Dental Implant

A smile is infectious and spreads joy. Think of smile of a baby, beautiful girl or a handsome boy. Charming! Isn’t it? Now think of a smile of someone with missing front teeth. Reminds you of old Bollywood villain? Probably! Imagine the predicament of the ‘missing teeth person’ being self-conscious about the one’s smile. With dental implants, bridges or dentures as one’s options, you need not feel embarrassed any longer.
A dental implant is a titanium post surgically inserted into jaw bone to allow mounting of a dental prosthesis. This titanium post forms an intimate bond with bone by a process called osseo-integration, making it stable unlike removable dentures. Dental implants act as replacement for natural tooth roots and act as stable, near-natural base for artificial teeth called dental crowns. It can be done in all ages to replace fallen or badly damaged teeth.
Choosing Dental implants vs Dentures
Dentures cause discomfort and sores in some people. They need to be removed often for cleaning and during sleep. Unlike dentures, firmly secure implants do not slip in your mouth during eating or speaking. In addition, implants do not need an adjacent tooth to be grinded to support artificial teeth as in bridges. Implants give a more natural look, feel and comfort like natural teeth. Even the cleaning of implants is same as natural teeth, avoiding the need take them out and soak in water over night. Implants preserve jawbone, nearby teeth and provide ideal cosmetic solution. Implants are usually more expensive and more time consuming than bridges and dentures. You should weigh the cosmetic and comfort benefits of implants with disadvantages you might likely suffer from dentures and bridges.
Pre-requisites for Dental Implants
Dental implants are fastened to jawbone underneath the gums to provide stable support for replacement teeth. Hence for implants to secure firmly, you must have healthy gums and sufficiently dense bone structure to support.
Procedure of dental implants
Dental implant can be an endosteal where an implant is inserted into the jaw-bone or a subperiosteal wherein implant is secured on the bone underneath the gums. Implant is an elective procedure done under local anesthesia and antibiotic cover, to minimise the pain and infection risk. With a small incision in your gums, bone is exposed and a hole is drilled into it to insert the implant. The incision is then closed. Prosthodontist will remove a protective screw from the implant and replace it with a metal healing cap called collar. The collar is a small metal cylinder protruding from the gums and and allows for prosthesis or dental crown to be mounted over it.
Care after implant

Immediately after the implant,

  • Do not spit, suck on straws or smoke to avoid dislodgement of blood clots that can lead to delayed healing
  • Eat soft food and take liquid or semi-liquid diet to avoid injuring your gums
  • You can clean your mouth normally without disturbing the implant area
  • You can additionally use an antibacterial mouthwash

In long term

  • Visit your dentist every six month for follow up and dental cleaning
  • Practice good oral hygiene with twice daily brushing, flossing and avoiding chocolates
  • Quit smoking to avoid weakening of bone structure and subsequent implant failure
  • Avoid chewing on hard foods to prevent damage to crown and your natural teeth. With proper gum and teeth care, your implants should serve you for your life.

Success of implants

As with any surgical procedure, implants also carry risk of minor complications like bleeding, infection, numbness, discomfort or injury to sinuses. These can be further minimised by taking pain killers, antibiotics and following the advice of dentist. Long term success of implant depends on support provided by the health of bones and gums. Success rate is upwards of 90% at the hands of an experienced and skilful prosthodontist at a well-equipped facility. A successful implant should last a lifetime with proper oral care. A successful implant is the one which is comfortable like natural teeth, allows you to eat and talk without bar and gives you a natural look. So what are you waiting for? Go. Infect others with your smile!

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