You may at one time or another have heard mention of the term “dental implants”, and you might have also heard that implants have something to do with replacing missing teeth. But did you ever wonder what implants in clinical dentistry means – what implants are and how they work? Well, you are probably not alone; some modern concepts in dentistry can be complicated and difficult to understand. Here are straight answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about dental implants.
What are Dental Implants?
A dental implant is a small cylindrical metallic post usually made from titanium. The implants are surgically attached directly to the jaw in the position of a mission tooth to form a solid anchor on which to fix a permanent artificial crown. Dental implants can also be used as anchor points for other dental features such as dentures and bridges, but they are mainly used for crowns. Implants have internal screw threads that mesh with the incoming crown.
How Are Dental Implants Placed?
Dental implants are usually placed in stages depending on the position of the missing tooth, the patient’s gum health, and the purpose of the implant. First, the implant is fixed onto the jaw through a 30-60 minutes surgical procedure. After that, the jaw and gum tissues are allowed to grow around the implant for between 3-6 months to anchor it in place through a process called ossteointegration. Once the implant is permanently and rigidly fixed in place, the new crown can screw into it.
What Are the Risks?
Implants have one of the highest success rates of any dental procedures – between 95% and 98% to be precise. Dental implants have been around for decades and have a proven track record of delivering the desired results. The only risks in getting dental implants are those stemming from the surgical procedure itself and not the implants. Discuss the potential risks with your dentist while considering any underlying health conditions like diabetes, gum disease, and oral infections before installing implants.
Think of a dental implant really as an artificial tooth root. Its purpose is to encore an artificial crown securely and permanently onto the gum as a replacement for a missing tooth. That’s basically all there is to dental implants.