Are missing teeth affecting your smile, confidence, or even your ability to eat comfortably? Dental implants offer a revolutionary solution, restoring your smile’s function and beauty with a natural-looking, long-lasting replacement. 

This guide will take you through everything you need to know about dental implants, from the procedure itself to the incredible results you can achieve. We’ll even unveil stunning before and after photos to showcase the transformative power of implants!

What Are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are titanium or ceramic posts inserted into the jawbone to hold artificial teeth, acting like natural teeth roots, providing a strong foundation for fixed or removable replacement teeth that match natural teeth.

Why Is Implant Done?

Why Is Implant Done?

Dental implants are surgically placed in the jawbone to serve as the roots of missing teeth. The titanium in the implants fuses with the jawbone, preventing slippage, noise, and bone damage like fixed bridgework or dentures. 

They also don’t decay like regular bridgework teeth. Dental implants are suitable for individuals with missing teeth, full-grown jawbones, adequate bone for implants or bone grafts, healthy oral tissues, healthy bone conditions, denture-wearing issues, willingness to improve speech, commitment to the process, and tobacco cessation.

Types of Dental Implants

There are two main types of dental implants, each suited for different jawbone conditions and treatment goals. The two types are:

Endosteal Implant

This is the most common type of dental implant and is suitable for most patients with sufficient jawbone density.

During surgery, it typically resembles a screw, cylinder, or blade that is inserted into your jawbone. 

One or more prosthetic teeth can be placed on each of these implants. This is an excellent alternative for those who now use removable dentures or bridges.

Subperiosteal Implant

Less common than endosteal implants, subperiosteal implants are placed on top of, rather than within, the jawbone. 

This is positioned on top of the jaw, and your prosthetic teeth are held in place by posts from a metal framework sticking out through your gums. 

For those who are unable to wear removable dentures or whose jawbone is not strong enough to support an endosteal implant, this is an excellent choice.

Types of Dental Implant Procedures

Your periodontist will create a personalized treatment plan based on the type of implant selected and your unique situation.

These are a few potential treatment programs based on your circumstances:

Single Tooth Dental Implants

One dental implant can serve as a substitute for a single missed tooth.

Multiple Tooth Dental Implants

Dental implants can be used to replace several lost teeth.

Full Mouth Dental Implants

These can be used to replace all of your lost teeth if necessary.

Sinus Augmentation

The quantity and quality of bone in the intended implant site are critical to implant success. 

Sinus augmentation can improve the success of dental implant placement in the upper back jaw by raising the sinus floor and developing bone for the implant’s placement, addressing the traditional challenges of insufficient bone quantity and quality in this area.

Ridge Modification

Ridge modification is a procedure in which the gum is lifted away from the ridge to expose the missing bone void, which is then filled with bone or bone substitute to build up the ridge. 

This technique improves the appearance of the jaw and increases the chances of successful dental implant placement.

Real Patient Transformations (Before and After Photos)

Real Patient Transformations (Before and After Photos)

How Does Dental Implant Surgery Work? Step-By-Step

Dental implants can be placed immediately after a non-restorable tooth is extracted, but the process can take up to a year due to multiple procedures and healing from each one. 

Patients should expect to undergo the following steps for dental implant surgery:

1- Dental exam

Before dental implants, a dentist conducts a thorough exam using 3D imaging, such as CT scans. This allows dentists to assess dental health, particularly the bone supporting the implant.

2- Removal of the Damaged Tooth

The first step often involves removing the tooth or teeth that require replacement. While oral surgeons typically perform this procedure, some dentists with expertise in implantology can manage the entire process from start to finish.

3- Bone Graft

A bone graft can provide a solid base for implant placement if the jawbone is too thin or soft. This can be done using natural bone or synthetic bone-substitute material. It may take several months for a new bone to grow. 

A sinus augmentation may be used instead, especially for tooth replacement in the upper back of the mouth. 

This raises the sinus floor to provide enough bone for implant placement, as many people lack sufficient bone in this area.

4- Placement of the Implant

After the initial healing period of the bone graft, the dentist implants the implant into the jawbone, requiring a period of healing. The implant is an artificial tooth root, anchored deep into the bone like a natural tooth. 

As the implant heals and bone grows around it, known as osseointegration, a temporary, removable denture is worn to cover the gap where the original tooth was removed.

5- Placement of the Connector for the Artificial Tooth

The part of the implant that will keep the crown in place, the abutment, is inserted after two or three months when enough bone has grown in to stabilize, and the gum region is closed around its edges. It will now take four to six weeks for the gums to heal.

