Dental implants are manufactured tooth roots used to replace missing teeth. Tooth loss can occur for a variety of reasons such as tooth decay, gum disease and trauma. Many years ago the only options would be a removable denture or a dental bridge to close the spaces from missing teeth. Dental implants improve appearance, speech, chewing and function, aid in maintaining oral health and are highly durable. A dental implant can be completed to replace a single tooth, several teeth or even an entire arch of missing teeth. Implants can have a success rate of up to 98% if properly cared for and can even last a lifetime.
The first step is to determine a treatment plan based on individual needs. Recommendations will be given, and the patient needs will be discussed. Once a treatment plan is formed, the procedure is ready to take place. A titanium screw that acts like a tooth root is placed into the bone where the missing tooth/teeth are. 6-12 weeks are then allowed for the integration and healing of the bone around the implant. Once the bone is healed, and the implant is securely in place, an impression will be taken of the area to send out to a lab to fabricate the crown that will be secured on top. The crown will fit with colour, shape and size of the surrounding teeth. Implants can also be used to hold dentures in permanently when all teeth in an arch are missing. Several implants will be placed throughout the jaw, and a denture will be fabricated specifically to attach onto the implants. Implant supported dentures are a great alternative to removable dentures.
Dental implants require caring for just like natural teeth. It is recommended to brush at least twice a day and floss at least once a day, as well as use a fluoridated toothpaste. Just like natural teeth, if plaque and tartar build up around the implant without being cleaned away, the gums can be susceptible to gingivitis and periodontitis, thereby affecting the life span of the implant. It is recommended to maintain regular dental check-ups and cleanings to monitor the health of the implant(s). During the dental cleaning, softer tools will be used to clean around the implant to prevent any microscopic scratches.