Implant – what is a dental implant?

Understanding Dental Implants: A Guide for Patients

Dental implants represent a significant advancement in dental care, offering a durable and natural-looking solution for missing teeth. Written with our patients in mind, this article aims to demystify dental implants, explaining what they are, how they work, and why they may be the right choice for you.

What is a Dental Implant?

A dental implant is a small, sturdy post made from titanium or other materials compatible with the human body. It is surgically inserted into the jawbone beneath the gum line, as a synthetic root for a missing tooth. Once in place, a dental implant provides a strong foundation onto which replacement teeth, such as crowns, bridges, or dentures, can be securely attached.

How Do Dental Implants Work?

The process of getting a dental implant involves several steps, typically carried out over a few months to ensure the best outcome.

1. Assessment and Planning: Initially, your dentist will thoroughly examine your oral health to determine if dental implants suit you. This phase may include X-rays or 3D images to assess your jawbone’s quality and quantity.

2. Implant Placement: Under local anesthesia, the implant is carefully placed into the jawbone. As the tissue heals, it will grow around the implant, securing it in place—a process known as osseointegration. This healing phase can take several weeks to a few months.

3. Abutment and Crown Placement: An abutment is attached to the implant’s top once the implant has fused with the jawbone. This serves as the attachment point for the replacement tooth or crown, which will be customized to match your natural teeth in shape and color.

Why Choose Dental Implants?

– Durability: With proper care, dental implants can last a lifetime, making them a cost-effective solution in the long run.
– Natural Appearance:** Implants are designed to look, feel, and function like your natural teeth, enhancing your smile and confidence.
– Improved Oral Health: Unlike bridges, implants do not require altering adjacent teeth, preserving more of your natural tooth structure. Additionally, implants help prevent bone loss in the jaw, maintaining your facial structure.
– Comfort and Convenience: Implants eliminate the discomfort and inconvenience associated with removable dentures, offering a permanent solution that lets you eat, speak, and smile without worry.

Is Everyone a Candidate for Dental Implants?

While dental implants offer a fantastic solution for many, they are not suitable for everyone. Successful implantation requires a healthy jawbone for support and healthy gums. Patients who smoke or have certain chronic illnesses may face longer healing times and a higher risk of complications. Your dentist will work with you to determine if dental implants are the best option based on your specific health profile.

Conclusion

Dental implants are a state-of-the-art solution for replacing missing teeth, combining durability, aesthetics, and functionality. If you’re considering dental implants, consult with your dentist to discuss your options and whether implants are right for you. Together, you can work towards restoring your smile and confidence with this innovative dental technology.

Last updated on February 29, 2024

Dr. Deepak Aulak

Dr. Deepak Aulak is a London-based dental practitioner with a special interest in cosmetic dentistry. Having graduated from King's College London in Dentistry, Dr. Aulak was decorated with over a dozen awards and scholarships along the way, which notably include the Jelf Medal, Malleson Prize for research and GKT Hospital's Full Shields.

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