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What Are Dental Implants, And How Are They Used

By Expert Author: Abby Smith

Dental implants are essentially artificial roots made of titanium or titanium alloy that are inserted into the jaw. When in place, they are used to support components such as dentures and bridges. A dental care dentist in Toronto can provide implants for people who have lost teeth through accident, decay, gum disease, or for some other reason.

The most common type of implants are known as endosteal ('in the bone'). There are a number of different types, but are typically screws, blades or cylinders. They are inserted directly into the jawbone and can support one or more dentures. Endosteal implants are mainly used as an alternative solution for people with removable dentures or bridges.

Other (less often) used type of implants are known as subperiosteal Con the bone'). These are inserted on top of the gum and underneath the jaw. When in place, metal posts protrude through the gums, the necessary components being attached to these posts. These type of implants are suitable for people who have insufficient bone for the attachment of endosteal implants.

In order to be suitable for implant work, patients need to be in good general health. They will also ideally have an adequate level of bone density in the jaw, and have healthy gums that are disease-free. Those who drink and or smoke heavily may be declined treatment. A serious drawback of these habits is their effect on post-procedure healing. They can also negatively affect existing teeth which can complicate procedure planning.

As far as the number of implants needed, this will depend on the individual patient. Patients with a good level of bone density in the jaw will generally require fewer implants than those with poorer bone density. While one implant will be needed to replace one tooth, several teeth will not necessarily require an implant per tooth. A single implant can often be perfectly adequate to support several teeth. For example, as few as four implants can support an entire row of teeth, although five or six will more often be used.

A common issue for many patients is poor bone density in the upper-rear jaw. This area can also be problematic due to the close proximity of the sinus. This can be overcome with a procedure know as sinus augmentation. Essentially, this involves raising the level of the sinus membrane and adding bone to the jaw. Once the work is done, implants can be fitted, although the patient will need to wait for between four and nine months to allow the mouth and bone to fully heal.

It's important to note that any existing oral health problems need to be dealt with before any implant work can be undertaken. In fact, implant work is often sought by patients as a result of long-standing dental problems. Common issues like periodontal (gum) disease, decay and abscesses must be addressed before implant work can begin.

Overall, dental implant work is often straightforward and provides highly satisfactory results for most patients. There is of course some discomfort involved, but modern dental procedures make the whole process of dental work vastly easier to bear than in the past. A dental care dentist in Toronto will be able to fit implants that will not only improve their patients smile, but their quality of life, too.

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