Will dental implant procedures work for me?
In extreme cases, a good dental implant can prove the difference between tackling a 10-part degustation meal or consuming your protein through a straw.
Best described as a surgical component that connects with the bone of the jaw or skull to anchor a dental prosthesis such as a crown, bridge or denture, implants are as close as the dental industry can get to replacing a missing tooth or groups of missing teeth.
But few people are truly aware what dental implant procedures actually involve.
Before discussing who is most suitable to receive a dental implant, it’s best to start with who is not suitable for such an intrusive operation. Owing to the fact it involves a surgical procedure, candidates in poor physical health or with acute health issues are usually advised against going ahead with such surgery.
It’s important to note that this does not signal that the candidate will never be suitable, rather that it’s best to wait until you are fighting fit before undertaking an elective surgery such as that being discussed.
In addition, those who have very little bone density are also sometimes cautioned against undergoing such a procedure. Because the dental implant is placed into bone, it will prove ineffective if there is no bone in which to hold the implant in place with.
Despite this, there is no evidence to suggest there’s a difference between putting dental implants into patients with osteoporosis and those without reduced bone density.
Lasting for 25 years
While some patients argue dental implants feel slightly different to normal teeth, generally speaking, their appearance is the same.
In terms of maintenance of their implants, I advise my patients to treat the implanted tooth just as they would any of their other teeth, with regular brushing, flossing and dental cleaning.
While they can’t decay, problems will usually only occur where bacteria builds up around the gum near the implant. For this reason, it’s important to keep the area around the implant clean.
Responding to trauma
In the event someone with a dental implant finds themselves in a traumatic situation such as enduring a head clash during sport or being involved in a car accident, it’s important to book an appointment with your dental health professional as soon as possible after the event. This is both to ensure that there’s no damage to existing teeth and to confirm the implanted tooth has not been compromised.
While it’s not a common occurrence, sometimes when there is severe trauma, the dental implant may be knocked out. This is because unlike normal teeth where the tooth is connected to the bone via little ligaments, in dental plants the bone grows and adheres directly to the implant.