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Despite improvements in dental care, millions of patients suffer tooth loss - mostly due to tooth decay, periodontitis (gum disease), or injury. For many years, the only treatment options available for these patients with missing teeth were bridges and dentures. But, today, dental implants are available.
Implants are used to replace the roots of missing teeth.They provide a strong foundation for a conventional crown to be placed or removable teeth.
1.  The first step in the dental implant process is the development of an individualized treatment plan. The plan addresses your specific needs and is prepared after numerous xrays and a sectional CT scanof the area where we plan on placing the implants.
2.  Next, the tooth root implant, which is a small post(fixture) made of titanium, is placed into the bone socket of the missing tooth. As the jawbone heals, it grows around the implanted metal post, anchoring it securely in the jaw. The healing process can take from six to 12 weeks.
3.  Once the implant has bonded to the jawbone, a small connector post -- called an abutment -- is attached to the post to securely hold the new tooth.This is left so the gums can heal around the connector for 1-2 weeks./p>
4.  Once healed we proceed to make the new tooth or teeth, we make impressions of your teeth to create a model of your bite (which captures all of your teeth, their type, and arrangement). The new tooth or teeth is based on this model. A replacement tooth, called a crown, is then attached to the abutment, after a couple of weeks once back from the laboratory.
5.  Final adjustments are made to the crown, and it is tried in numerous times before we finally permanenlty cement the crown to the implant.
6.  We will then place you on a strict oral hygiene recall to maintain the implant and surrounding teeth and gums to ensure long-term success.
After implant treatment, your lips and gums may remain numb for a few hours until the anesthetic wears off. Later you may have mild soreness, which you can treat with pain medicines, such as ibuprofen, paracetamol, or a stronger prescription painkiller with supplemental antibiotics. The pain usually lasts only a few days.
The risk of not having treatment and leaving the gap can be drifting of the adjacent teeth into the space, decreased chewing capabilty on one side, excessive wear of front teeth if multiple back teeth are missing, and the tooth above the space if not in contact could overgrow into the space.
With any implant procedure there are associated risks, albeit small and unlikely, it is something everyone should know. They include: prolonged numbness and altered sensation, pain, swelling or infection after the implant, recurrent infections despite treatment, jaw ache (due to keeping mouth open for a long time), and the implant not healing and loss of fixture.
Currently apart from leaving the gap,dental bridges and dentures are the alternatives to having a dental implant.
When considering a fixed single tooth replacment tooth replacement, you can have either a bridge or an implant. A bridge may be slightly less costly however they do not last as long and compromise healthy teeth. Bridges can last 5-15 years with good oral hygiene and genearal care. Implants with simlar care can last a lifetime, as their success is only dependant on the implant fixture and not on two teeth either side.
"How long do implants last?"
Success rates of dental implants vary, depending on where in the jaw the implants are placed but, in general, dental implants have a success rate of up to 98%. With proper care, implants can last a lifetime