A dental implant is a method of tooth replacement that dentists use instead of a crown or dental bridge. Set straight into the jaw, they become an integral part of the mouth and function just like natural teeth, eliminating the need for additional supports, dental creams, or adhesives. So, how do dental implants work?
Follow along to find out, but first, let us explain more about dental implants.
What is a dental implant?
The implant is essentially an artificial porcelain tooth attached to a titanium post and implanted in the jawbone and gum tissue. Dentists can use dental implants to replace:
- A single tooth
- Several teeth
- A complete set of teeth in a day!
When full implants are not an option, implants can also provide a comfortable support system for dentures.
How do dental implants work?
A dental implant comprises three parts:
- A small titanium screw that integrates into the jaw
- The abutment which is used to attach a crown, bridge, or removable denture to the implant fixture
- A tooth-shaped porcelain crown (single-tooth implant) for a natural-looking restoration
The implant screw replaces the missing tooth’s roots and acts as an artificial root stimulating the jawbone to keep it healthy. Since titanium is biocompatible, the human body accepts the implant screw, and only in rare cases does rejection occur.
Can anyone have dental implants?
Theoretically, dental implants are suitable for anyone that has:
- A fully grown jawbone
- Healthy oral tissues
- One or more missing teeth
- Adequate bone to support an implant or able to have a bone graft
- Able to undergo dental implant surgery
- The willingness to commit to a
- A willingness to commit to a lengthy procedure lasting several months
However, you may not be a suitable candidate for a dental implant if you have :
- a chronic medical condition such as uncontrolled diabetes that slows down healing
- had radioactivity in the jaw area
- severe gum disease
Or if you smoke or chew tobacco products.
Benefits of dental implants
Implants are widely considered the best method of tooth replacement and have many benefits over other tooth replacement alternatives, such as dentures and conventional bridges/crowns. A dental implant:
- Enables you to bite and chew properly. Did you know that an implant can provide as much as 90% of the bite force of a natural tooth because it is permanently fixed in the mouth?
- Prevents bone loss by stimulating the jawbone and gum tissue
- Is self-supporting and more stable than a bridge or denture
- Is considered a permanent solution for tooth loss and has been reported to have a survival rate of 90-95% over 10 years
- Looks natural
- Is cared for in the same way as natural teeth
How does a dental implant work? What’s involved in the procedure?
Dental implants work through a process known as osseointegration. In this process, blood cells attach to the dental implant, helping keep it firmly in position. The implant will stay in place as long as the jawbone and gum tissue remain healthy.
The dental implant procedure takes several months from start to finish as it is performed in several stages, with healing time between each step.
The first step toward getting implants is to find out if you are a suitable candidate. Assuming you are, the next step is to undergo a comprehensive oral examination consisting of 3D scans and x-rays to give the implant dentist a clear picture of where to place the implants.
The next stage is dental implant surgery. This is a minor operation performed under a local anaesthetic and sometimes sedation to insert the implant in place of the missing tooth. Thanks to meticulous planning before dental implant surgery, a single implant can be placed in little more than 20 minutes. During dental implant surgery, no pain will be felt, but patients may feel a little sore once the numbness has worn off.
Following dental implant surgery, the mouth will need time to heal and allow osseointegration (between 3-6 months).
Once the implant has stabilised, the dentist will attach the abutment to the implant screw. This requires another short surgery. This done, the dentist takes an impression of the jaw area to ensure the correct size and colour for the dental crown.
A week or two later, the crown is attached to the implant screw to complete the procedure, and wow! Check out that smile!
Are you considering dental implants?
Now you have the answer to how dental implants work, why not schedule an appointment with the experienced dentists at Southport Park Family Dental by calling on (07) 5655 7688 to see if implant treatment is right for you. We work with specialists who only use top-quality dental implants to provide the best possible outcome for our patients.
Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.
Infodentis – Dental Implant Abutment
PubMed Central – Bone Grafts in Dentistry
PubMed Central – Bite Force and Dental Implant Treatment: A Short Review
PubMed Central – Factors Affecting the Survival Rate of Dental Implants: A Retrospective Study