We all wish to have natural teeth throughout their lifetime, but sadly that is not always the case. Many people lose teeth due to tooth decay, gum diseases, injury and aging. Luckily, there are options available in dental medicine that provide replacement teeth. Dentures and dental bridges were the popular options for a long time. But now, dental implant is a more permanent option many people opt for.
Dental implants are a permanent tooth root replacement option, since they are fixed anchors in the jaw bone on which replacement teeth are placed. Single tooth replacement and multiple teeth replacements are possible through this dental procedure. The beauty of this complicated dental procedure is that it gives support and feels like natural teeth. The wearer does not feel at any time, that there is a replacement tooth or becomes conscious about it while speaking or chewing.
To know why dental implants are considered a permanent teeth replacement option, one needs to understand the dental procedure behind it.
The dental implant procedure
As with all dental procedures, dental consultation is the very first step. The dentist will examine X-rays to determine the nature of the tooth loss, if there are any other underlying issues that need to be corrected, and also the health of the jaw bone. The final aspect is very crucial as the implant rests on the jaw line. There are options available for those whose jaw bone is not strong to accept the implant. In such cases, if possible then dentists will suggest doing a bone graft and then placing the dental implant. In such cases, the procedure will take a longer time.
After X-rays, 3D imaging is done to get the exact shape and form of the tooth that needs to be replaced. When the actual procedure begins, local anaesthesia is applied, then the gum is cut open and the jaw bone is exposed. Dentists will then drill holes in the bone to place the titanium implant in them. They are placed deep in the bone structure and are hence secure.
The process proceeds to the next step when the jaw bone heals and the implant gets accepted as being part of the body structure. After the integration is complete, the dentist will open a part of the bone structure and place the crown. This procedure is a minor one and is completed in a short time in the clinic. In the abutment that is attached to the implant the replacement teeth are placed. The 3D images of the teeth taken help in making artificial teeth that are similar in shape and colour to the natural teeth and are placed on this abutment and the process is complete.
The implant is attached directly to the jawbone, making it a permanent fix
From the process, one can understand how the replacement is a permanent option. The device is attached to the jaw bone and acts as a tooth root. It is on this root that the replacement tooth is placed. For this very reason, there is no fear of the teeth coming out loose. This fear is experienced by many who wear replacement teeth — they always have this fear of the tooth coming out while speaking or chewing food. But with dental implants, this fear is not felt as the anchorage is in the bone itself and not attached to neighbouring teeth or parts. Another reason for the permanency of dental implants is the bone grafting that is done for people who lack bone mass. With bone grafting, the bone structure is more stable and is able to accept the implants and is able to support the replacement tooth. They cannot be removed as are permanently fixed to the jaw bone. They function just like normal teeth and function as one.
Other benefits of dental implants
It is not just permanency in the structure that the dental implants offer, they give support to the overall oral and dental health as well. The appearance of the person is improved when dental implants are placed. As they are similar to natural teeth, they offer the same type of support to face and neck muscles. Speech and chewing function is not affected. This is however not the same with other types of replacement teeth.
While using dentures, there is always the fear of them coming out loose during conversations and consuming food. The dental implants because they are fixed, this issue is not seen. Another benefit of dental implants is that it does not need the support of neighbouring teeth when they are placed. Other structures are anchored on the support from neighbouring teeth, but dental implants can be placed without any support from other teeth as they are fixed on the bones.
As with all dental devices, durability depends on how they are taken care of. Brushing and flossing of teeth twice a day is important even when dental implants are placed. Food particles get stuck in between the teeth and attract bacterial action. Bacteria can erode the teeth and also bring in plaque/tartar which will damage the gum tissues and also cause teeth decay affecting other overall dental health.
Going for regular check-ups with the dentist and going for professional cleaning will also help in ensuring dental health. This will ensure the durability of the dental implants as well. As dental implants are prosthetic devices, care must be taken when food is consumed. Care should be taken and hard food like ice or hard candies must not be chewed with the dental implants as there are chances that they will break off.
Some people have the habit of teeth grinding while sleeping, if you have this habit, then wear a mouth guard. This will help in reducing the wear and tear of the teeth and ensure durability. Practicing regular oral hygiene habits, taking care of food habits and going for regular dental check-ups will help in maintaining good dental health and also increasing the durability of dental devices.