Dental Implants

Missing a tooth?

Have you considered getting a dental implant?

 

These root-like materials are capable of restoring almost all the functions of a natural tooth and are the closest possible replacements to them. No, they aren’t just screws drilled into your jaws, they are an artificial analogue of the root of a natural teeth, and they support an artificial, but life like crown.

What are dental implants

Dental implants are artificial root-like replacements for missing natural teeth. They are usually made up of metals like titanium or, ceramics. They are embedded into the bone and act as supporting structures for the crowns or dentures

When is it indicated

Dental implants are means of replacing a missing natural tooth which may be lost because of various causes. Some common reasons for tooth loss are:

  • Periodontal disease/Advanced gum disease

  • Severe tooth decay

  • Poor oral hygiene

  • Natural aging process

  • Trauma or injury

 

The advancements in dental implants have enabled dentists to use them in a wide range of situations. However, there are a few factors which may influence the treatment:

 

  • Bone quality and quantity

 

Dental implants are mainly anchored in the jaw bone. If the bone around is insufficient, the implant may not integrate well. In certain cases where the bone height and width is insufficient, the dentist may choose to place some grafts or carry out other surgical procedures to enhance the prognosis.

 

  • Medical history

 

Patients suffering from chronic disorders like uncontrolled diabetes, bone disorders or heart diseases may not be ideal candidates for dental implants. Individuals who have undergone radiation therapy should also be evaluated carefully before considering implants as an option.

 

  • Habits

 

Heavy smoking is considered to be a contraindication for dental implants.

The process of getting dental implants

The treatment for dental implants is often performed by a team of expert surgeons and restorative dentists. The first visit usually involves a thorough examination of your mouth clinically and also with a set of scans like X ray or CBCT. Following this, an extensive treatment plan is formulated for the procedure.

 

There are two basic types of implant surgeries - immediate and delayed. In immediate implant placement, the implant is placed on the same day as tooth removal. Whereas in delayed placement, the procedure is carried out after 3 months or so, after the empty tooth socket heals.

 

A straightforward surgery for implant placement entails the following steps

 

  1. Administration of local anaesthetic to numb the soft and hard tissues

 

  1. An incision or cut is made on the gums to expose the underlying bone

 

  1. The bone is then drilled to specific dimensions with the aid of specialized tools

 

  1. The implant is then inserted into this socket and tightened to achieve a firm contact with the bone

 

  1. The implant is left submerged in the bone for a period of 6-12 weeks or more before placing the crown

 

  1. Once the healing period is complete, the implant is exposed again. Certain attachments are added on the implants to get the proper shape of gums. A week later, measurements are made for the insertion of a crown structure.

 

In situations where the bone height or width is insufficient, certain procedures like sinus lift or bone grafting may be required in addition to implant placement. Depending on the requirement and type of bone, the crown/temporary denture may also be inserted immediately.

What to expect after the implant surgery

Any surgical procedure can present with some amount of discomfort post-operatively. There can be soreness in the area of implant placement for a couple of days. Your dentist may prescribe some anti-inflammatory medications to help you with the pain.

Maintenance and care

Dental implants have a success rate of 98% and can last a lifetime if proper care is taken. Implants require the same care and maintenance as natural teeth. They need to be brushed and flossed regularly to keep them free of food debris. It is also essential to regularly visit your dentist for follow ups.