HEALTH: Dental Implants

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By Dr. Matthew Weekes
August 14th, 2013 Edition

Dental implants are metal titanium cone shaped screw-like devices that are inserted into a prepared area in the bone at the crest of the ridge, at the site of a missing tooth. If there is only a single tooth missing, one implant should be sufficient for the replacement. However if multiple teeth are missing, then multiple implants may be required. If all the conditions are met, implant- supported fabricated teeth provide the best restoration. Alternative treatments are the placement of bridges or dentures.

The implants are the foundation for the artificial teeth that look and function like natural teeth. Implants however require near ideal conditions. There must be adequate healthy bone. However grafted bone is often added to the surgical site when there is insufficient bone.

Once the site has been thoroughly evaluated and approved for implant placement by the dentist, the first stage involves minor surgery for the placement of the implants after ”freezing ” the site by a local anesthetic. The procedure is usually painless with little or no after effects. In most cases it is desirable to wait for approximately 6 months while the bone painlessly remodels around the implant. This process is called osseus integration. The final stage is the fabrication of teeth that are firmly attached to the implants. The artificial teeth will look close to your natural teeth, and unlike dentures do not have to be removed at night.

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