Dental implants are an established and acceptable treatment modality to replaced missing teeth.
Implants are artificial tooth roots onto which crowns and bridges are attached, but which also stabilise removable dentures. A dental implant is a metal post that replaces the root of a missing tooth. An artificial tooth (crown) is placed on an extension of the post (abutment) on the dental implant, giving you the look of a real tooth.
Dental implant surgery is usually an outpatient surgery performed in stages:
- Your damaged tooth is removed.
- Your jawbone is prepared for surgery, a process that may involve bone grafting.
- The surgeon then places the dental implant in your jawbone and allows it to heal. Once this stage is complete a crown is fabricated with its support.
- Often takes three to four appointments to complete.
- Single missing teeth and multiple teeth or the whole set of upper and lower teeth can be replaced using implant retained dentures.
Complications associated with dental implants:
- Infection; leading to loss of bone graft, soft tissue coverage or even the whole implant. Smoking and poorly controlled diabetes increases the risk.
- Damage to the nerve supplying sensation to lower lip
- Damage to the maxillary sinuses
- Inability to position the implant due to lack of bone/ presence of vital structures.