Dental implants are the modern way to replace a missing tooth. Unlike dentures, they are permanently attached to the mouth. Unlike bridges, it does not require the neighbouring teeth to be altered.
Dental implants consist of a titanium post embedded in the jaw holding a porcelain replica of a tooth. Titanium is used in the post because this particular metal bonds to the jawbone through a process called osseointegration. The porcelain is used because it looks like a natural tooth; the dentist can even ensure that the shade of the tooth matches the surrounding teeth.
Implants usually require three dental visits. The titanium implant must be fixed during an earlier visit. The porcelain crown is attached when the titanium post has been certified as stable.
Implant surgery can be performed with a local anaesthetic, and will cause only slight discomfort after the surgery is completed. The success rate is very high, and even higher if there is no former damage to the jawbone.
Implants basically require the same cleaning and maintenance as regular teeth. Of course, the porcelain will not decay, but the surrounding tissue and bone are as prone to infection as the rest of the mouth.
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