Dental Implants - Replacing Missing Teeth, Smile Africa - Dental Clinic in Nairobi Kenya

Dentists have devised numerous ways of replacing missing teeth. You probably know about bridges and dentures. However, there is another alternative; dental implants. There are two roles that dental implants play i.e. replacement of missing teeth and providing support to replacements. An implant is like a natural tooth. With an implant in your mouth, you don’t feel any discomfort.

Dental implants defined

These are artificial roots that are made from a material known as titanium. This is a type of metal. A dentist inserts it into your jawbone in a way that replaces the natural root. 

Though there is mention of a dentist as the person who does the procedure, it is actually a specialist known as periodontist. The same can also be handled by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. Collectively, these surgeons are known as oral surgeons. Other than a periodontist, you also require another specialist known as a prosthodontist. He/she is responsible for placing bridges, dentures and crowns on the implants.

Are dental implants meant for everyone?

Before the decision to insert implants is made, a doctor has to observe you and confirm that your jaws do have sufficient bone mass, your gums are healthy and that your health is good generally. In case of shrunken jawbones or abnormal bone development in this area, bone grafting may have to be done. Bone grafts are medical procedures done to add more bone mass to your jawbone. In all these cases, dentists will advise you on the way forward. It all depends on an individual’s bone formation.

A sneak peek on the dental implant procedure

  • Your dental specialist examines you, especially the mouth area. He/she takes head, teeth and jaw x-rays. The resulting image is interpreted to tell whether you will have implants or not.
  • On the commencement of surgery, the implant is put inside your jawbone. Its final location should be below the gums. The specialist then stitches your gum tissues back. During the healing process, the implant bonds with the surrounding bone material and your gums attach to it. Healing takes a number of months.
  • By the next surgical phase, you are supposed to have healed fully. This time round, the specialist attaches a post or abutment. It is meant to act as a connector between the implant and replacement tooth. There are also instances where the two surgical phases are done at once.
  • Meanwhile, the doctor tales the replacement tooth and fastens it to the post or abutment. This process may require several visits to the dentist in order to align the tooth properly.
  • In cases where you are having all teeth replacement, the specialist anchors a bridge to all the implants. The bridge is meant to span an area that is occupied by more than one tooth. In order for the bridge to hold implants are placed on the two extreme ends.

Taking care of implant(s)

mplants are like your natural teeth in all respects. They even look like the real thing. Therefore, you should clean them as you would do if to your normal teeth. You have to brush and floss them. You also need to make follow-up visits to the dentist in order to check the firmness of implants.