In the most basic terms, a dental implant is an artificial high-tech replacement for a tooth’s root made from titanium.
These titanium roots fully integrate into your bone structure over time and the end result is a tooth that feels, looks and functions like your own natural teeth.
Once the titanium screw has been inserted, the jaw bone is left alone to heal around it (osseointegration) for roughly 3 months. During this time, the patient wears a denture to temporarily fill the gap.
When the screw is fully integrated a single crown, bridge or removable denture is fitted and the procedure is complete.
In total, the entire process generally takes between 3-6 months and though it involves a relatively minor surgical procedure and takes time and patience, implants offer many benefits
Dental implants offer many benefits including:
At your consultation your dentist will ask questions about your medical history. They will then perform a full examination of your mouth and remaining teeth before taking x-rays and creating models to determine the best position for your new tooth.
We use a local anaesthetic during the procedure so won’t feel any pain apart from some minor discomfort for a few days after but this is usually caused by the stitches and the normal healing process.
Implants are very safe and will potentially last a lifetime if cared for diligently and properly. If you look after your implants and schedule regular maintenance check ups, it will make a real difference on their longevity.
You can expect the surgery to place the titanium screw to take anywhere from 2 - 3 hours but it can vary depending on your individual circumstances. Once the screw has been placed in your jaw, it will take a minimum of 3 months for it to bond (integrate) with your bone structure before we can take the next step.
When your implant has fully integrated we will make an impression of your mouth and create a custom-made final restoration (crown) which takes about two weeks. The final fitting generally takes one hour.
After undergoing dental implant surgery, proper aftercare is essential to ensure the success and longevity of your new smile. Here are some crucial tips to follow during the recovery period and beyond:
Gently brush the area around the dental implants twice a day using a soft-bristle toothbrush. Pay careful attention to maintain good oral hygiene, ensuring that you remove plaque and debris without causing any discomfort to the healing site.
Once your dentist gives you the green light, you can start flossing around the dental implants. Use a floss threader or interdental brush to clean between the teeth and implants, preventing the buildup of bacteria that could lead to gum disease.
Incorporate an antibacterial mouthwash into your oral care routine. Swishing with a recommended mouthwash helps reduce the risk of infection and promotes a clean and healthy environment for your dental implants.
During the initial healing period, avoid putting excessive pressure on the implant area. Refrain from chewing on hard or crunchy foods to prevent any strain on the healing site. Additionally, avoid any activities or habits that could potentially impact the dental implants.
Schedule and attend regular check-ups with your dentist to monitor the healing progress and ensure the implants are integrating properly. Your dentist will also conduct professional cleanings to maintain optimal oral health.
If you smoke, consider quitting, as smoking can hinder the healing process and increase the risk of implant failure. Smoking can also contribute to gum disease, which can be detrimental to the stability of your dental implants.
Eat a well-balanced diet rich in essential nutrients to support your body's healing process. Adequate nutrition contributes to the success of the dental implants and promotes overall oral health.
If you experience any unusual discomfort, pain, or notice any changes around the dental implants, contact your dentist immediately. Early intervention can prevent potential complications and ensure the best possible outcome.
My implant looks and feels so natural I don’t even realise it’s there.