Dental implants are useful when patients have lost a tooth, or if they are missing sections of the jaw. If a dentist determines that there is a sufficient amount of healthy bone in the jaw that can support a dental implant, he/she will likely recommend one. Likewise, the patient must also possess healthy gums. Healthy bone and gum tissue are incredibly important because the longevity of the dental implant depends on them.
Those who are living with dental implants must, at all times, ensure that they stay clean. Furthermore, regular dental checkups are necessary to monitor the health of the implant.
What Are the Most Popular Types of Dental Implants?
If you’re considering a dental implant, or if you’ve already been told that you need one, it’s a good idea to become acquainted with the most popular types. Generally, there are three different ones that your dentist will choose from. His/her choice will depend heavily on your personal condition and needs. The three most popular implant options are:
- Endosseous implants- An endosseous implant often takes a cylindrical shape, and in some cases, it can be compared to the shape of a screw. It is generally made from ceramic material, metal encased in ceramic material, or solid metal. These dental implants are set inside of the jaw. In certain cases, this implant might also mimic the shape of a blade.
- Subperiosteal implants- A subperiosteal implant takes on the shape of metal framework. It is affixed atop the jawbone. It also resides beneath the tissues in the gums.
- Transosteal implants- This implant is designed to penetrate both the gums and jawbone. It often either comes as a frame in the shape of a “U,” or as a metal pin.
Your dentist will be able to determine the right size, design, and type of dental implant for your specific needs. When this decision is made, he/she takes into account where the implant is needed, the type and availability of the bone involved, and the tooth/teeth that will use the implant.
Ideally, you are probably also looking for a dental implant low-cost option that won’t break the bank. Certain areas of the world, such as Poland, Spain, and Thailand can perform these treatments for significantly less than centers in the U.S. Also, you can look into financing options if they are offered by the center from which you’re receiving treatments.
Your First Steps – Diagnosis
In order to determine whether or not you need dental implants, your dentist will need to thoroughly study the inside your mouth. X-rays will likely be needed, and he/she might also want to conduct testing on other aspects of your body to determine your overall status of health.
Your dentist will likely also want molds of your jaw and teeth. Using the molds, he/she can estimate the type of treatment that will be needed, as well as intelligently plan a guide for surgical purposes.
The Day of Surgery
Dental implant surgery generally occurs in a single stage or two stages. This will depend on your particular condition and implant choice.
During this procedure, the implant is set into the jawbone. For the next 90-180 days or more, the implant will stay there and undergo the healing process. In some cases, the implant is not buried in the jaw, and stage two is not necessary. The healing process for exposed implants is more quick as well. Your dentist will give you specific instructions for caring for your implant during the healing process and afterwards.
If you are to return for a second session of treatment, this is known as “stage two.” This stage usually occurs roughly 90-180 days after stage one, if necessary. The dentist opens the gums to expose the implant underneath. From there, abutments are attached so that your new teeth can be set in place. The dentist re-secures the area with stitches, protective caps, and surgical packing to ensure the area is as healthy and pain-free as possible.
After treatment has completed, your dentist will want to make another mold of the space around your implant to determine a plan of action for creating your replacement teeth (or your bridge). Once an assembly is created consisting of a framework and teeth, it is tested in your mouth in order to determine its look and feel. When you and your dentist are satisfied, the bridge is considered completed. The bridge (or even the single tooth replacement) is then attached to the abutments using screws or dental cement. In some cases when a fixed bridge is not an option, the dentist will design a removable overdenture.
Caring for Your Implant
In the following year after your treatment has completed, your dentist will want to frequently check to see that it is working and functioning properly. In just the first year, you can expect appointments at relatively frequent intervals. Not only will your dentist examine the dental implant area during your appointment, but he/she will likely also take dental x-rays to get a closer look at its state and ensure that any diseases or complications aren’t present. Once a year has passed after the initial treatment, your dentist will likely only want to meet with you once per year.
How Long Do the Popular Implants Tend to Last?
Over the past several years, great strides have been made in the world of dentistry. At this point, it’s safe to assume that any of the top three dental implants will likely last for the rest of your life. Keep in mind that this is stated under the assumption that proper care is exercised and that you meet with your dentist at his/her discretion. For example, you should attend all checkups scheduled by your dentist, and continue to do so in the time following long after your procedure.
Remember that restorative treatment is not perfect. Such as with all artificial treatments, there is a chance the teeth or implant might experience complications from normal wear and tear and require repair or replacement. Notify your dentist as soon as you notice anything abnormal about your implant.
Should you ever run into problems with your dental implant or feel as though something isn’t quite right, it’s always a good idea to let your dentist know as soon as possible. This way, treatment can be administered in a timely fashion and the problem can be corrected before any adverse effects take place.