What Are Dental Implants?
A dental implant is a metal post, usually made from titanium, that is surgically inserted into your jawbone beneath the gum and acts as an artificial root. The implant is threaded to allow an abutment to be screwed into it. Once in place, your dentist can then mount a false tooth (or teeth) securely onto the fitting to provide an identical match to the rest of your natural teeth.
Should I Have Dental Implants?
Simply having missing teeth is not necessarily reason enough to have dental implants. Alternatives, such as dentures, might be more appropriate. During your initial examination, your dentist will consider:
- The overall condition of your mouth
- The quality and quantity of bone remaining in your jaw
- Your dental hygiene routine
- Your general health
To ensure a successful outome with implants,the overall condition of your mouth needs to provide a stable working environment. Any broken teeth, gum disease or dental decay will need to be remedied first before dental implants can be inserted.
Your dentist will assess your bone volume and density to ascertain whether the existing bone in your jaw can support dental implants. This process usually involves x-raying the jawbone or, in some instances, undergoing a cone beam CT scan (not scary, this is simply a specialized x-ray that provides more detailed information on your jawbone and precise placement of implants).
Your personal dental hygiene regime might also affect your suitability for a dental implants procedure. You need to be committed to maintaining healthy teeth and gums, as a healthy mouth is essential to a successful treatment.
Your general health can also impact whether you can be considered for dental implants. Medical and lifestyle variables, such as diabetes and smoking, might affect your suitability. Each case is different; your dentist will discuss these considerations with you in greater detail.
What Does a Dental Implants Procedure Involve?
There are three stages in the dental implants process:
- Fitting the implant
- Fitting the abutment
- Attaching the crown
The fitting of the implant is usually performed under a local anaesthetic. Your dentist will make a small incision into your gum, then create a small hole in your jawbone and insert the implant.
If you’ve had any teeth extracted prior to the surgery, it may be possible for your dentist to fit the implant directly into the existing tooth socket. However, before having the abutment attached, patients generally need to allow around three to six months for the bone to fully adhere to the implant – a process called osseointegration.
The abutment – a small post onto which a crown can be fitted – screws directly into the dental implant that was inserted into your jawbone.
Once the abutment is in place, attaching the crown is a straightforward process, usually carried out during the abutment fitting.
What Should I Expect After My Dental Implant Procedure?
During your first visit, and once the effects of the anaesthetic have worn off, you will be allowed to go home. It can take several hours for feeling to fully return to your mouth, and you may require pain relief to counteract discomfort. Avoid any hot food or drinks until feeling has fully returned, and eat only soft foods the first few days following your dental implants procedure.
You may be given antibiotics or an antiseptic mouthwash, along with special brushes to help clean the gaps betwen your teeth. During this period (and always), you will want to maintain good oral hygiene to avoid any potential infection.
Once you have fully recovered, your replacement teeth and dental implants and replacement teeth should work exactly the same as your natural teeth. And you’ve got your smile back!
If you’re not already in the habit, brush and floss twice daily and make regular visits to your dentist or hygienist to ensure that your new teeth remain healthy.
The Benefits of Dentures
People often think of full dentures when they think about dentures – the ones that replace a whole upper or lower arch of teeth. However, there are many more denture-wearers about than most people are aware of – as there are a great number of people who wear a denture in place of one or two missing teeth.
Dentures offer a number of benefits – the main one is to enable you to chew your food properly – which is particularly true if you have lost most of your teeth. It’s no fun if you can’t get your teeth into that juicy steak.
Aesthetic, or cosmetic, reasons are another reason for people wearing dentures. A gummy or gappy smile is not attractive.
And yet another one is that dentures may offer an important factor in maintaining oral health. Gaps in your dentition may not only be painful or uncomfortable on the exposed gum (particularly if you are eating certain types of food, like potato chips – or crisps, as they’re called in the UK) but surrounding teeth that no longer have support next to them gradually start to move into the gap – and this, in turn, could cause you problems with your bite.
Why getting Dentures is a good Dental Tourism option
Almost all dental procedures are a reasonably good option to have as a dental tourist, but some offer great savings that can make a real difference to certain groups. Dentures are mostly (but not always) worn by retirees and this group often has to find ways of making their pension go further.
Some savvy pensioners from the United States regularly make the trip to Mexico for dental care. Along the Border in Mexico there are plenty of dental clinics offering affordable, high-quality care to patients from the US and Canada. In fact, it is such a popular business that some locations have become tourist attractions in their own right – but for dentistry. Algodones is one such place, attracting thousands of visitors each day – with many of them arriving specifically for dental treatment.
Getting dentures as a dental tourist is a good option. You can save a considerable amount on both full and partial dentures and even if you upgrade to a higher-quality material, it will still cost less than the cheapest dentures at home.
What is the procedure for getting Dentures?
The process involves 2 or 3 appointments. At the first appointment the dentist will:
1: Provide a thorough examination and x-rays of your jaw and gums and
2: Make an impression of your mouth
At your next appointment you will
3: Returning to the dentist for fitting and any necessary adjustments
The process varies slightly, depending on whether you are having any extractions, or just getting new a new set of dentures. A new set of dentures may involve 2 or 3 appointments, whereas if you have extractions it may be 4 or 5. After extractions you will be given a ‘healing denture’ which is softer than a conventional denture, allowing your gums time to heal. This usually takes 3 months.
