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Recent advances in technology have seen dental implants become the preferred choice for replacing missing teeth. Due to aesthetics, convenience and durability, they have become a preferable option to dentures. In alot of cases they can be permanent solution for crowns and bridges which will not damage the surrounding teeth.
A dental implant consists of three parts:
- Implant: a titanium rod which acts as the root, ready for a replacement crown.
- Abutment: an internal screw which connects the implant to the crown.
- Crown: the replacement for a natural tooth. Crowns are made out of porcelain, porcelain fused to metal or full cast metal
Straight forward implant procedures are done in two stages. In the first stage the implant rod and the abutment are fitted. Your gums then require three to eight months to heal. After this another smaller operation is required to have the crown fitted. Temporary crowns can be fitted for the healing period.
Prior to the operation an X-ray or CT scan is required to allow the dentist to assess your bone density. If there is not enough bone for the implant to be placed, you will require additional bone or bonelike material to be grafted to your jaw, a procedure known as bone augmentation. This involves adding bone or a synthetic bone substitute to the area where the implants will be placed. The dentist will need to wait between four to nine months before placing implants. The success rate for bone grafts in the jaws for the purpose of placing dental implants is very high.
To allow the upper jaw accommodate implants some patients will require a sinus lift. This is an operation which involves lifting the maxillary sinus membrane. Your maxillary sinuses are on either side of your nose above your molars and premolars. A sinus life should be done by a specialist which could be a maxillofacial surgeon or a periodontist. The recovery period is four to eight months.