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February 02 2011

A Guide to Dental Implants

Today’s dentists use dental implants as a matter of routine. They effectively replace the roots of teeth which have had to be removed or which have fallen out as a result of disease or decay. Dental implants can be used to anchor in a crown or crowns, a bridge or a denture. Interestingly they are made from pure titanium because the metal has a unique ability to fuse directly onto human bone, in a process called Osseointegration. Osseointegration is a large part of the science behind modern dental implantology.

Dental implants are screw shaped and vary in diameter from 3-6mm and in length from 7-18mm. There are three different parts which make up the dental implant: the screw like fixture, the abutment and the crown, bridge or denture.

Dental implants can be used for aesthetic purposes as well as for purely dental reasons. Today, techniques are state of the art and offer many advantages. For one, the implants may be placed at the time of extraction or at a later date.

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Of course, the aesthetic advantages are obvious. Dental implants can close gaps in teeth and can be tailor made to be an exact colour match of existing teeth.

In many cases the entire process of fitting the crown or denture on top of the implant can be carried out at once. However, in some cases dentists may prefer to allow time for healing before finishing the process.

Another advantage is that implants can rectify tooth damage and prevent further damage. Simply, dental implants can’t suffer decay or disease. Even better, compared to many other implanted medical and aesthetic devices, they last a lot longer. Many dental implants are in good working order as much as forty years after implantation.

Compared to other types of medical and aesthetic implants, dental implants aren’t overly invasive. Patients need only a local anaesthetic and the implants’ success rate is well over 90%. Very few published studies into titanium allergy exist and the metal has a very high level of biocompatibility.