What are the different types of dentures available?
There are 4 types of dentures your dentist may recommend:
1: Partial dentures – These are used only when there are gaps in your dentition. They usually attach over the existing teeth.
2: Conventional (full) dentures – These are used to replace all the teeth in the upper or lower jaw.
3: Immediate dentures – These are the healing dentures that are placed after your teeth have been extracted.
4: Overdentures – These are attached to the stumps of broken teeth, which help to support and stabilize the dentures.
The Ultimate Guide to Fillings
What are dental fillings?
Dental fillings are used to restore the anatomy of the tooth that has been damaged by dental decay, or trauma. Fillings may be either direct or indirect.
- Direct fillings are when the filling material is placed directly onto the tooth. The filling material may be made from:
1: Amalgam (silver fillings)
2: Composite resin (tooth-colored fillings)
3: Resin Ionomer
4: Glass Ionomer
- Indirect fillings are usually made in a dental laboratory and cemented onto the tooth. These can be made from
1: Ceramic (porcelain)
2: Gold Alloy
3: Base metal Alloy
What are the benefits of dental fillings?
If the tooth has been damaged through decay or fracture then bacteria is able to access the insider of the tooth. Tooth-unfriendly sugars, bacteria and starches erode the tooth structure and cause infections. Dental fillings help to restore the damaged tooth and
- Prevent or limit further damage to the tooth structure
- Help to prevent nerve damage
- Help to prevent tooth loss
Why are Dental Filling treatments suitable for Dental Tourists?
Contrary to popular belief, dental tourists do not necessarily have to be booking a trip for an expensive ‘big ticket’ procedure. In fact, there are many holidaymakers who decide to get dental care while they are away because they’ve seen how inexpensive it is, or because they have had to get emergency dental care.
Dental fillings are an inexpensive option – costing a fraction of the prices at home – and the downtime out of your holiday is only a few hours.
With all the controversy currently surrounding amalgam fillings, if you are seriously considering having yours replaced then you will save a lot of money by traveling to a dental tourism location.
What is the procedure for a dental filling?
1: The dentist will examine the tooth to assess the extent of the damage
2: A local anaesthetic will be administered to numb the area around the tooth
3: The dentist will begin to remove the damaged parts of the tooth once the numbing has taken effect (usually after 5 minutes, or so) and the tooth will be prepared for the filling
4: The filling is placed inside the tooth and will be shaped, smoothed and polished
5: The dentist will ask you to bite, adjusting the filling until it feels comfortable
Root canal procedures seem to strike fear into most people but in reality they are no more uncomfortable than a filling – it’s just that they take longer to do – and are, therefore, a lot more expensive.
A root canal treatment may be necessary to save a precious tooth, and so it’s worth going through with it if you don’t want the problem of an unsightly gap.
What is a root canal procedure?
When a tooth becomes badly decayed, the cavity at the center of the tooth, or root canal, may become damaged or infected. The soft tissue inside the root canal contains the nerve tissue and pulp and once this becomes infected an abscess may form at the roots of the tooth. This is not only painful, causing swelling in the localized area around the tooth which may spread to other areas of the face and neck, but may also cause bone loss in the jaw.
A root canal procedure is performed by a specialist dentist (an endodontist). To save an infected tooth the pulp and nerve are removed from the tooth and the empty cavity cleaned thoroughly and filled.
Is a root canal procedure suitable for dental tourists?
Root canal treatments are suitable for dental tourists, but the one thing to bear in mind is that the process from beginning to end may take up to 2 weeks – so you will have to make sure you are in the country for long enough to complete the procedure. Most dentists will also require that if you have an infection that you will already have started a course of antibiotics at home so they can begin working on the root canal immediately.
If you are a regular traveler to a destination, for example if you travel on business, then the process will be easier, and if you live in the southern United States then it may not be too much of a stretch to travel over the Border to a dentist in Mexico for root canal treatment.
What is the procedure for a root canal?
The root canal procedure normally requires two or three visits to the dentist, depending on whether an infection is present and whether a crown is required to strengthen the tooth.
During the first visit:
1: the dentist will assess the tooth and x-rays will be taken to determine whether there is an infection and to get a picture of the root canals;
2: the tooth will be prepared. Local anaesthesia is used to numb the area around the tooth and a rubber dam is placed over the tooth to keep the area dry during the procedure;
3: an access hole is drilled into the tooth and the pulp, bacteria and other debris removed. The chamber is cleaned thoroughly and antibiotic medication may be placed inside;
4: the tooth is filled and sealed. Some dentists opt to do a temporary filling at this stage, preferring the patient to come back after a week so the permanent filling can be put in place if there are no signs of infection.
During the second visit:
1: the dentist will assess the tooth and replace the temporary filling with a permanent one if there are no signs of infection. If a crown is required the dentist will take impressions and the patient will need to come back for a third time to have the crown fitted.