My tooth has been knocked out, is there anything I can do about it?
The first thing to do is get yourself to the emergency clinic as quickly as possible, if the tooth can be replaced in the socket within the hour, the ligaments may reattach and there will be no need for further restorative treatment. However, if the tooth has been completely removed from its socket for some time, there’s very little that can be done to save it; in this case, the best option is to use a same-day dental implant.
What is a same-day dental implant?
A dental implant is a product used in modern dentistry to replace a knocked-out or extracted tooth; it involves placing a titanium rod into the jaw bone and then fitting a porcelain crown over the top of it to represent the natural tooth structure. Most implants will have to be left to heal for at least six months before the final result can be seen, and the term ‘same-day’ actually refers to the temporary crown that is fitted over the rod for the duration of the recovery period. Although the treatment does take more than one day, it allows the patient to leave the surgery with a natural-looking tooth that can function almost exactly like the real thing – albeit in a more vulnerable state.
Dental implants are made using highly durable materials that can last a life time if they are properly cared for; the titanium that is implanted into the bone is very strong and resistant to bacteria, so it won’t rust or cause infection, and the porcelain that replaces the crown is thick and hard-wearing, to make sure it can withstand daily pressures from biting and chewing. Not only does the implant look natural, it is also able to work in the same way as the rest of the teeth, and over time the patient may even forget which tooth is synthetic. The design of same-day implants is what makes them so unique, unlike dentures and bridges they don’t just replace the visible portion of the tooth, they use manmade materials to build an entirely new structure based on the way natural teeth are formed.
As well as changing the appearance of the smile, implants can also help maintain the shape of the face; without teeth sitting in the sockets, the human jaw begins to disintegrate and it eventually breaks down into the soft tissue of the chin, but titanium teeth will encourage bone growth around the jaw and help to keep the face looking healthy. Other dental devices don’t work like this because they don’t penetrate the jaw line; they just sit the synthetic teeth along the gums in order to create the appearance of natural teeth.
Should I get same-day implants instead of a dental appliance then?
If you have the money and you are prepared for the six month recovery period, you would certainly do better to invest in an implant or two, rather than a dental device. Implants are more durable, they don’t need as much upkeep, and they work by creating a fully-functioning tooth, rather than just a synthetic replacement. Of course, dentures and bridges do have their uses, and top-quality appliances can last a long time in great condition, but they are not bonded to the tissue, and they can’t adapt to the changing shape of the jaw as the patient ages, so they will eventually have to be adjusted or remade. One thing that does put some people off getting implants is the price; because they are so successful and hard-wearing, they are very popular in the world of dentistry, and consequently they are more expensive than the alternatives. However, there are finance plans available that could help you pay for treatment like this, if money is an issue for you. You could organise a consultation with the dentists at the Pearl Dental Clinic if you are interested in getting same-day implants; the team can offer top-quality treatment at reasonable prices, and they have financing options available too.
How are dental implants fitted?
Not everyone will be a suitable candidate for implants, so it’s up to the dentist to carry out various tests to make sure the patient is in a healthy condition to undergo surgery. If the jaw has already started to break down after years without any teeth, a bone graft will have to be scheduled; otherwise the implants won’t be stable and will fall out fairly quickly. This is a surgical procedure, and it will mean that the overall treatment time is extended beyond the initial six months between appointments. Not every patient who wants an implant will have to have a bone graft, the dentist will be able to determine the condition of the jaw using an x-ray, then they can form a plan of action from there.
Although the actual implanting process is considered surgical, it is not extremely dangerous or painful, and it’s not likely that the patient will be put under general anaesthetic during the operation. To begin creating new sockets for the implants, the surgeon will make a hole in the gum line, right through to the bone beneath, then they will drill into the jaw using specialist dentistry tools. Re-sizing the hole can sometimes be tricky, as it is important to get it exactly right or the implant will not stabilise properly in the socket. Once he or she is happy with the hole, they can implant the titanium rod; most products like this come with a screw thread already cut into the surface, which means all the dentist has to do is turn it until the rod is inserted to the correct degree, leaving a small amount protruding for the crown to sit on.
A temporary crown is then cemented in place, to shield the new root until it bond sufficiently with the supporting alveolar bone. After six months, the patient can return to the surgery to have the permanent cap fixed over the rod, and then the treatment is complete. The implanting process will be slightly more arduous if there are numerous teeth being replaced, and the surgeon may choose to perform the operation in several sessions, to avoid putting the patient under too much stress all at once.