What is a Dental Implant?

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Dental implants are the best solution for people who have lost teeth due to disease or trauma. The demand for dental implants has been increasing because they look and function like natural teeth. Implants also have the strength and resistance of natural teeth and, after a brief period of adjustment, patients just forget they have them because they feel so much like their own teeth.

Dental implants work by inserting an implant, a type of special dental screw, to replace a missing tooth. This surgery requires the skill of dental specialists, either a periodontist or a maxillofacial surgeon. Although in theory, general dentists can perform the procedure, this is not recommended and indeed most ethical general dentists will not offer it to their patients. However in Costa Rica, there is nothing to restrict a general dentist from placing dental implants. It is essential for patients to ask if their implants will be placed by a periodontist or maxillofacial surgeon. If the clinic does not have a periodontist or maxillofacial surgeon to place the implants, the patient should find a reputable, accredited clinic that does.

After the surgery, the dental implant is left in place for up to 6 months until it fuses with the jawbone, a process called osseointegration. Osseointegration is one of the keys that make dental implants such a successful technique since it gives the implant the same strength as a natural tooth.

Once osseointegration is achieved, an abutment, a component of the dental implant, is placed on top of the implant and then a crown is attached to the top of the dental abutment. (In some instances—such as with an All on 4; multiple dental implants are used to anchor several teeth.) The abutment fixes the crown to the dental implant and gives it support. In turn, the crown gives the three-piece-system the chewing ability, looks, and resistance of a regular tooth.

In order to obtain aesthetic results, the crown is chosen carefully from a range of materials and shapes in order to mimic the original tooth, not just in form, but in color as well. The placement of the abutment and the crown is done with a second procedure after the implant has fused to the jawbone.

Dental implants are popular because they provide patients with replacement teeth. You can again eat, smile, and talk in public without feeling self-conscious. Come to Costa Rica for your affordable dental implants and you’ll be surprised how great it feels to lead a normal life again.

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