Dental implants are basically artificial teeth which are implanted on the jawbone to serve as permanent teeth. These are placed in areas where the roots of the teeth are missing. Once the implants are in place, they feel like natural parts of the mouth and look like natural teeth as well.
Do I need a Dental Implants?
1. The first case involves the replacement of missing teeth without causing any damage to the adjacent natural teeth. The dental implantation procedure does not involve any sharpening of the adjacent teeth, but will require a minor surgical process in which the implant is inserted into the jaw. After a few months from the surgery, the implant will be used as the foundation for the building of a permanent tooth crown.
2. The second case involves the replacement of the removable denture with multiple permanent implants. Removable prosthesis is known for its many disadvantages. It causes discomfort in the mouth as a result of constant friction: it can accidentally fall off from the mouth unexpectedly and it does not feel natural as well. With dental implantation, a permanent bridge can be constructed to replace the dentures.
3. The third case involves the use of implants to replace missing teeth on the jaw. If most or all of the teeth are missing on the jaw, it requires the use of a complete removable denture. However, a permanent restoration may provide a better solution. By installing multiple implants on the jaw, a fixed bridge can be created.
4. The fourth case involves the use of implants to support dentures. Sometimes, the use of dentures is not comfortable because the support is weak. In this case, several dental implants can be installed on the jaw to strengthen the available prosthesis.
Dental Implantation Procedure
The first step of the process involves the installation of the implant under local anesthesia. The surgeon carefully inserts the titanium implant into the jawbone. This can take about half an hour for a single implant, but can take several hours if there are more implants involved.
After the initial step comes the absorption stage, which can last from 3 to 6 months. During this length of time, the developing bone cells surround the implant to make it fully attached to the jawbone.
After the absorption stage, the surgeon will operate on the implants to expose them. This procedure is necessary in order to highlight the implants in preparation for the final stage of the dental implantation procedure. During this stage, the surgeon will refer the patient to a dentist for further treatment.
This is the final step of the procedure and will involve the installation of the crown structures and bridges to complete the implants. The attending dentist will then ensure, that every part of the implant structure is completed.
The Benefits of Using Dental Implants
1. Aesthetics — Using removable dentures can look unappealing to other people. However, dental implants look natural. The implants are not noticeable at all and can pass as natural teeth to the unsuspecting beholder.
2. Saves Adjacent Teeth — In the traditional method of prosthesis, the adjacent teeth are usually sharpened to allow a bridge to fit. In dental implantation, the adjacent teeth are not affected at all.
3. Provides Better Self Confidence and Quality of Life — A person’s smile is very precious. If someone has a great smile, he or she has better confidence to face people. In addition, implants make eating and speaking a lot easier. In a way, these can increase the quality of one’s life.
4. Very Reliable — The success rate of undergoing dental implantation procedure is estimated at over 96%. For many years, patients have been undergoing this type of procedure and there have been little failures. Hence, there is less to fear from undergoing the process of implantation.
Who Needs Dental Transplantation?
People who are satisfied with using their dentures do not have to undergo implantation. However, if you feel like using dentures is uncomfortable and want to have a permanent set of teeth, then you may consider a transplant. However, a surgeon still needs to examine you with the help of X-rays to determine if you are a good candidate for dental implantation.
There are several factors that surgeons consider. These include your overall health, the quality of your jaw bone, smoking habits, oral hygiene and gum health. If your jawbone is not compatible for the procedure, the surgeon may perform bone grafting, a procedure which will allow your jawbone to come compatible for dental implants. If you are a good candidate, then the surgeon will have to work hand-in-hand with your dentist to make the implantation successful.
Various Dental Implantation Methods
This method is also known as “Teeth in a Day”. There are certain cases, where the surgeon and the dentist will agree to perform this procedure to a patient as long as the conditions for the jaw bone, gums and other concerns are perfect. The surgeon can install the implants and put on temporary crowns on the same day. This way, a patient who enters the clinic toothless leaves the same clinic with teeth after the session.
For this method to work, the patient must have a jawbone in perfect quality, previous arrangements with the dentist and the surgeon, good oral health and hygiene, does not smoke and ready to undergo the procedure. Hence, this may not be suitable for every patient.
