A dental implant is a surgical procedure used to replace one or more missing teeth. Teeth are necessary for proper chewing, to present a nice smile, and assist with other natural functions of the mouth, such as speaking clearly. Earliest records of dental implants being used to replace natural teeth date to about 600 A.D. Early skulls in the Mayan civilization show evidence that shaped stones and parts of sea shells were used to replace natural teeth that were missing. Thousands of years later, people still need teeth in order to function in society. The method of dental implants is not so different from that of the Mayans.
Dental Implant Procedure
Dental implants are not always used to replicate a took. Dentures are commonly used when teeth and tissue are missing. It is possible to have either partial dentures or a full set of upper and lower dentures that are removable. In some cases, dentures are not an option. Prior to dental implants, a solution to a single missing tooth, or a few teeth, is a bridge connected to the natural remaining teeth. A problem with this procedure is that a bridge, similar to a denture is also removable, getting a proper fit can be difficult.
In the early years of tooth replication. The implant procedure could not be custom-made to fit an individual’s mouth. These early implants were produced in one width, and the orthopedic surgeon could only adjust the length to fit each patient. This was not a very practical solution for missing teeth. In today’s society, with improvements made to the dental implant procedure, some people are even using implants cosmetically in order to enhance their appearance.
Often when teeth are missing the jawbone is also weak, leaving nothing to stabilize dentures or a bridge. One major improvement in today’s dental implants is the process of making the tooth or multiple teeth. Rather than the surfaces being polished by a machine until smooth, and all implants looking the same, each implant is designed independently so that it more closely resembles the tooth it is replacing. The advantage in this new design is that the surface area attaching to the bone is larger and has a greater chance to attach more comfortably.
Dental implant attachment is a specialized field of surgical dentistry. Not all dentists are trained to do implant surgery. However, many orthopedic surgeons have taken the comprehensive courses for certification in this field. Implant education courses are offered around the world at specific dental medicine universities, or through private instruction. The study of performing implant surgery may take one through two years for a proper in depth education.
In situations when dentures or a removable bridge is not possible, dental implants offer a more permanent solution. Implants are also much more expensive procedure than the more common options to replace missing teeth. As long as the implant candidate is in good health, a non-smoker, and has no serious diseases such as cancer, uncontrolled diabetes, or uncontrolled gum disease, the implant surgery should be successful and fuse properly to the jaw bone.
An important step in the beginning, prior to the surgery, x-rays and studies are required to analyze the mouth and 3D scans done so that the implants will be placed in the bone in the correct position. This dental implant procedure is preferably performed by a team of dental professionals. Included on this team, there should be a surgical specialist, such as an oral surgeon or dentist who has studied the process and has the special training required. Other members of the team include a lab technician who makes the teeth and a dentist who places them into the patient’s mouth.
Maintenance of the dental implants are extremely important after the surgery is complete. Daily oral cleaning is necessary, as with natural teeth. Brushing and more specifically, flossing will keep bacteria from causing problems inside the mouth. Regular visits to a dental hygienist is important for cleaning the implants – special instruments are used in this procedure.
Dental Implant Insurance
Expect a single tooth implant to take about one hour. If more implants are being done, the procedure might take two to three hours. Dental implants are not typically covered by dental insurance unless you’ve been so fortunate to find this article. This site offers no waiting period dental insurance for implants!
Or if you want to pay cash for your dental implants expect to pay the cost of specialized training and treatment. Costs can vary depending on the number of visits needed and the individuals that make up the dental team. Estimates of $1000 to $3000 per tooth is a wide range, however, the skill and training needed to do the procedure is not worth shopping for the lowest price.