A dental implant is an artificial titanium stub that is drilled into the jaw bone. An artificial tooth is then affixed over the stub, once the jaw has properly healed. The implant serves to replace the root of the affected tooth, which may have been lost due to decay, among other reasons.
Depending on the number of teeth that need replacement, an individual dental implant or bridge implants may be used. An individual implant can be placed if it has nothing to do with the adjacent natural teeth. As it is directly inserted into the jawbone, and the neighboring teeth are not âdisturbed.â The crown of the tooth is then fixed over the implant.
A successful dental implant surgery can bring about a lot of amazing changes into the patientâs life. For one, an implant can bring back the smile to someone who lost his teeth, and with that, renewed self-confidence. The best part is, the implant is not only aesthetically beneficial, it is functional as well. Not only does it look like your natural tooth, it also functions and feels like you never lost a tooth. You can eat with your dental implant the same way you would eat with your original teeth.
Types of Dental Implants
There are basically three main types of dental implants – artificial bone substitute, endosteal, as well as sub-periosteal implants.
Artificial Bone Substitute Implant – The procedure uses a calcium substitute that is fitted on the jawbone. Over time, the substitute will bond with the jawbone.
Endosteal Implant – In this type of procedure, the implant is wedged in the jawbone in lieu of the tooth root. It is a special type of implant that is commonly used for elderly patients who are no longer able to wear dentures properly.
Sub-Periosteal Implant – When this procedure is used, the sub-periosteal implant is affixed directly on the jawbone.
What to Expect in a Dental Implant Surgery
Today, a dental implant surgery is a painless procedure, unlike in its early years. Local anesthesia is applied to the patient before the start of the procedure. However, only a maxillofacial surgeon or a qualified periodontist are allowed to perform the procedure.
After getting an implant, you must make sure to maintain, and take proper care of it. While implants do not require the same level of maintenance as natural teeth, you need to brush and floss them the way you would your original teeth. It is also important to have implants checked up by your dentist on a regular basis.
An implant costs a decent amount of money, ranging anywhere between $500 and $6000, depending on the kind of implant, and the involvement of a maxillofacial surgeon. In most cases, the procedure is not fully covered by insurance, and the patient has to shoulder the rest of the cost.