The pain and embarrassment of having a missing tooth might make you reluctant to share your smile. Restorative dentistry options provide you with numerous choices to regain your beautiful smile. Dental implants are considered the gold standard tooth replacement options and offer a safe, permanent, and comfortable solution.
Dental implants look more like natural teeth than other options and don’t require special maintenance. You brush and floss them as you do with your existing teeth. If you considering replacing your missing teeth, you might be wondering, ‘How does a tooth implant work’?
The No Gaps Dental team can explain what dental implants are, each step in the process, and the success rates of dental implants.
How Does a Tooth Implant Work: The Science Behind Dental Implants
A dental implant is a prosthesis surgically implanted in the jaw. Most dental implants are made of titanium or zirconia alloys. These materials are highly biocompatible, minimising the risk of implant failure.
The screw-shaped implant posts feature threads that encourage your jawbone to fuse with the implant. They feature bioactive coating agents like calcium phosphate and vitamin D, which act as a growth matrix to promote osseointegration. They are also coated in an antibiotic film to reduce bacterial infection.
Dental implants work via osseointegration. This natural mechanism occurs when the implant post applies pressure to the jawbone. The force triggers the release of osteoblasts, specialised mesenchymal cells (stem cells), responsible for synthesising the bone matrix and regulating bone mineralisation on the post’s surface.
The jawbone cells are deposited around the implant screw threads, stabilising the post. This allows it to act as a tooth root, ensuring it can withstand intense bite forces, so you can eat, chew, and speak naturally.
The dental implant sits below the gum line, so your dentist adds an abutment or connector piece between the post and the restoration. The abutment screws into the dental implant, and the gum tissue grows around it, securing it in place. The top of the abutment is conical, designed to fit the interior of a dental crown, denture plate, or bridge.
Understanding the Dental Implant Procedure
Understanding how a tooth implant works requires some knowledge about the dental implant procedure. Every stage of the process allows enough time for the body to generate new growth to secure the implant and abutment. Allowing this time ensures the stability and comfort of the implant.
During your initial consultation, your dentist determines whether you are a candidate for dental implants and if you need any preparatory surgeries before the posts are embedded. After applying hand sanitiser and gloves, they manually examine your teeth and gums to check for signs of decay, injury, infection, or gum disease.
Your mouth is then scanned using digital X-ray technology to assess your jawbone density, sinus membrane thickness, and the position of your remaining teeth. These 3D scans also help your dentist map out your dental implant procedure.
If you have bone deterioration due to resorption at the site of a missing tooth, you may need a bone graft to prepare your jaw for implantation. If you lack adequate bone, you are more likely to experience implant instability and failure. Recovery from a bone graft takes between three and six months.
For a successful dental implant procedure, you must have healthy gum tissue. If your initial exam shows signs of gum disease, you’ll need periodontal therapy to address the issue. Depending on the severity of the gum disease, your dentist may prescribe scaling and root planing procedures, antibiotics, or gum flap surgery.
Embedding the implant
Once you have healed from your preparatory surgeries, your dentist schedules your dental implant procedure. During the first surgery, they surgically implant the post in your jaw.
After applying a local anaesthetic, and inhaled or IV sedation for nervous patients, your dentist, incises the gum tissue to expose the bone underneath. They drill a tiny hole in the jaw and screw the implant in place. Your dentist will close the wound with dissolvable sutures.
It usually takes between four and six months for osseointegration to occur. You can aid this process by avoiding tobacco, maintaining your regular oral hygiene routine, using an antibacterial rinse, and avoiding strenuous activity. Also, wash your hands thoroughly or use a hand sanitiser before eating or performing oral hygiene. Preventing infection and trauma is critical.
Placing the abutment
Once the implant has integrated with the jaw, your dentist places the abutment. They administer a local anaesthetic, reopen your gum, and screw the abutment into the implant. They will finish the procedure by closing your gum around the abutment. Your gum heals in approximately two weeks.
After placing the abutment, they will take another 3D scan of your mouth to ensure your new restoration matches your existing teeth. You are fitted with a temporary crown while waiting for your custom crown to be fabricated. The temporary crown ensures osseointegration continues by placing stress on the bone.
Adding the restoration
The dental implant procedure ends with receiving your permanent crown, bridge, or denture. Your dentist removes the temporary restoration and attaches the permanent one with bonding cement or a screw.
This process doesn’t require anaesthesia, so you may feel some pressure, which is normal and passes quickly. You’ll walk out of the clinic ready to eat, drink, and smile with confidence.
The Success Rate of Dental Implants
One study estimates the success of the staged dental implant procedure at 92% over a 15-year period. Many factors influence implant survival, including:
- Tobacco use
- Oral hygiene
- A history of periodontitis
Developing healthy lifestyle habits can help prevent serious complications from arising. You can begin by maintaining an excellent oral health routine, eating a balanced diet, and visiting your dentist for regular checkups. Also, get regular checkups with your physician to prevent any health problems affecting your implants.
Trust No Gaps Dental to Restore Your Smile
The friendly, knowledgeable staff at No Gaps Dental can answer your questions regarding how a tooth implant works. Request an appointment on our website and learn whether you qualify for a tooth implant.
At No Gaps Dental, we take hygiene seriously. To protect our patients, we use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser as we enter and leave each patient care area.
We clean surgical instruments in an autoclave that vibrates minute debris off the tools and a steriliser that uses heat and steam up to 134℃ to remove bacteria.
We clean each room between patients with clinical-strength detergent. This cleaning includes the bench tops, dental units, and glasses. We are committed to protecting our patients at every stage of dental treatment.
Call us now on (02) 8007 6727.
Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.
Comparison of Long-term Survival of Implants and Endodontically Treated Teeth
Factors Affecting the Survival Rate of Dental Implants: A Retrospective Study