece of extensive dental work, regular follow-ups are important to ensure the implant is functioning properly and stays well maintained.
Is a dental implant suitable for me?
There are a few factors that should be thought about when considering if a dental implant can be a successful treatment option in your situation. Your dentist will be able to have an extensive discussion with you, but a few things to think about are as follows:
1. Stable oral health: The patient should have a stable overall oral health, including healthy gums and adequate bone density in the jawbone to support the implant. This can be assisted via regular visit to the dentist.
2. Age: While there is no specific age limit for dental implants, the young ones under 21 years old may not be good candidates if their jaws are still growing, or if they have not yet reached full bone maturity.
3. Medical conditions: Some medical conditions such as uncontrolled diabetes, cancer, or immune disorders may affect the ability to heal properly after implant surgery. Our dentists will be able to advise you on this.
4. Smoking: Smoking can inhibit healing after surgery, hence it is advisable to reduce or stop smoking for a short period before and after the implant surgery.
What are the benefits of a dental implant:
1. It is fixed and does not require removal from the mouth everyday unlike dentures.
2. Improved smile and appearance: Dental implants look and feel like natural teeth, which can improve a person’s smile and confidence.
3. Improved speech: Dental implants can help improve speech by restoring missing teeth and allow for proper pronunciation of words.
4. Improved chewing ability: Dental implants function like natural teeth and allow for proper chewing, which can improve digestion and overall health.
5. Durability: Dental implants are a long-term solution for tooth replacement and can last for many years with proper care.
6. Improved oral health: Dental implants can help prevent further bone loss in the jaw and improve overall oral health by restoring missing teeth.