Tooth enamel is one of the hardest and strongest parts of the human body. Therefore, when it comes to replacing lost teeth, the dental implants used must be very strong and durable. The correct implants can also help to maintain the shape of the face, as when teeth are lost, the skin of the face can sink in or sag.
The most common material used to make dental implants (medically named endosteal implants) is titanium. Not only is titanium extremely strong, but it is also compatible with the human body. This means that the patient’s natural bone can fuse together with the implant, making it stronger and more like natural teeth. This is also better for any of the patient’s own teeth as a stronger, supporting structure.
The titanium post looks a little bit like a screw and is surgically placed into the jawbone. This titanium screw part is called an abutment. Once the healing process has worked its magic and fused the titanium together with the bone, the visible part of the implant (the crown) is then connected to the post with the abutment. This process can take some time, which varies from weeks to months, depending on the patient.
The crown itself is most often made from porcelain, which is also highly durable, and will be made to look just like the patient’s other teeth, so that it looks as natural as possible. Dental implants are made especially for the patient in question, so they come in all shapes and sizes and will fit into the patient’s mouth perfectly. The colour is also taken into account.
Aftercare is highly important when it comes to dental implants. Although the implant won’t be in danger of getting a cavity like natural teeth, it can still become damaged over time, so regular visits to the dentist is a must.
Another type of implant is the subperiosteal implant. This isn’t as invasive as an endosteal implant and involves placing the implant underneath the gum, but not actually into the jaw. This is suitable for people with a narrow jaw line or if they don’t want the more in depth surgical procedure. However, they won’t be as strong as regular implants.
Finally, it’s important to make sure that an expert in dental implants is found to perform the procedure. Not all dentists are qualified to carry out the surgery and it’s vital that it’s done correctly to avoid complications during and after.