Dental implants (1)
Dental implants are a means of replacing broken or missing teeth with an artificial ones. These are artificial fixtures that resemble natural teeth. With the help of dental implants one, two, or all teeth can be replaced surgically.
Facts about Dental Implants
- Dental implants are considered as only dental restoration choice that protects and stimulates the growth of bone naturally.
- In 1951, some dentists made their first attempt at placing a dental implant and got successful. After that, those dentists made a small group named the American Academy of Implant Dentistry AAID to teach others regarding implantology.
- In 1952, P.I. Branemark, who was a Swedish orthopedic surgeon, switched his field of interest from knee and hip to mouth when he found that titanium fuses with the jawbone naturally.
Need of dental implant
When talking about replacing teeth or teeth several ways can help a person with missing or damaged tooth in regaining function and aesthetics. Generally, there are three ways to achieve that goal.
- Dentures; these removable artificial teeth. These are the more affordable choice than others but are least desirable because of a removable appliance and their negative impact on taste buds.
- Fixed dental bridge; in this treatment, a dental bridge is cemented in the jaw bone. The main disadvantage of this treatment is that the dental bridge depends on the existing teeth for its support.
- Dental implants; a large number of people are heading towards this option due to its durability, functionality, and stability.
- These improve the physical appearance of a person. The dental fixture gets fused with the jawbone and gives the glance of natural teeth in the mouth.
- In denture, there is a possibility of an artificial tooth to slip inside the mouth and cause the person to mumble while speaking. Dental implants eliminate that worry and give confidence to a person while having a conversation.
- Unlike dentures, dental implants get fixed in the mouth and this eliminates the inconvenience of removing appliance every day. Moreover, they also don’t require any messy adhesives to keep the implant in its place.
- Dentures used to slide in the mouth, which causes difficulty while eating. Fixed dental implants allow a person to eat his favorite meal without any obstacle.
- Dental implants give back a confident smile to a person who once hesitates to smile due to tooth loss.
- Dental implants do not rely on nearby teeth for their support thus eliminating the need of reducing surrounding teeth. This maintains the oral health of a person.
- It is a durable treatment and can last for a life time when proper care is taken.
Before the surgery
In this step, a dental surgeon examines the site of surgery through X-ray, CT scan, or panoramic films. Then a team of professionals designs an individualized plan based on needs and implant options appropriate for the patient. At this stage, a dental surgeon determines the quantity and quality of the jawbone. All surgical procedures are held under local anesthesia.
The first step of surgery
After giving local anesthesia, the dental surgeon determines if a tooth extraction is needed or not. Sometimes at the site where the dental implant is going to be placed still has a piece of the damaged tooth. After the tooth extraction, alveolar bone grafting is done if needed. This gives a solid base to the implant. Healing of bone graft takes about 2-6 months. In some cases, the tooth extraction is directly followed by the placement of a dental implant when enough bone is present to hold the fixture. This is called “immediate implant” placement. In cases where the site of surgery is the upper jaw, “sinus lift” or “sinus augmentation” is done. This step is then followed by the bone grafting into the sinus.
After preparing the site for the dental implant, it is time to place titanium post (dental implant). A tiny hole is drilled at the site with special equipment and a titanium post is placed. The fusion process between jawbone and titanium post is called “osseointegration”. The time of osseointegration depends upon the quality of bone. It usually takes 2-6 months. A patient must take follow up to ensure no infection at the site of surgery.
After osseointegration, the dental surgeon ensures complete integration of dental implant at the site. It is then followed by the attachment of a prosthetic component know as “abutment” to the implant with a screw. This serves as a holder of a crown (replacement tooth). A dentist takes the impression of a patient’s teeth and makes a model. The formation of the new crown is based on that model. The crown is then attached to the abutment via a screw. Crown can be cemented on the abutment as well.
A patient is required to take a follow-up after getting implant surgery. The development of “peri-implantitis” is evident in some cases. In this situation, gum and bone around the implant get inflamed. There is also a risk of developing tissue inflammation due to the force of excessive biting on the implant. If left untreated, it can cause the failure of the implant. Follow-up appointments to the dentist and routine care at home are necessary to avoid such conditions. A patient must brush his teeth and floss every day to remove any plaque and debris of food.
Failure rate and durability of dental implants
The failure rate of dental implants is up to 2% only. It lasts longer and if the patient maintains oral hygiene then dental implants can last for a lifetime.
Cost of dental implants
The cost of dental implant surgery depends upon the number of teeth to be replaced, the number of visits to the dentists, and the number of bone grafting required for the procedure. The estimated cost of a dental implant falls between $3000-$4500.