There are several specialties in dentistry. One of these specialties is implantology. Implant dentists replace people's broken, decayed, or missing teeth with permanent artificial ones. Not all dentists are qualified to do implants. They need to train in implantology as well as complete the regular dentistry course prior to becoming certified as an implant dentist. Only after these educational requirements are met may they perform various implant procedures, including the most common one, the titanium implant. In this procedure the implant is attached to a titanium screw embedded in the jawbone.
There are various reasons patients would want a permanent implant. It can be because they have lost a tooth due to an injury, which is common among athletes or people involved in accidents. It can be because some teeth have decayed and need to be removed. Or it may be for aesthetic purposes -- there might be a tooth gap that is not really causing inconvenience, but is diminishing the radiance of the patient's smile. Mini implants are also used to hold dentures in place. Whatever the reason, it's the implant dentist's job to figure out which method is best to use.
Beside permanent dental implants, there are a few other options available to patients if they want to replace missing teeth or save ones that haven't completely gone to waste. Some of these options are dental bridges, dental crowns, dental veneers, and full mouth reconstruction. The difference between dental implants and all these other procedures is that dental implants are permanent. Once they are installed, the patient won’t have to worry about losing his or her teeth again.
The process of dental implantation is not that complicated, but it does require surgery. The first step is the pre-surgery stage, where the jaw bone is prepared for drilling. The second step is the actual surgery, where the drilling is done and a titanium screw is inserted into the hole. The healing cap is then attached to the screw, which keeps it in place permanently. The implant usually heals by integrating with the jawbone on its own and no special subsequent procedures will be necessary. However, it does take a while before it is fully healed. Sometimes, healing can take up to eight months. During this period, the patient has to visit the dentist regularly to check if the implant is healing properly. Once healed an abutment and crown is placed on the implant.
Dental implants are highly recommended because they are effective and safe if done by a competent professional. The only drawback is that the procedure can be rather expensive, sometimes costing up to $3,000 per tooth. Because they are classified under cosmetic dentistry, dental implants are not typically covered by insurance. However, patients can still save some money in the long run because implants are permanent solutions; patients only need to get them once in their lifetime. To further ensure they get high quality implants that will last forever, patients should choose a reputable implant dentist to do the job.