Most adults who have missing teeth will have approached their dentist for a solution. If you did this prior to the year 2000, you will undoubtedly have been offered either a fitted bridge or a denture to close the gap in your smile and to help you to retain your bite and chewing strength.
However, since around the year 2000, more dental surgeries have been aiming to offer a more permanent solution to missing teeth in the form of oral implants. These are simply titanium fixtures which fuse to the jaw and allow prosthetic teeth to be attached to the top. The simplicity of the procedure has made dental implants Herefordshire an incredibly popular cosmetic and restorative option.
Curious to learn a bit more about these restorative options? Read on for a simplified guide.
What are oral implants?
As briefly mentioned earlier, oral implants are actually the portion of the fixture that is attached to the jaw via surgery. They are small titanium screws and the most commonly used option is an endosteal implant followed closely by a subperiosteal implant, a zygomatic implant and a mini implant.
They fuse to your draw over around 3 to 6 months, after which your dentist will be able to attach a prosthetic tooth or teeth.
The fitting of implants is nothing to be concerned about as, like most dental procedures that involve fitting restoratives, there will be a lot of numbing agents involved! Your dentist will numb the area with local anaesthetic or if you are a nervous patient they may even be able to offer you sedation.
The area where the oral implant is to be fitted will have been chosen at the initial consultation and your dental team will make a small incision into the gum, peeling it back to expose the bone. After this, they will drill a small hole into your jaw and fit the implant, securing it in place with your gum line being sewn together.
The aftercare for oral implants is straightforward. For a few weeks post fitting, you need to prevent the implant site from attracting any debris or plaque, which can cause infections. Rather than brushing the sore gums, you should aim to rinse the area with salt water instead. Aside from this, you should also eat soft nutritious foods and drink plenty of water. Make sure you have pain relief to hand such as paracetamol, and avoid blood thinning pain relief such as ibuprofen and aspirin.
The prosthetic tooth or teeth that are going to be attached to the implant will be colour, shape and shade-matched to blend in with your natural surrounding teeth, so they will not look fake and nobody will know you have them! That is of course unless you want to have a gleaming white smile which can be achieved if you were having a full set of dentures secured via oral implants.
The complications that surround oral implants are low. There is a very minor risk of the implant being rejected by the body, but this is unlikely as titanium is biologically inert. The second risk is an infection occurring around the implant site. If you suspect you have an infection after having implants fitted, you need to seek advice from your emergency dental team.