Per-Ingvar Brnemark, a Swedish orthopedic surgeon, invented dental implants as we knew them today in 1952. They are now considered the best standard in dentistry for the prosthetic replacement of missing or damaged teeth. A dental implant is a surgical fixture implanted into the jawbone and allowed to fuse with the bone over time. A dental implant is a prosthetic tooth root that replaces a missing tooth’s root. This “artificial tooth root” then holds a replacement tooth or bridge in place. A dental implant put together to the jawbone is the closest thing to a natural tooth because it stands alone without affecting nearby teeth and is extremely stable. “Osseointegration” is the process of the dental implant and jawbone fusing together. Titanium is employed in most dental implants, allowing them to integrate with bone without being recognized as a foreign object in our bodies. Science and technology have advanced greatly to the point where dental implant placement outcomes have vastly improved. Dental implants success rate is now nearly 98%
Implants are also used to secure crowns and bridges and to fix ill-fitting dentures. The procedure starts with a consultation with your dentist to determine whether implants are the best option for you. It’s possible that other options, such as a crown, bridge, or dentures, are recommended.
Your implants will be placed by a dentist who is trained in this procedure before a protective cover is placed over them. The implant takes between three to six months to establish itself as the bone grows around the screw and holds it solidly in place. After that, a special implant crown is placed over the implant to replace the natural tooth.
Although implant dentistry takes time, the results are well worth the wait, giving you a beautiful smile as well as complete confidence when biting, chewing, and laughing.
Why is a Dental Implant needed?
Dental implants can be used to replace a single tooth, multiple teeth, or the entire set of teeth can be replaced with dental implants. Teeth replacement in dentistry is aimed at restoring both function and appearance.
In general, there are three options when it comes to replacement of tooth:
- Removable dental appliance (complete denture or partial denture) and dental implant
- Fixed (cemented) Dental bridge
- Dental implant
Dentures are the most cost-effective option for replacing teeth, but they are the least appealing due to the inconvenience of having a removable appliance in the mouth. Furthermore, dentures can have an impact on one’s taste and sensory perception of food. Before the relatively recent shift to dental implant treatment, dental bridgework was the more common therapeutic option. The main disadvantage of bridgework is that it relies on the support of existing natural teeth. Implants are supported solely by bone and do not affect natural teeth. Many factors go into deciding which option to go with. These factors, which are specific to dental implants, include:
- The quantity and quality of the jawbone where the dental implant is to be placed
- A missing tooth or teeth’s location.
- Patient’s Health
- Patience preferred choice
A dental surgeon inspects the area to be considered for a dental implant and performs a clinical evaluation to determine whether the patient is a good candidate for one.
There are numerous benefits to choosing a dental implant over other tooth replacement options. Dental implants are conservative as they can replace missing teeth without affecting or altering the neighboring teeth. Furthermore, because dental implants are embedded in the bone, they are extremely stable and can mimic the appearance and feel of natural teeth.
Types of Dental Implants
Two types of dental implants have been extensively tested, they are:
1. Endosteal implants: These are directly implanted into the jawbone via surgery. A second surgery is required to glue a post to the original implant once the surrounding gum tissue has healed. Finally, an artificial tooth (or teeth) is affixed to the post, either individually or in a bridge or denture.
2. Subperiosteal implants: These are made up of a metal frame attached to the jawbone below the gum tissue. The frame becomes fixed to the jawbone as the gums heal. The gums are protruded by posts that are attached to the frame. Artificial teeth are then attached to the posts, just like endosteal implants.
For how long can Dental Implant last?
Implants can last anywhere between 10 to 20 years or more, depending on the implant’s location and the patient’s compliance with oral hygiene and dental visits. Because molar implants are subjected to more stress and wear, they typically do not last as long as implants placed in the front of the mouth.
What to expect before, during, and after a dental implant surgery
The dental surgeon will visually inspect the site in the mouth where a dental implant is being considered and look at dental imaging studies (X-rays, panoramic films, and/or CT scans) during the consult and planning stage. The quality and quantity of jawbone are checked at this time to determine if more bone is required at the site. The patient will return for the surgical process for the dental implant once it has been determined that it can be placed in the desired location (s). During all surgical process appointments, the patient is usually administered a local anesthetic to numb the surgical area and any additional sedatives required for comfort and anxiety.
