What Are Dental Implants?
Bismarck dental implants are small cylindrical posts that are affixed in the jawbone under the gums, where they serve as anchors for artificial teeth. As dental implants heal, the bone that surrounds them fuses to the implant post and creates a permanent bond. The power of this bond helps make dental implants the durable, natural dental restoration that they are, keeping them stable and strong while they bear the forces of biting and chewing and support a lustrous, natural-looking dental crown. The majority of dental implants are endosteal implants, which means that they are placed into the bone itself. Subperiosteal implants are also an option and may be preferable for people with minimal healthy bone who wish to avoid bone grafts; however, these implants are used less and less as innovations in the types and materials of endosteal implants continue to develop.
Endosteal implants are tiny screws or flat blades made of medical-grade, biocompatible material, usually titanium, that are surgically placed into the jawbone where natural teeth once lived. As the bone surrounding dental implants heals, it fuses to the implant itself, in a process called osseointegration; once osseointegration has occurred, the bone and the implant cannot be separated without damaging one or both of them. Osseointegration usually takes at least six weeks and can take longer, and patients receive a temporary dental restoration they can use while their dental implant heals. Once the bone has fully healed, the gum tissue is pulled back and the implant top is exposed so that an attachment mechanism called an abutment can be affixed to the implant. The gum tissue heals around the abutment and the natural gum line is restored, and the abutment supports the dental crown, holding it in place and cushioning the forces it’s exposed to during everyday activity.
Subperiosteal dental implants sit on the jaw, just below the gum tissue. These implants also fastem with the bone over time, thanks to osseointegration, though they are less stable than endosteal implants because they are external to the bone. Patients who have experienced significant bone loss in their jaw or who have an otherwise compromised or misshapen jaw may not be able to support endosteal implants without bone grafts. If a patient wants to avoid bone graft surgery, or if they are looking for a stable dental restoration that can be completed more quickly than other long-lasting options, subperiosteal implants could be a solid choice.
Proper oral hygiene is a requirement to ensure the long-term success of all dental implants, whether they’re endosteal or subperiosteal. Follow all postoperative instructions diligently, and avoid smoking, especially, while the implant sites heal. After they’ve healed, dental implants can be cleaned in the same way as the natural teeth, and should be brushed twice daily with a soft-bristled brush and flossed daily. Your dentist may recommend a special non-abrasive toothpaste, and your dental hygienist will use specialized clinical tools to thoroughly clean your dental implants without damaging the surface of the crown or the intricate connection between the abutment, the implant, and the crown, so make sure to see your dentist and dental hygienist regularly and play your part in ensuring the long life of your dental implants.