So, you’re looking for an answer to the question, ‘how does a tooth implant work?’ Congratulations, you’ve come to the right place. As one of Sydney’s leading dental implant centres, we feel that we’re well equipped to talk to you about what dental implants are, how they work and how patients can benefit from undergoing a dental implant procedure in the long term.
So what exactly are dental implants?
A dental implant is, in effect, a substitute tooth root. It is made from a modern lightweight metal (typically titanium) and designed to be anchored directly into the jaw bone to support an artificial tooth or teeth.
How does a tooth implant work?
To properly understand how dental implants work, we must consider what happens when our natural teeth are in place. Each real tooth also has a tooth root. Each root is buried in the bone and anchors the tooth into position. When a tooth (and its root) are missing, the bone tissue that once supported the root is no longer required. As a result, it steadily gets reabsorbed back into the body. In fact, did you know that when a tooth is lost, the jawbone loses around 25% of its volume in the first year?
Unfortunately, conventional tooth replacement options like dentures and dental bridges cannot halt the bone loss process (known as absorption). As a result, the jaw bone will continue to shrink. This, in turn, will alter the shape of the face making you appear older than your years.
Conversely, when a dental implant is placed into the missing tooth site and attached to the bone, it tricks the body into thinking that a tooth root is there. As such, the bone resorption process is halted – no more bone shrinkage.
But wait, there’s more!
Dental implants are made from a biocompatible material that bone tissue is attracted to, usually titanium. So during a dental implant procedure, after an implant is anchored into the bone, the bone tissue grows over it in a process known as osseointegration. Osseointegration allows the implant to gain complete stability and become an integral part of the mouth. Once the implant has fully stabilised (typically between 2-5 months after dental implant surgery), it acts as a platform that can support a dental crown, a dental bridge, or as part of a group of dental implants supporting an entire arch of teeth. As a result, dental implants are multifunctional appliances that look, feel, and to a certain extent, act just like our natural teeth.
How does a tooth implant work in those with pre-existing bone loss?
If you have lived with tooth loss for some time or are a long-term denture wearer, then it’s highly likely you’ve experienced bone loss. Because a dental implant procedure requires that patients have sufficient bone to expedite proper anchorage, there may be a problem.
For this reason, a dentist may suggest a bone graft before any dental implant procedure to ensure sufficient bone for the implant to anchor into. In extreme cases where reabsorption is severe, a dentist may consider using the zygomatic (cheek) bone as a place of anchorage as it does not reabsorb. However, this is a specialist procedure typically performed by experienced oral surgeons only.
In essence, if you’ve been without teeth for six months or more, it’s highly likely that you have some form of jaw bone loss. Therefore you should expect to need bone augmentation before undergoing a dental implant procedure.
Bone augmentation is a standard procedure that adds bone to the implant site before placement, but bear in mind that it will also add additional time and cost to your dental implant plans.
So, how does a tooth implant work in the long term?
We’ve already mentioned that once stabilisation has occurred, dental implants become an integral part of the mouth. Inevitably, once in position and provided that it’s cared for correctly, a dental implant can last a lifetime. This means that any patient undergoing a dental implant procedure should be able to look forward to years of hassle-free use. In fact, once the permanent tooth restoration is attached, people won’t even know that you’ve had dental implants, as any restoration should blend seamlessly into your existing smile.
Ultimately, a dental implant procedure represents the gold standard of missing tooth replacement and one that can outlast any other form of restoration by many years.
So there you have it. Hopefully, we’ve answered the question, “how does a tooth implant work?’ but if you want to learn more, you can always find a dentist that offers a free consultation. This way, you can learn if you’re eligible for dental implants while getting any questions or concerns answered. Ultimately, this allows you to make an informed decision. Moreover, because this service is free, it won’t cost you a penny to find out.
Here at DDSS/DDII, we have two dental centres in and around Sydney, where you can get a free consultation at your local dental clinic. If you are considering a dental implant procedure, let our highly experienced team help you decide. We can talk to you about how we would go about restoring your smile using the latest computer-guided techniques. Book a free consultation near you today, and let us help you bring back your long-lost smile and all the confidence that comes with it.
Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.
Research Gate – A Systematic Review Of Post Extractional Alveolar Bone Dimensional Changes In Humans
NCBI – Changes In The Facial Skeleton Due To Ageing And Bone Loss