Dental implants are used to replace missing or damaged natural teeth. The implant replaces a natural tooth root and can help support, crowns, bridges or stabilize removable dentures. The advantage of getting dental implants is that once completed, the new teeth feel and look exactly like natural teeth.
The actual surgery can be carried out under local anesthetic or IV sedation (for anxious patients). The implant is then left in the jawbone for about 4-6 months while healing occurs. This fusion between the bone tissue and the titanium is called osseointegration. The new teeth are custom designed and shaded to suit each patient’s requests and dental needs.
Unlike crowns and bridges, dental implants don’t damage adjacent teeth during the preparation of fixed bridgework. Dental implants also prevent further bone loss which happens after losing natural teeth. If properly preserved implants may last up to 15-20 years. It was originally thought that bone would shrink about 0.5mm-1mm around implants per year however newer designs are kinder to surrounding bone and are showing very little bone loss in any respect.
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What about allergies to metals? Are dental implants safe?
Titanium is the most widely used material. Though other compounds have the potential to corrode and release harmful ions that could induce allergic responses, titanium is known for its exceptional resistance to corrosion and higher biocompatibility from the mouth.
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In studies carried out on orthopedic titanium implants symptoms from titanium, allergies caused skin rashes and even implant failure. The prevalence of allergic reactions to titanium hasn’t been well documented and is very rare.