Implants can be used to replace a single missing tooth, several teeth or all of one’s teeth. While the cost tends to be greater, implants more closely resembles the look and feel of own teeth. An implant is an artificial tooth root and can be made from various materials including titanium. Unlike removable dentures or fixed bridges, dental implants are surgically “implanted” under the gum tissue in the jaw bone.
Steps Involves in Dental Implantation
- Surgical placement of the implant(s) into the bone. This is usually done right in the dentist’s office, with a local anesthetic. After surgery, there is a healing period of approximately four months. During this time, the implants fuse to the bone by a process known as ‘osseointegration’
- Next, there is a minor surgical exposure of the top of the implant, whereby the dentist will attach the post to the implant. The function of the post is to become the support for either one tooth or a set of teeth. This is a short procedure that usually requires only local anesthesia.
- The last phase is the restorative phase. The dentist will take impressions and then make a prosthesis that will attach to the implants. This will require several visits. Once completed, your mouth will be restored to natural looking, strong teeth.
Overall Success Rate For Dental Implants
Dental implants do not have a 100% success rate. However, the success rates have improved dramatically since the introduction of dental implant surgery and the dental profession can proudly report success rates well above 90% for most implant patients. Similarly, long-term success rates are in the high 90% range and are likewise improving. When a dental implant has not successfully integrated, it may need to be removed, as it cannot easily be “converted” to osseointegrate.