What are Dental Implants?

A dental implant is a small screw made of titanium, which acts as the artificial tooth root that is placed into your jaw.

A dental implant can replace a single missing tooth by utilizing a crown or it can replace several missing teeth as in an implant-supported bridge. In certain cases when all the teeth are missing, an implant-supported complete denture can also be employed.

In the face of developments in dental care, millions of people still suffer tooth loss mostly due to tooth decay and gum diseases. Congenitally missing teeth and traumatic dental injuries, although not frequent, can also lead to the loss of teeth. In these situations, the treatment options available include traditional fixed bridges, bonded restorations and removable dentures1. Nowadays, along with the advancements in the field of Dentistry, a dental implant can be a better treatment option to conservatively restore your smile.

Dentistry has advanced significantly in the area of dental implant technology. Dental implants offer a conservative and viable option to keep your jawbone healthy, maintain a stable bite and restore your beautiful smile.

Candidates


Any individual with missing tooth or teeth, however, patients that are medically compromised and have dental diseases like patients undergoing radiotherapy, uncontrolled diabetes, severe gum disease, alcoholism and smoking may interfere with the integration (fusion) of bone around the implant.

Advantages

            • Simulates the position of a tooth therefore helping maintain the bone profile and transmitting the chewing forces to the surrounding bone2

 

 

            • Improves appearance since they feel and look like your own teeth

 

 

            • Maintains the normal tone of the facial muscles

 

 

            • A natural “face-lift” effect when the facial muscles are once again used properly

 

 

            • Eliminates the discomfort of having removable dentures

 

   

Disadvantages

                • Time frame on initial placement to the healing and bone integration or fusion to the implant will take at least 4 – 6 weeks before placement of the crown.

 

 

                • Loosening of the implants might likely occur because bone failed to fuse on the implant itself.

 

 

                • Economically expensive compared to any dental works.

 

   

Types/ Kinds

                • Single tooth implant

 

 

                • Multiple tooth implant

 

 

                • Fixed multiple tooth implant

 

 

                • Implant supported dentures

 

   

What to expect?

Facial swelling is related to the difficulty of removal of the offending tooth. Pain on the first 3 days should be anticipated.

Procedure

Implant procedures can be done in a dental surgery set up with local anesthetics or under sedation, it can also be done under general anesthesia in a hospital setting if the patients are very anxious and nervous or medically compromised either way, the stages are the same.

First stage is the placement of the implant to the edentulous site, after one week upon removal of the suture the dentist can also expose the top part of the implant and replace the screw cap into a healing cap so the gums will open to receive final crown after 4 – 6 weeks depending on the adaption of bone to the implant.

If bone properly fused to the implant the final restoration of crown or dentures can be made and adjusted according to the right bite of the patient. A routine check-up of every 6 months should be practiced so the dentist could examine the implant and the other surrounding structures.

Materials

The large proportion of implant is composed of titanium alloy, and small percentages of aluminium and vanadium.

Recovery

Recovery will take for at least 5 to 7 days, however, it varies from patient to patient.

Time Span

The span of an implant could be from 5 years to a lifetime with consideration of practicing proper oral hygiene to prevent from damaging the crowns and other mouth structures. Thus, the need to practice a good oral hygiene is highly recommended.

Post Treatment

  • Take the prescribed pain medications as soon as you begin to feel discomfort.
  • Restrict vigorous activities the day of the surgery and resume normal activity when the patient begins to feel comfortable.
  • Vigorous mouth rinsing and spitting should be avoided for 24hrs to allow formation of clot on the wound area for a speedy tissue formation.
  • Ice pack should be placed over the surgical area, 15 minutes on and 15 minutes off for the first 24 hr
  • No smoking and drinking of alcoholic beverages for the first 24hrs.
  • A visit to the dentist after two weeks is necessary and an x-ray is taken to examine the implant fusion to the bone.
  • The next stage will be after 4 to 6 weeks for the final placement of the crowns or dentures.

To determine if a dental Implant is suitable for your case, a comprehensive general and oral assessment will be done. This includes reviewing your pertinent medical history, performing a thorough mouth examination to check the integrity of your teeth and gums, obtaining panoramic radiographs and possibly CT scans to verify the health of your jawbone, and lastly, making molds of the teeth and registering of the bite to create an accurate model of your mouth.

REFERENCES:

  1. Single-Tooth Replacement: Bridge vs. Implant-Supported Restoration by Ken Hebel, B.Sc., DDS, MS, Cert. Prostho. Reena Gajjar, DDS, Cert. Prostho. Theresa Hofstede, B.Sc., Cert. Prostho. Journal of the Canadian Dental Association 2000; 66:435-8
  2. Von Wowern N, Gotfredsen K. Implant-supported overdentures, a prevention of bone loss in edentulous mandibles? A 5-year follow-up study. Clin Oral Implants Res. 2001 Feb;12(1):19-25.

 

WRITTEN BY: DR. DON JOHNSON VITO CRUZ | EDITED BY: DR. RICHELLE RAMIREZ

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