All you need to know about dental implants

A dental implant is a screw-like object made of bone-compatible titanium or ceramics that is surgically inserted (implanted) into the jaw bone. After it is firmly integrated in the bone, it will take over the function of the natural tooth root.

How dental implant placement is done?

To answer the most frequently asked question first, painlessly. The treatment itself is performed in local anaesthesia; this is usually all that is required. The procedure is comparable to the extraction of a tooth; the wound will heal within only a few days.

The closed membrane that is formed by the oral mucous will be opened. The implant clinician is using  a special drill to create a socket in the bone that perfectly fits the implant. Once the location has been properly prepared, the implant is inserted and covered by the oral mucous. It generally takes between three and six months for the implant to be firmly integrated in the human bone. During this time, a temporary bridge or denture will allow the patient to chew and to speak.

Once the implant has been successfully integrated, the oral mucous is re-opened (once again in local anaesthesia) directly above the implant, and a post or pillar, called abutment is placed on top of the implant, which may be considered an artificial tooth root by cementing, adhesively or by screwing. The dental crown will then be placed on top of this abutment.

There are many reports in the media that talk about immediate loading, a method according to which a dental implant is expected to be seated firmly within only a few hours. However, caution is still advised at this point. These methods are used by very experienced dentists and are not considered for every patient.

What are the advantages of dental implants

Implant can help preserve your oral health

There are situations where nothing can beat an implant-supported solution for instance when a single tooth has had to be extracted or has been lost. In this case, the lost tooth is replaced 1 : 1. No neighbouring teeth need to be included to facilitate a small bridge solution.

Missing teeth at the end of dental arch

Implants are also the best solution if the last teeth (the ones farthest back) in the dental arch are missing, so that there is no tooth available to support the far end of a bridge. If no implant is placed to help support the bridge, the free-floating end of the bridge (cantilevered pontics) will rock when exposed to the chewing forces. Over time, the overload on the existing supporting tissues will result in wear and tear on the jawbone joint, called temporomandibular joint.

What type of problems require extensive preparation if implants are to be used?

Complete tooth loss is usually a function of the patient’s age. It will often be accompanied by a loss of available bone substance, which may be insufficient to support implants, so that the treatment time is considerably lengthened.

A safe foundation is a must for any implant. If no safe foundation is available, an implant cannot be inserted, or else the bone has to be built up first. There are several different ways of doing this, depending on what makes sense and what is feasible in each individual case and for each individual patient.

Sometimes it is possible to remove a piece of the patient’s own bone at a suitable location and to transplant it to where more jawbone substance is needed. This type of bone, the patient’s own bone, will fuse with the existing jawbone to form a stable structure over time.

Alternatively, it is possible to use so-called bone replacement material, which triggers a biological process that will also finally result in creating more and more stable bone substance. In the upper jaw, an additional layer of bone can be created by lifting the sinus floor above the implant site and then lining it with bone (replacement) material.

How to prepare for my first consultation?

Before going to your consultation appointment, try to learn as much as you can so you know what will be discussed there and so you are able to tell the implantologist what else you would like to know. The information offered here should already cover a lot of ground in this respect.

Please remember:

  • Any general information will have to be based on an average patient, whereas you are an individual with your very own general history and your own specific medical peculiarities and requirements.
  • Be honest with yourself and your implantologist: If you choose to keep important information to yourself, you may be suffering the consequences at a later stage.
  • Tell your implantologist if you drink alcohol in larger quantities and frequently; if you are a heavy smoker; if you have to take medication; if you are under a lot of stress; if you have a habit of grinding your teeth; or if your intention to maintain good oral hygiene are good but you do not always succeed. These days, most forms of treatments can be performed anyway
  • A written cost estimate will help you assess the financial aspects. Some patients greatly overestimate the cost, while others may underestimate it. The final bill ought not to come as a surprise.

 

Have questions about dental implants?

Do get in touch on 020 8339 9333 or by filling the contact form below.

 

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