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How Does a Dental Implant Work? The Science Behind Dental Implants

If you have ever considered what it would be like to have a natural-looking smile again, you may wonder about your missing tooth replacement options. But if the thought of wearing removable dentures makes you feel uncomfortable, there are alternative solutions like dental implants. 

If you are looking for a permanent restoration that feels, looks, and functions like your natural teeth, dental implants may be the solution for renewing your smile. Book your consultation with No Gaps Dental to learn how does a dental implant work and the benefits of dental implants.  

 

How Does a Dental Implant Work: The Science Behind Dental Implants

A dental implant is a prosthetic structure made of alloplastic materials that is surgically implanted in the jawbone. Most dental implants are made of titanium alloy; titanium is a highly biocompatible material that reduces the risk of implant rejection and failure. 

process implants tooth sydneyThe titanium posts are typically coated in bioactive agents like vitamin D or calcium phosphate, which helps to minimise bacterial infection and form a growth matrix to facilitate osseointegration. 

Osseointegration is the primary mechanism by which dental implants work. When the implant post is screwed into the jawbone, the pressure applied to the jawbone triggers the release of osteoblasts. These specialised mesenchymal cells (stem cells) synthesise bone matrix and regulate bone mineralisation around the implant surface. 

As the bone cells grow around the implant post screw threads, this stabilises the implant post, allowing it to mimic a natural tooth root. This stability allows the artificial tooth to withstand intense bite forces, so you can eat, chew, and speak naturally. 

The dental implant sits below the gum line, so your dentist must place a connector (abutment) between the implant and the restoration. The abutment screws into the dental implant post, and the gum forms around the abutment to anchor it in place. The abutment has a slightly conical shape to secure the dental crown, bridge, or denture plate.

 

How Does a Dental Implant Work: What to Expect From a Dental Implant Procedure

The dental implant procedure occurs in several stages to allow the implant site to heal and the post to osseointegrate. The stages of a dental implant procedure include:

 

Initial consultation

Your dentist assesses your oral health and jawbone density during your initial consultation using X-rays and digital scanning technology. Adequate jawbone density is crucial to provide enough tissue to stabilise and fuse with the implant post. If your scans show inadequate jawbone tissue depth or density, your dentist may prescribe a bone graft or a sinus lift to build up enough tissue. 

If your dentist detects signs of gum disease, you’ll need periodontal therapy to address the issue. This ensures that the gum anchoring the abutment and restoration is healthy and won’t recede and expose the implant to damage. 

Once your dentist has performed an initial examination, they’ll schedule your dental implant procedure

 

 

Implant placement

Your dentist performs the dental implant placement under local anaesthetic. However, for anxious patients, you can request inhalation sedation which uses a combination of oxygen and nitrous oxide gases to put you into a deep state of relaxation during the dental implant procedure

After administering the anaesthetic, your doctor incises the gum tissue to expose the jawbone underneath. They drill a small hole, slightly deeper than the metal implant post, then screw the post into place. Your dentist then sutures the wound closed and packs the area with gauze. 

Your dentist provides you with a list of aftercare instructions to help prevent infection and facilitate the healing process. This may include eating a soft food diet, using cold therapy to reduce swelling, rinsing with saline solution, and taking OTC pain-relieving medication. Your dentist may also prescribe a course of antibiotics.

You’ll have a follow-up appointment around two weeks after placement to ensure the site is healing correctly and there are no signs of infection. If you notice persistent bleeding, swelling, soreness, or pus around the area, contact No Gaps Dental immediately for an evaluation. 

 

Abutment placement

The osseointegration process takes between three and six months, depending on your general health and immune system. After your implant site has healed, your dentist schedules the abutment placement appointment. 

During this appointment, your dentist opens the gum tissue to expose the implant, screws the abutment in place, and closes the gum tissue around, but not over, the connector.  

 

Adding the restoration

science behind tooth implants sydneyThe site needs to heal for at least two weeks after placing the abutment; then, you’ll have another appointment to take dental impressions. 

There are several restoration options available for dental implants. If you need a full dental arch replacement, your dentist may have recommended All-on-4 dental implants, which use a denture plate restoration. You may need an implant-supported bridge for several consecutive missing teeth that uses one or two dental implants to support the crowns and pontic. For a single missing tooth, you need a dental crown. 

At No Gaps Dental, we offer traditional dental crowns made from porcelain ceramic or porcelain-fused-to-metal, which take several weeks to fabricate in the lab. We also offer CEREC crowns that are milled on-site in under an hour. 

To create CEREC crowns, your dentist scans your implant site using 3D digital technology. The data is sent to the CEREC software system, which makes a virtual model of the crown. The information is sent to the milling machine, which crafts your dental crown from a solid block of zirconia ceramic colour-matched to your natural teeth. When the crown is ready, your dentist cements it onto the abutment. 

 

Regain Your Smile and Confidence with Dental Implants at No Gaps Dental

If you are missing teeth and are considering dental implants, contact No Gaps Dental on 02 8007 6727 for an appointment. We have 15 conveniently located practices around Sydney where our experienced team of dental professionals can explain how a dental implant works and determine if you are a candidate for the dental implant procedure.

 

 

 

Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.

 

 

 

 

References

About Dental Implants
https://www.aaid.com/about/Press_Room/History_and_Background.html 

Dental Implants
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK470448/

 

 

 

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