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How Dental Implants Work? All You Should Know About Dental Restoration

Dental implants have been successfully used to replace missing teeth for the past 40 years. Even today, implant-based restorations are considered the gold standard of tooth replacement.

If you’re considering replacing a missing tooth with a dental implant, you might want to know how dental implants work and why they’re so special. Booking a consultation at your local dental clinic will help you understand the procedure.

In this post, we’ll look at the dental implant procedure and explain how they stay in the mouth.

Before we start, however, we need to clear something up. When we refer to the term ‘dental implant,’ we’re actually talking about the titanium post. On to this goes the abutment and finally, the dental crown. These are the three elements that make up an implant-based tooth restoration. 

 

So how are dental implants different from other forms of missing tooth replacement? 

guide procedure tooth implant sydneyConventional dentures and dental bridges rely on the support of other structures in the mouth to hold them in position – namely teeth and gums.

Dentures, for example, are designed to sit on the bony ridge of the mouth, while dental bridges need the support of adjacent teeth. 

Dental implants, on the other hand, are different. They are designed to anchor into the jawbone itself – so they are, in effect, a standalone structure and don’t, therefore, rely on the support of other teeth. This makes them unique. 

 

So how do dental implants work once in the mouth?

After a patient undergoes a dental implant procedure to place the implant into the jaw, recovery follows. Not just for the area to heal but also to allow a process known as osseointegration to occur. 

 

 

So what is osseointegration exactly?

To explain this, we need to go back to the time before you lost your tooth. At that time, your tooth was supported by a root, which was, in turn, supported by bone tissue. When the tooth (and root) was lost your body determined there was no longer a need for the supporting bone tissue and resorbed it back into the body.

This is why we experience bone loss when we lose teeth. In fact, approximately 25% of the bone density diminishes within the first year after tooth loss. As the bone shrinks, so too does the gum tissue. This is why it’s essential to act quickly when a tooth is missing.

When a dental implant is placed into the jaw at the missing tooth site, it tricks the bone tissue into thinking that it is indeed a tooth root. Over a period of around 2-3 months, the remaining bone tissue will bond or fuse with the implant to create a super-strong structure that, in effect, becomes part of the mouth. In other words, dental implants work by integrating entirely with human bone (osseointegration).

Once the implant has fully stabilised, it’s then strong enough to support a single crown, a dental bridge, or become one of several implants supporting a complete arch of teeth.

That’s how dental implants work

 

How long does the dental implant procedure take?

The actual dental implant surgery takes around 1 hour to complete and should be a comfortable and pain-free experience. However, because there are several stages – e.g., fitting the implant, osseointegration, abutment fitting, and finally, the restoration itself – the process can take up to nine months to complete.

Timescales vary from patient to patient depending upon their healing (bone fusion) capabilities, but typically, patients should allow 4-6 months for a dental implant restoration.

The time taken to complete a dental implant procedure may seem like a long slog, but the end result is a hassle-free tooth restoration that can last for many years.

 

How dental implants work – A comparison

As already stated, a dental implant is a standalone structure that becomes part of the mouth over time.

dental implant process steps sydneyThe advantages of this are that implants can restore somewhere between 85%-95% of your bite functionality.

Inevitably, this means that you can enjoy the foods you love without restriction.

Alternatively, because a traditional denture is supported by hard and soft tissue and not bone, it doesn’t have the strength of dental implants or implant-retained dentures, typically retaining just 30% – 40% bite functionality

This is why many denture patients need to adapt their diet and avoid overly hard or crunchy foods when wearing traditional dentures. 

 

What about longevity?

The technology behind dental implants is designed so that ridges of the metal implant post provide a roughened surface area for bone to grow over. Once fully stabilised, the dental implant itself can last indefinitely. It’s only the dental restoration itself (the crown) that may need changing.

Now compare this with traditional dentures. Because they sit on the gumline, dentures are not able to halt the bone loss process. Therefore as the jawbone shrinks, snug-fitting dentures become loose. This is why dentures need ongoing adjustment and, eventually, replacement – typically every 5-10 years. 

 

Dental implants – the key takeaway

Once you know how dental implants work, it’s easier to understand why they are so popular and how they have remained at the forefront of dentistry for over 40 years. The question is, are you ready to take the plunge?

As a multi-clinic organisation, No Gaps Dental has 15 convenient locations scattered throughout the Sydney Metropolitan area – schedule your dental implants consultation at your local dental clinic. Call us now on (02) 8806 0227.

 

 

Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. 

 

References

Missing Teeth And Bone Loss
https://www.panoramaoralsurgery.ca/site/blog/2016/08/30/missing-teeth-and-bone-loss 

A comparative Evaluation of Chewing Efficiency, Masticatory Bite Force and Patient Satisfaction
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5730927 

Evaluation of Maximum Bite Force In Patients With Dentures
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5874385  

American College Of Prosthodontists – Denture FAQ’s
https://www.gotoapro.org/dentures-faq

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