Dental implants are artificial teeth-like structures inserted in place of missing teeth. A dental implant feels, looks and functions like a natural tooth. They are inserted into place by a dentist with the help of a surgery.
Structure: Dental implants consist of a metal base, which looks like a screw. It is usually made up of Titanium, as it is a very strong metal and would last during the long run. Above the metal post is a connecting element, called abutment. It connects the metal post to the crown or the visible replacement tooth. Dental cement is used to hold them in place. The crown looks exactly like a tooth and is mostly made up of porcelain or acrylic. They are very strong and function exactly like regular teeth, helping the individual bite, chew and talk.
- A small incision is made on the gum, where the tooth is missing. It is made so as to drill a hole in the bone underneath the gums. After the implant is placed, the gum grows around it and surrounds the metal post.
- A hole is drilled in the jawbone using a precision drill at high-speed so as to minimize pain caused to the bone and tissue.
- The drilled hole is small and needs to be enlarged. So, a pilot drill is used for this purpose, where the hole is enlarged gradually. A liquid cooling method is used to reduce the heat produced while drilling the bone and prevent damage to osteoblasts (bone cells).
- Next, the metal implant is inserted into place with the help of a high precision torque wrench. During this process, a lot of care has to be taken to prevent damage to the surrounding bone.
- The next step is a natural one, where the gingiva around the implant starts to heal and grows as a thick tissue. It covers the base of the implant and leaves the crown looking like a natural tooth.
Disadvantages of missing teeth: When a person has a tooth missing, the gap between teeth tends to shift over time. Moreover, the teeth tend to move towards the gap and the shifting would cause a lot of pain in the gums. It would also cause slurred speech and affect the way a person bites and chews food. It would be very embarrassing for a person to even smile with a missing tooth.
Advantages of getting dental implants
- They are the best long-term solution to missing teeth. Dentists say that the crown lasts up to 10 years and replacement wouldn't cost much.
- Helps a person with missing teeth escape embarrassment and would restore the original smile and confidence.
- They help retain the natural shape of a person's face and prevent shifting of teeth. It would prevent further loss of teeth.
- They prevent deterioration of the jawbone and ensure good bone health in the jaws.
- They offer a permanent solution, unlike dentures, which have to be removed often. They allow a person to talk without any difficulty.
- They help a person chew food without any worries.