When you have a missing tooth, it can feel like a knock to your confidence which will not recover. However, restoring missing teeth has always been high on the priority list of humans, with evidence found of false teeth being constructed in ancient Egypt and even further back!
But today, there are many options that dentists will use to replace missing teeth and restore functionality to the mouth, with the most popular and aesthetically pleasing option being a dental implant Melbourne. In the following article, you will be introduced to this restorative and cosmetic dental option to see if it is the way forward for you to improve your smile and bite strength. Enjoy!
What are oral implants?
When many people think of an oral implant, they actually think of the prosthetic tooth or teeth that accompany this fitting. But in actuality, an oral implant is a metal post which is affixed to the jaw via surgery and fuses to the surrounding bone over a period of 3-6 months. This is because the implant is made from titanium, which allows fusing via osseointegration. The most commonly used type of oral implant in dental surgery today is the endosteal implant.
Before you can have an oral implant fitted, your dental team will first need to conduct an assessment of your jawbone. This is because in order for oral implants to fuse successfully, there needs to be a sturdy and healthy jawbone for them to be attached to. So, at your initial consultation, x-rays will be performed and your dental team may decide that you are unsuited for implants, or that you can have a bone graft fitted to ensure that the implant is more likely to fuse successfully.
The fitting of an oral implant is one of the most common parts that dental patients worry about, but don’t worry, it is quite straightforward! Your dentist will numb the gum and will make some incisions into the gum line, peeling it back gently to expose the bone. Using a drill, a hole will then be drilled into the bone and the implant will be fitted. This process can take over an hour, so if you are having multiple implants fitted, the treatment may be spread over multiple appointments.
The gum is then sewn back together around the implant and the surgery is complete. Depending on your age and general health, the process takes anywhere between 3-6 months for the implant to fuse to the jawbone. If 12 months after the implant is fitted it has not fused, then in most cases, your dental team will remove the implant and will try an alternative restorative treatment like a denture.
The prosthetic tooth or teeth that are to be attached to the implant will be shape matched, shade and colour matched to your natural surrounding teeth, so they will not look unnatural or stand out. The fitting of the prosthetics will only occur once the implant has fused to the jaw bone, and will typically take up to or over an hour.
Aftercare and longevity
To maintain your oral implants, it is advised that you maintain good oral hygiene, attend biannual check-ups and refrain from activities such as smoking or drinking. If you adhere to this, your implants should easily last for over 15 years without issue.
Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.