A tooth or teeth extraction is frequently the first stage of oral surgery. An existing damaged tooth is, in many cases, present at the site of a dental implant. The tooth must be extracted to prepare for the placement of a dental implant. An “alveolar bone graft” (cadaver or synthetic bone) is frequently used to achieve a solid base of bone for the implant. For the next two to six months, this area will be allowed to heal. A different bone graft will be required for a site where there are no teeth and bone loss is present. This graft will be placed on top of the existing jawbone (“onlay bone graft”). This procedure is more involved, and it usually takes six months or more to recover. When there is enough bone, the damaged tooth can sometimes be extracted along with the implant placement procedure in the same appointment, this is referred to as “immediate implant” placement.
When an implant is to be put in the maxilla (upper jaw) in the back or posterior region, the amount of available bone is sometimes limited by the availability of the maxillary sinus (air-filled space found in the bones of the face). The procedure known as “sinus augmentation” or “sinus lift” involves raising the sinus floor and grafting more bone into the sinus, is undertaken. More bone will be available to aid a dental implant as a result of this procedure.
The site is prepared for the implant once sufficient, strong bone has been established. The dental implant (titanium post) is fixed into the bone with a special drill and tools during the implant placement appointment. The implant is wrapped with a “healing cap,” the gum is stitched up, and the healing process begins. A temporary denture can be made as a replacement for missing teeth for esthetic reasons during this healing period. The amount of time taken for you to heal is largely determined by the quality of the bone you have. Healing time ranges from two to six months in most cases. The implant integrates with the bone during this time. As the dental implant heals, it’s critical to avoid putting any force or stress on it. Follow-up appointments are routinely scheduled to ensure that the surgical site is free of infection and that healing progresses.
The dental implant is tested after the required healing period to see if the surrounding bone successfully absorbed it. Once this is confirmed, a screw is used to attach a prosthetic component to the dental implant. An “abutment” is the name for this component. It will be used to secure the replacement tooth, also known as a “crown.” The implant crown will be custom-made to fit this abutment after the dentist takes an impression (mold) of it in the mouth. The implant crown is either cemented to the abutment or screwed in place.
Advantages of Dental Implant
There are several advantages of undergoing a dental implant; some of them are:
1. It improves the appearance
Dental implants have the appearance and the feel of natural teeth. They are also permanent because they are designed to glue with the bone
2. It improves speech
The teeth in ill-fitting dentures can slip around in the mouth, causing you to mumble or slur your words. Dental implants allow you to speak without fear of your teeth slipping out of place
3. Improved Comfort
Implants eliminate the pain of removable dentures because they become a part of you.
4. It aids eating with ease
Chewing can be difficult with sliding dentures. Dental implants work in the same manner that natural teeth do, allowing you to eat your favorite foods with confidence and pain-free
5. It improves the Oral health
Unlike a tooth-supported bridge, dental implants do not necessitate the reduction of other teeth. Because nearby teeth aren’t changed to support the implant, more of your natural teeth are preserved, which improves your long-term oral health. Individual implants also improve oral hygiene by allowing easier access between teeth.
Implants are usually long-lasting and will last for many years. Many implants can last forever with proper care.
7. It’s more convenient
Removable dentures are exactly that: they can be taken out. Dental implants do annual the embarrassment of removing dentures and the need for messy adhesives to keep them in place.
Potential Risks and Complications associated with a dental implant
There are always some risks and potential complications with any surgery, whether it is for the patient or the success of a dental implant. To ensure that a patient’s health condition is good enough to undergo oral surgery and heal properly, careful planning is required. Bleeding disorders, infections, existing medical conditions, and medications, like any other oral surgery procedure, require careful consideration before treatment. Fortunately, the success rate is high, and failures are rare. Infection, fracture of the dental implant, overloading of the dental implant, damage to the surrounding area (nerves, blood vessels, teeth), inappropriate positioning of the dental implant, or insufficient bone quantity or quality are the most common reasons for failure. Again, proper planning with a qualified surgeon can assist in avoiding these issues. After the necessary healing time has passed, a second attempt to replace a failed dental implant can often be made.
If these are followed through carefully and professionally, you’re poised to have a successful and awesome dental implant surgery.