It is now much easier to get implants to replace lost teeth or veneers to change the surface appearance of teeth thanks to recent changes in cosmetic dentistry.
Differences between cosmetic and general dentistry
Cosmetic dentistry is when a person opts to have the look of their teeth altered to improve their smile and general appearance. Although the American Dental Association does not regard cosmetic dentistry as a specialty, the procedures can produce dramatic results. Restorative dentistry is used when a person loses, chips, or breaks teeth due to trauma, cavities and tooth decay or other natural reasons.
However, before undergoing any cosmetic dentistry treatment, an individual should know first the risks and advantages in addition to what to expect during and after the procedure. It is also important to know the credibility of your dentist to perform cosmetic dentistry treatment, how much the procedure will cost, and if there are any special maintenance required after the treatment.
At one time, if a person lost a tooth due to trauma, old age, or any other cause, that space in the mouth was either left blank or a denture or false tooth was put in its place. Times have changed.
Dental implants involve placing a metal rod at the jawline and putting a molded artificial tooth or crown where the former tooth was. Because the implant is fused with existing teeth, it should last a lifetime and keep your gumline healthy.
Requirements for dental implant patients
You need to have healthy gums and strong bone as the basis for the implant or dental crown. These implants have the look and feel of regular teeth and can be used to chew food or do anything that regular teeth would do.
The health condition of the patient, the condition of the gum tissues and jaws, and the size, shape, and position of the jaw bones are important considerations before doing any implant procedures. Individuals with poor dental hygiene, diabetics, and those who smoke heavily are discouraged to have implants due to higher risk of gum disease and infection.
Dental implant failure is also increased especially for people who suffer diseases of the bones like osteoporosis and for people who have been taking steroids for a long time.
What are dental implants made of?
There are three parts of a dental implant: titanium metal that is fixed to the jawbone, an abutment or post that is fitted over the part of the implant that juts out from the gums, and a crown to provide a natural-looking appearance to the implanted tooth/teeth.
The lower part of the implant is often a titanium rod that is fused to your existing jawline. Crowns are typically made of a composite resin in a whitish tooth color. In some cases the dentist may use a porcelain tooth, but it is not considered as durable for a lifetime of grinding and chewing.
The procedure for implants
Your dentist will take molds of your existing teeth and make a crown that is shaped to replace the former tooth. He or she will also choose a shade of white that is close to the shade of your existing teeth for the visible part. In this way the new tooth blends in with your other teeth and looks natural.
Two types of dental implants
The first type of implants is called Endosteal implants which are implanted directly into the jawbone through surgical procedure. Once the healing has been completed on the surrounding tissue, another surgery is required to post is connected to the first implant. The last step is attaching the artificial tooth or teeth one by one or as a group (such as a bridge or denture) to the post.
The second type is Subperiosteal implants which are made of metal frame implanted in the jawbone below the gum tissue. The metal frame will become fixed in the jawbone as the gum tissue heals. The posts that are attached to the metal frame stick out of the gums for mounting of the artificial teeth.
How long does the procedure take?
It takes several months to heal from a dental implant. If your dentist is removing a tooth that will be replaced by an implant, that will be pulled on the first day. Then the dentist places the implant anchor for the new tooth. This implant will take 3-9 months to heal, but through a process called osseointegration the titanium rod will bond with your existing jawline.
Your dentist may give you a temporary crown while the healing is taking place and in some cases your dentist will place the crown on the same day. The mold for your new tooth takes a few hours or a few days to come back to the office, so you will most likely make a second visit.
The success or failure of dental implant procedure will depend on the individual’s health, the drugs that will be used to speed up osseointegration, and the health of the gum tissues. Healthy bones and gum tissues contribute greatly to the long-term success of this cosmetic dentistry procedure.
Implant side effects
Patients usually experience some pain and bleeding at the implant site. On rare occasions an infection can occur after the implant is placed. It is important to brush and floss your teeth daily to prevent this from occurring. Many dentists discourage smokers from getting the procedure done, due to relatively higher rates of infection.
Dental Implant complications
Several risks related to having dental implants are divided into three parts: first, during the surgical procedure when there is nerve injury or too much bleeding; second, during the first six months after the surgery when osseointegration fails or infection sets in; and third, long-term occurrence such as mechanical malfunction or peri-implantitis (inflammation of the tissues surrounding the dental implants).
Implants are a long-term solution to replace missing teeth and among one of the expensive cosmetic dentistry treatments. They are titanium artificial tooth root replacements that are inserted into the bone sockets of the missing teeth and are good alternative to bridges and removable dentures. They are surgically implanted into the jawbone by an oral or maxillofacial surgeon. If bone loss occurred due to periodontal disease, the surgeon will probably have to graft a bone first to secure the implant.
The condition of your teeth and the expected result that you want will determine which cosmetic dentistry procedure is right for you. Your dentist can answer any questions for you like what to expect through the course of treatment, what changes will look like, and what type of maintenance is required if there are any.