An Introduction to Dental Implants

Why implants are becoming increasingly popular with our Cheshunt patients.

Perhaps surprisingly, dental implants have been around for thousands of years. Early implants were very crude attempts to mimic a missing tooth and were often made from pieces of stone or seashell and were pushed into the jawbone in what must have been a very painful procedure indeed!

Modern dental implants though, really started in the 1960’s and constant improvements in both the implant itself and the procedure has led to them becoming an increasingly popular alternative to dentures for replacing lost or missing teeth at our Cheshunt dental practice.

What is a dental implant?

A dental implant is a metallic object that looks similar in appearance to a screw. This description though belies what is actually a precision made artificial tooth root. It is made from titanium due to this metal’s key role in the osseointegration process which we will come to shortly.

To place a dental implant where a tooth has been lost, first of all X-rays and scans are taken to determine the exact position of the implant. This is then placed by drilling a hole in the jaw and placing the implant into it.

Those with a fear of dental procedures should not be overly concerned by what probably sounds like a painful procedure. The bone actually contains relatively few nerves and is not overly sensitive to pain, and naturally, the procedure is performed using a local anaesthetic too.

Once the implant has been placed at the Lodge dental Suite, it is then left for a period of around 3 months. During this time the osseointegration process occurs. This is when the bone starts to bond with the implant, ensuring that it is held very strongly and securely in place.

Abutment and Crown

At this stage, the root of the tooth has, in effect, been replaced with the implant. To complete the procedure, an abutment (collar) is attached to the implant which, in turn, is used to attach a dental crown to complete both the appearance and functionality of the new replacement tooth.

Aftercare

Once a dental implant procedure has been completed, the patient is left with a very strong replacement tooth indeed. This tooth both looks, feels and can be cleaned almost exactly as you would a natural tooth.

There should be little or no restriction on the type of foods that you can eat, although we would advise, for your own comfort that you start with softer foods until you become more accustomed to the implant.

Brushing and flossing the tooth is also essential as, although the crown can not decay, the gums are still susceptible to gingivitis which could eventually threaten the implant if not treated in its early stages.

For more information about dental implants, why not call us to arrange a consultation at The Lodge Dental Suite in Cheshunt on 01992 643 388.