Dental Implants – A Personal Tale

When most people think of dental implants, images of large needles and other dental tools swarm the mind, as we imagine the worst things that can happen. It’s human nature, unfortunately.

I was no different to this, when nine years ago, I had an accident which resulted in the removal of three of my front teeth. I was concerned that my looks were to be tarnished forever. I imagined myself going into work the next day, sporting Grandma-like dentures. A sure way of keeping the girls at bay, as if they were knocking my door down!

I spoke to my dental surgeon about the possibilities I had in going forward. His first recommendation was dental implants, and they turned out to be the best thing that has ever happened to me both physically and mentally.

Under heavy local anaesthetic, titanium screws were drilled into the upper gum area. The reason that titanium is used is because its biocompatible material is accepted by the body, and it serves as a strong and sturdy structure for the replacement teeth. Your natural bone then locks the implant into place by fusing, or attaching itself, to the implant.

Mounted upon these titanium screws are porcelain structures, perfectly resembling teeth. I was told that the implants would last anywhere up to twenty years. In the nine years i have had them there has been zero deterioration, under the close scrutiny of regular check-ups.

They have given me an entire new level of self-confidence. The beauty of opting for implants is that you can pretty much decide the style and size you want your new oral features to be.

It is a procedure that does not come cheap however, ranging anywhere from $3,000 per tooth. The experience of having the implants attached is not a pleasant one either, but I can say that it is at least not a protracted one. There are many reasons for dental implants, and if you are willing to suffer the cost, and the small amount of dis-comfort, then it is totally worth it.

Before committing to the procedure, ensure you have thoroughly researched your options and potential outcomes.

Choosing Dental Implants or Veneers

Dental implants are used to support one or multiple false teeth, whereby a titanium screw is inserted into the jawbone to replace the root of a tooth. Dental implants are a safe, established form of dental treatment and a procedure that is usually done using local anaesthetic.

Implants will however require the patient to have healthy gums and a strong jawbone to which they can hold. An experienced implantologist will assess your dental health and determine your suitability for implant treatment.

Implants are usually made of titanium, a metal known for its high strength and resistance to corrosion, therefore with good oral hygiene should last for the rest of your life.

A dental veneer in comparison is when a thin layer is made, usually of porcelain though sometimes of a resin composite material for a more natural-coloured finish, to fit over the front surface of a tooth.

One major advantage of veneers is that because they are extremely thin and held on by adhesive, very little to no preparation of the tooth is required to fit them. The result: teeth look natural, healthy and well maintained.

Veneers should last for many years – between 5 to 10 years on average – though they can chip or break, much like your own natural teeth. Small chips can easily be repaired, or a completely brand new veneer(s) fitted if necessary. Some have compared veneers to that of a false nail being stuck on top of a real nail.

As veneers are individually moulded for each patient, it’s extremely difficult to notice the difference between a fitted veneer and a natural tooth. Unlike natural teeth, custom-made veneers are excellent at resisting tea and coffee stains, along with nicotine blemishes, as they are made of highly advanced materials. For teeth that also resist whitening, veneers can make even the darkest, blemished teeth appear a glorious bright white again.

Maintenance of veneers is nigh on identical to that of your original teeth, with regular brushing and flossing with a fluoride-based toothpaste.

Other dental alternatives include a natural-coloured filling, which is ideal for minor repairs to damaged front teeth, such as chipped corners or minor cracks, removable dentures (false teeth), and a bridge.

Types of Dental Implants and How to Care For Them

Dental implants are artificial tooth roots that are placed in the jaw to sustain a bridge or a tooth replacement. They are the best options for anyone who lost their teeth through accidental injury, periodontal diseases and any other reason, though these are the most common.

Who qualifies for dental implants?

A good candidate should have good oral hygiene and general health. He or she must have enough bone in their jaw since that is essential in providing support to the implant. One must have gum tissues that are healthy and free of any periodontal diseases to avoid any future complications or infections. One must be attended to by a dentist and a periodontist since the latter has more experience, facilities, training and special knowledge in the said field. They specialize in dental implant procedures.

Expectations after receiving an implant

As always after any medical procedure that involves insertion or removal foreign bodies in the human body there must be a lot of oral care to ensure that it recovers well. There is no exception with dental implants. Oral hygiene is paramount to complete recovery and to ensure that it goes successfully. There has to be constant flossing and brushing and you have to have a good care plan given by your dentist. You will be required to go for periodic checkups and constant visits for close monitoring.

Kinds of dental implants

Endosteal implants are the most common and are placed in the bone. Under this category there are various types like cylinders, screws and blades which are placed surgically in the jawbone. An implant could have one prosthetic tooth or more. Sub periosteal implants are to be placed in the bone jaw using a metal framework and they protrude through the gum, holding the prosthesis in place. They are normally used by patients who can’t wear straight dentures and their jaw bones have minimal height.