When you have a gap in your smile that has been bothering you for a while, there is more you can do to correct it than you think.
In the past, the only options available for gaps in a smile were bridges or partial dentures. And, for the majority of history, these have been very reliable. Indeed, it has even been speculated that the famous Queen Elizabeth I had dentures or some approximation of them. It is easy to see why, given that Tudor dentistry insisted that people brushed their teeth with honey and that rich Tudors also ate copious amounts of sugar!
However, over the last decade, there has been a change in how to cover gaps in a smile while also ensuring that you can maintain the function of the missing tooth or teeth; oral implants.
Oral implants, also known as dental implants Brentwood , are artificial tooth roots made of titanium that can be surgically placed into the jawbone to support replacement teeth or dental prosthetics. They provide a stable foundation for crowns, bridges, or dentures, mimicking the function and appearance of natural teeth. The implant fuses with the jawbone through a process called osseointegration, which ensures long-term stability.
Oral implants offer a durable and permanent solution for individuals with missing teeth, improving their ability to eat, speak, and smile with confidence. They also help preserve jawbone integrity and prevent the shifting of adjacent teeth. So, by having an implant fitted, you can not only bite into the foods you enjoy but also not worry about your teeth moving as the jaw shrinks.
Of course, before you rush off to your dentist to enquire about implants, you will undoubtedly have some questions. In this article, you will be guided through some of the most commonly asked queries online relating to oral implants, so you can assess whether this procedure is right for you. Enjoy!
How are implants fixed?
A core concern many people have is the fitting of the implants; however, there is nothing to be concerned about. During your first consultation, your dentist will need to look at the health of your mouth, and decay or gum disease will need to be treated before the implant(s) can be installed.
Then, an X-Ray will be taken for the dental team to assess your jawbone; if there is minimal jawbone, you may need to have a mini implant rather than a traditional endosteal one.
Provided that you tick every box, the next step will involve a longer appointment, wherein the implants are fixed. Your dental team will numb the area, make an incision in the gum and then drill into the bone. Once the hole has been created, the implant is placed in. The gum is sewn up around the implant, and the fitting is complete. For an endosteal implant, the process typically takes between 1.5-2 hours.
Does the fitting hurt?
In a word, no. Or, not as much as you may think!
If you have ever had a tooth extracted (chances are that you have if you need an implant), then the fitting of an implant is no worse than this.
As mentioned earlier, your dentist will also numb the area beforehand, so there will be no sensation during the fitting.
If, after the fitting, you notice that there is extreme discomfort, then you may have an infection and should seek medical help.
How long is the healing process?
Concerning the gums healing, the process takes about two weeks.
For the implant to fuse with the bone fully, it can take up to 12 months. If, 12 months after the fitting has been completed, the implants have not started fusing, then your dental team will remove it and try another method of restoration.
Is it expensive?
Many people have concerns that oral implants will cost a lot.
However, when you talk to your dental team, they will likely be able to offer you a payment plan or financing to help you spread out the cost; this will make the payment process more manageable and usually be 0% interest.
Are there any benefits to oral implants?
There are many!
For one thing, they are a more permanent solution than a denture or bridge; they do not move, they look natural, and, as mentioned before, they promote growth in the jaw, thus preventing orthodontic movements.
Also, with the proper care, the implants can last up to and over 15 years, so it is a worthwhile investment in your smile.