With the advances in technology, dental implant has become the newest method to have a natural tooth. Dental implants are false tooth roots made of titanium that is inserted into the jawbone in a small operation in order to replace the missing teeth. After an implant is put in the jaw bone, the implant is expected to merge with the bone. A false tooth (crown) is then attached to the abutment on the implant to give a real tooth’s look and function. This process can take months. Depending on the mouth and dental structure of the patient, the procedure to be performed and the materials to be used, some stages may be combined together to shorten the duration. The most suitable candidates are non-smokers, older than 18 years old, in good health with healthy gums and appropriate jaw bone. It can be a very successful operation when performed by a trained dentist.
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Dental implants are false tooth roots that are inserted in the jawbone to restore the aesthetic postures and functions of the lost, broken or missing teeth. They consist of 3 components: root (titanium screw inserted in natural jaw bone), binder (abutment fixing false tooth to the root) and crown (false tooth).
People who have:
The patient should be in good health. For instance, cancer, chemotherapy treatment, radiation to the jaw, smoking addiction, alcoholism, uncontrolled periodontal disease and diabetes may negatively affect merging implants with the bone. Only if diseases are kept under control, implant operation is possible.
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The dentist may ask the patient to follow some instructions. These are:
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The surgery is performed in stages, including recovery time between procedures.
A temporary denture can be placed in the cavity where the tooth is missing. This denture can be removed to clean while sleeping.
Abutment is sometimes put with the implant in the first stage. In this case, 3rd stage is not needed. Abutment passes by the gingival line and can only be seen when the mouth is open. Some people may prefer to wear the abutment later, as they do not wish to be seen with this image until the treatment is completed.
It is similar to conventional dentures, and can be partial or full. It contains artificial white teeth surrounded by pink plastic gum. Removable false tooth is mounted in a metal frame attached to the implant abutment, and settles safely. It is easily removable for repair or daily cleaning.
It is permanently screwed or glued to a separate implant abutment. It cannot be removed for cleaning teeth or while sleeping. Each crown is attached to its own dental implant. Besides, since implants are very strong, several teeth can be bridged together and replaced with one implant.
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Among many factors which determine the duration are:
The whole process can take up to 6 to 9 months. However, it may take longer if the settlement of the implants are delayed or bone grafting or sinus elevation are required before implantation. These factors also determine the total number of visits paid to the dentist during treatment.
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If the bone cannot support the implant because it is too thin or soft, bone grafting (transplant) may be needed, or if there is not enough bone height in the upper jaw or if the sinuses are too close to the jaw, sinus elevation surgery may be necessary.
This procedure may constitute a more solid base for the implant. Bone graft materials are:
Please talk to your doctor about the options that best suit you. It may take several months for the transplanted bone to grow up in order to support a dental implant. In some cases, a small amount of bone graft may be needed that can be taken simultaneously with implant surgery. The condition of your jaw bone determines how you proceed.
It is the most widespread implant type. Screw-shaped ones are used more frequently. Among other types are cylindrical or knife-shaped ones. Each implant holds one or more prosthetic teeth. It can also be applied to patients with bridges or removable prostheses.
It is a titanium structure, shaped like mushrooms in order to increase retention in the prosthesis. Nowadays, it is not much preferred, and can only be used in maxillofacial prostheses.
It functions as fixing weak teeth. Thus, a more robust infrastructure can be formed on the teeth.
It is a type of implant placed along the bone. Since it is a difficult treatment method, it is not preferred today.
It consists of a metal frame attached to the jawbone just under the gingival tissue. As the gums heal, the frame is fixed to the jaw bone. Abutments on the frame protrude out of the gums. As with the endosteal implant, false teeth are then attached to the abutments. It is not widely used nowadays because of its weak results in the long-term. It can only be applied to patients who cannot use conventional prosthesis and have minimum bone height.
Placing an implant is usually easier than a pulling out a tooth. In general, local anesthesia is given. Sedation is given only if the patient is extremely nervous. General anesthesia is rarely given only if the process is very complicated. After the effect of anesthesia is gone, depending on the treatment the patient has taken, the scale of the pain varies and may take 1 week. Over-the-counter painkillers like ibuprofen (Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) are prescribed for a simple pain.
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Stronger painkillers are prescribed for complicated operations and may be required to use them for the whole duration of healing.In addition to painkillers, antibiotics and mouthwash might be prescribed in order to support the healing for a couple of weeks.
If the bone to which the implants are inserted is strong and healthy, and the above instructions are followed, implants can be used for many years as natural teeth. However, a lifetime warranty cannot be assured.
The capacity of titanium to merge with the bone is the biological basis of a dental implant’s success, because when the teeth are lost, the bone supporting them is lost. The dental implant prevents this loss by fixing the bone. It also helps maintain the shape and density of the jawbone. This also supports the facial skeleton and indirectly soft tissue structures such as cheeks and lips.
They are rarely seen, but among the main ones are:
Other potential risks are:
Most dental implants are successful. Nevertheless, the bone sometimes does not sufficiently merge with the metal implant. For instance, smoking may lead to implant’s failure and complications. If the bone does not merge sufficiently, the implant is removed, the bone is cleaned, and the procedure might be restarted approximately 3 months later.
Costs vary depending on the patient’s jaw structure, missing teeth and which operations they will undergo as well as the quality of the material used. Make sure to understand all the steps that will involve in the operation before starting treatment. If your health insurance covers this procedure, ask how much you will receive.
Resources and References:1- Dental implant procedure2- Procedures for dental implant3- What are dental implants
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