A dental implant is a screw in or cylinder shaped substitute for a natural tooth root. They are designed to bond tightly with the surrounding bone, which over a period of time enhances the bone structure and can prevent deterioration of the jaw.
The Main Reasons for Fitting a Dental Implant
Dental implants have a number of uses, the main being as a base for a replacement tooth. However, they can also act as a support for dentures, bridges and crowns. The amount of implants that are required depends on the size of the gap that needs to be bridged. It may not be necessary to fill the whole gap with implants, but this is dependent on the bone structure surrounding the area. For example, it may require as little as four implants to support 10 teeth in the lower jaw.
A common use for dental implants is to support a set of dentures. These are similar to normal dentures but are supported by implants, making them more stable. It is still necessary to remove the dentures for regular cleaning when employing this type of support. The implants also need to be cleaned regularly to promote a healthy bone and gum environment.
What Are The Criteria For Dental Implants?
Most people are suitable for dental implants, but good general health is advised along with healthy gums. There are certain factors that can affect healing such as heavy smoking or drinking, and most dentists will require a reduction or cessation of these activities before considering dental implant surgery.
How Long Does The Treatment Take?
Treatment times will vary, depending on how many implants are required and the quality of bone in the jaw. A period of between six weeks and six months is common. It may be necessary for a bone graft which will lengthen the treatment and recovery times.
Care of implants
Implants can be cleaned with a normal toothbrush and regular use of an inter-dental brush. Teeth and gum care is essentially the same as natural teeth, with extra emphasis being placed on the implant areas.