A tooth implant is a movable dental part that interfaces strongly with the underlying bone of your mouth or skull to support a tooth or dental implant, including a crown, bridge, orthodontic bridge or denture. Tooth implants have enabled disabled or injured people to chew their food and eat normally again, thanks to specially-designed devices that fuse to the jawbone to hold a tooth or teeth in place. A tooth implant usually requires two procedures: one to implant the replacement tooth and another to secure the new dental appliance to the jawbone. A periodontist is the most qualified person to perform any of these procedures. Periodontists are also skilled in the field of cosmetic dentistry and can give you advice on the best procedure for achieving the perfect smile.
Tooth implant procedures have changed over the years. The first dental implants were installed by simply inserting the crown - essentially a bulb-like artificial tooth - into the jawbone through the gums. This process often required several months of healing, and was a challenge for speech therapists who had to teach patients how to speak normally again after losing a tooth or more. A tooth implant now incorporates the use of a metal screw that acts as the interface between the tooth replacement and the jawbone, with the crown securely placed into the gums. An implant screw is similar to the screw that attaches the head of an eyeglass to the temple. The screw functions in much the same way.
Since the inception of the titanium dental implant, which is the most common material used for tooth implants, doctors have been able to create tooth implants with improved functionality. Previously, titanium would break down after extensive exposure to oxygen because it is a soft metal. A dental implant is made of a hard metal alloy that has superior tensile strength and is used for this function. It provides a permanent solution to lost teeth, but because of its durability, it is also safe for long-term use.
When a patient loses a number of teeth, he may need to replace them with dentures, and these can take quite some time to find the perfect match. Dental implants are able to match the color, size, shape, and feel of natural teeth very well, so that a patient will have no trouble at all finding a set that fits properly. The dentures, meanwhile, are attached using a strong metal clip that holds them firmly in place until it is time to replace them. Because of this consistency, dental implants often last longer than dentures. They are also often less expensive than dentures, which makes them an attractive option for many patients.
Tooth implant operations usually last from one to three months, and the entire procedure must be performed under local anesthesia. Once the osseointegration process has been completed, the implant will then be placed in the jawbone. From here, the gums will need to heal and the final bonding of the crown will occur. Once this is done, the patient will be able to eat and have confidence that his or her smile will not go unnoticed. Because it is important for the patient to be able to chew food without problem, the recovery time for this procedure often times varies between one to three months.
Tooth implant failure is rare, but when it does occur, it can be extremely painful. If your implant fails, you should contact your dentist as soon as possible to discuss the possibility of replacement. Failure of an implant does not always mean that a replacement has to be done, but it is important to remember that the condition can occur if you do not follow the proper surgical protocol.
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