6- Placement of the Crown 

In the final step, the crown is put in place. The crown is custom-manufactured to match the color, shape, and size of your other teeth, achieved by creating molds or digital impressions of your existing teeth and jaw after the abutment is placed.

You can generally choose between removable or fixed teeth. Removable teeth snap onto a metal frame attached to the implant abutment, similar to dentures. 

Fixed teeth are permanently screwed or cemented onto the abutment. Your dentist can replace multiple teeth with one implant and abutment if they are bridged together.

Benefits of Dental Implants

Benefits of Dental Implants

Dental implants offer a wide range of benefits compared to traditional bridges or dentures. Here are some of the key advantages of dental implant systems:

Improved Aesthetics and Natural Look

Dental implants fuse with your jawbone, mimicking the function of a natural tooth root. This allows for a crown or replacement tooth to be securely attached, resulting in a highly natural-looking restoration that blends seamlessly with your smile.

Enhanced Chewing Ability and Function

Implants provide a strong and stable foundation for replacement teeth, allowing you to chew with confidence and enjoy a wider variety of foods.

Long-Term Durability

Dental implants are built to last a lifetime with proper care. They are highly durable and resistant to wear and tear.

Preserves Jawbone Health

Unlike traditional bridges or dentures that can contribute to jawbone loss, dental implants actually stimulate bone growth. This is because the implant acts like a natural tooth root, encouraging healthy bone density in the jaw.

Improved Oral Health

Implants can contribute to better overall oral health by preventing bone loss and ensuring proper alignment of surrounding teeth. Additionally, they don’t require modification of healthy teeth like traditional bridges.

Risks Associated with Dental Implants

Dental implants are a successful procedure with a high success rate, but like any surgery, there are some potential risks involved. Here are things to consider:

Infection

As with any surgical procedure, there’s a risk of infection at the implant site. Proper oral hygiene and following post-operative instructions are crucial to minimize this risk.

Implant Failure

In rare cases, the implant may not fuse properly with the jawbone (osseointegration). This can be due to various factors like infection, insufficient bone density, or improper placement.

Nerve Damage

There’s a slight risk of damaging nerves during implant surgery, especially in the lower jaw. This can lead to temporary or permanent numbness, tingling, or pain in the surrounding areas.

Sinus Issues (Upper Jaw Implants) 

In some cases, implants placed in the upper jaw can irritate the sinus cavity. This is a rare complication, but it’s important to be aware of it.

Allergic Reaction

While uncommon, some individuals might be allergic to titanium, the material used in most implants.

Injury or Damage to Surrounding Structures

Injury or damage to surrounding structures is a potential risk associated with dental implant surgery.

During implant placement, there’s a slight risk of accidentally damaging surrounding teeth, especially if the implant needs to be placed close to existing tooth roots.

Depending on the location of the implant, there’s a possibility of injuring blood vessels during surgery. This can lead to bleeding.

While uncommon, there’s a minor risk of fracturing the jawbone during implant placement, especially if the bone is thin or brittle.

Conclusion

 Dental implants offer a revolutionary solution for replacing missing teeth, restoring not just your smile’s aesthetics but also its function and overall confidence. We hope this comprehensive guide has empowered you with the knowledge you need to make informed decisions about your dental health.

As you’ve seen from the before and after photos, dental implants can truly transform smiles. If you’re considering dental implants, the next step is to schedule a consultation with one of our qualified dentists or oral surgeons at Enhance Dental Centre. They can assess your individual needs and determine if implants are the right solution for you.

FAQs:

1- Is there a downside to dental implants?

Yes, there are some downsides to dental implants. Here are some of the things to consider:

  • Dental implants are one of the most expensive options for replacing teeth.
  • Dental implants require surgery to place the implant in your jawbone. This means that there are risks associated with surgery, such as infection, bleeding, and nerve damage.
  • A major disadvantage of dental implants is that they take a long time to heal. 

2- How long do dental implants usually last?

Dental implants are designed to be a long-term solution for missing teeth, lasting anywhere from  10 to 30 years with proper care. Studies even show a high success rate well beyond a decade, with some lasting a lifetime.

3- What is the best age for dental implants?

The optimal age for implant placement depends on the patient, but studies suggest that the best long-term esthetics can be achieved by waiting until the age of 25 or 30, as it allows for better aesthetic outcomes.

4- Can I have all my teeth pulled and get implants?

Yes, it is possible to get a whole new set of teeth.