(317) 253-8631

dental implants 101

Dental implants can sound scary, but they’re one of the most versatile forms of dental cosmetics around. Implants are the backbone of tooth replacement procedures, and they can be used to support single teeth, bridges, or even full dentures. Dental implants aren’t appropriate for every situation, but they’re a great choice for a large number of consumers.

What Dental Implants Look Like

A dental implant is actually comprised of three pieces: the implant itself, the abutment, and the crown or bridge. The implant is a titanium screw that’s affixed to the bone through osseointegration, which is a process where bone tissue grows directly against and sometimes through a prosthesis. This kind of anchoring creates a sturdy and scar-free connection between the bone and the implant.

The abutment is the intermediary piece between the implant and the prosthetic tooth or bridge. In some circumstances, such as implant supported dentures, the abutment is used as an anchoring point for a removable prosthetic, while in other cases it serves as a permanent connection between the two.

Finally, the prosthetic itself can be built in a variety of ways. The largest concern isn’t typically aesthetic, though; it’s mechanical. Dental implants are exposed to surprisingly strong forces through chewing, and implants don’t wear in the same way that teeth do. Prosthetic teeth look amazingly life like, and a good dentist can often attach dental implants in ways that look totally natural, but there’s a lot of math that goes into positioning and anchoring them correctly.

Understanding The Surgery Process

Dental implants are installed in stages; the tissue around the titanium implant needs to heal before the abutment and prosthetic are attached in order to ensure proper bone growth and anchoring. It takes six to twelve weeks, on average, for the bone to heal enough for the subsequent stages.

Depending on where the implant is added, however, additional surgeries might be required to reshape the sinus or gums before the implant is anchored. These surgeries improve the aesthetics and longevity of the implant.

Dental implants have a 98% success rate, but there are some small risks during the surgery and in the subsequent months. As with all dental surgeries, there is a risk of nerve damage, bone damage, and tissue loss. The probability is low for all three, but it increases with age.

After the surgery is complete, the primary risk is incomplete integration of the implant into the bone tissues. The exact odds of failure depends on bone and gum health, and how consistently the patient follows directions concerning antibiotic use and oral health. Other factors which can influence this are things like smoking habits and being a diabetic.

All considered, it is a safe and well-known procedure that has been practiced for decades.

Talk To Dr. Halsema About Dental Implants

Dental implants require a complete care plan and a fair bit of time to install. If you’re curious about them or want to know if they’re right for you, start the conversation early. They’re one of the most aesthetic form of dental cosmetics, and they may offer a better solution than some alternative treatments.