Computerized Tomography for Dental Implants
Dentists now use computerized tomography for the fitting of dental implants on patients. With the use of computer software, surgeons and dentists can plan the implantation in 3D. The planning involves every stage of the procedure to be involved. With computerized assistance, surgeons can provide highly precise surgical services and anticipate accurate results.
Advantages of using computers to aid in the dental implantation procedure:
- Accuracy of implant insertion
- More accurate prediction of aesthetic effects of implants
- Increase in safety and reduction of risks involved
- Can be used to accurately determine if immediate loading is possible
This method is a very unique procedure that is not fit for every patient. There are some instances where patients cannot undergo normal teeth implantation due to medical reasons, bone loss, too many teeth to be replaced, and other reasons. Hence, an All-on-4 procedure may be the solution. This method involves the installation of only four implants to support a fixed prosthesis on either the upper and lower jaw.
This procedure reduces the number of implants and can lower the number of complex surgical interventions involved. It can also be a same-day procedure, which makes it more attractive to some patients who have considerable loss of teeth.
However, it may not be suited for every patient. If there is too much bone loss on the jaw, the procedure may require bone grafting. The surgeon has to transplant bone from other parts of the body to the jaw. This can take 3 to 6 months before the implants can be suitable for transplantation. If the patient has medical conditions like diabetes, bone grafting may not be possible, which then makes it impossible for the patient to undergo the procedure.
After the Surgery
It is important for the patients to eat soft and cold foods after the surgery. It is also important to follow the instructions provided by the surgeon and the dentist carefully. After the procedure, it is also crucial to use a mouthwash recommended by the dentist, brush the teeth regularly and clean any remaining bits of food stuck in between the teeth using dental floss. In order to avoid infection, make sure to take antibiotics prescribed by the dentist.
It usually takes ten days following the surgery for the surgeon to remove the sutures. If you are wearing prosthesis, the dentist may re-adapt it to the condition of the gums. In case you experience bleeding where the dental implants are installed, or if your body temperature rises beyond normal, contact or visit the doctor immediately. For emergency purposes, write down the number of your doctors.
Possible Risks, Complications and Side Effects
Although there is over 96% chance of success, there are certain risks, complications and side effects you need to be aware of. Some of the risks and complications include:
Infection — Surgery can lead to infection on the gums and bone where the implants are installed. To counteract this risk, it is important to follow good oral hygiene and take antibiotics.
Sinus Problems — It may be possible that the implants may affect the sinus after surgery, especially when they are placed at the back of the upper jaw.
Incomplete Integration — There are cases where the implants do not fully integrate with the jawbone. If this happens, the implants may loosen their grip on the bone and fall out.
Damage to Nerves and Tissues — Although this may occur rarely, the dental implantation procedure can damage the blood vessels, nerves and tissues surrounding the implant.
Pain and Swelling — This is quite normal for any surgical procedure so expect some degree of pain after the implantation. Doctors will provide pain relievers to ease the pain, though.
Bruising — This is natural for any invasive surgery, but it will eventually fade away after a week of recovery.
To counteract the complications and side effects of dental implants, it is necessary to stop smoking and drinking alcohol, as well as follow good oral hygiene. If the doctor prescribes any medication, be sure to take them as instructed.
Choosing a Surgeon
Make sure to choose a reliable clinic and surgeon when deciding to undergo dental implantation. It is necessary to do your research first, before making any attempt to contact any clinic. Know what options are available for you and make sure you know the risks involved. Since there are many surgeons and clinics to choose from, be well-informed about each of your choices before making a final decision.
Remember that there are various methods used in implantation. Hence, learn about each of them in detail to determine which options are best to take. Although the surgeon can choose the best method suited for your jawbone, it is still wiser to know what your options are.
Dental implants provide a great option for people who want to have better smiles. While removable dentures are cheaper and easier to make, they can become inconvenient to use at times. Hence, dental implantation provides a better alternative. It is a permanent solution that can last for very long periods of time.
It is important to choose your surgeons and dentists wisely. The success of the dental implantation procedure always depends on the good coordination of the surgeon, the dentist and the patient as well.
If you have any more questions about the procedure, it is better to consult the professionals themselves.