Many people lose their teeth over time due to some reasons such as aging, tooth extraction due to dental decay, etc. In addition to causing problem in the natural look and quality of your smile, this condition can also negatively affect the function of chewing and eating. So they are looking for a permanent solution for these missing teeth. Until the last few years, it was very common for these people to have removable dental prosthesis (dentures). Problems caused by this method made it replaced by a modern technology called dental implant.
Dental implant is a permanent solution for missing teeth. Pioneered about 50 years ago, dental implants have grown in popularity since the 1970s as an alternative to dentures or bridges for replacing unhealthy or missing teeth.
Accordingly, people no longer have to worry about losing their teeth and they are no longer in need of those traumatic uncomfortable dentures .
Placing dental implants at the site where a tooth is missing is a noninvasive procedure for the patients and they can use them for the rest of their lives without any problem.
Stay tuned to learn more about dental implants.
A dental implant is a titanium root shaped screw ( fixture) that replaces the root of a missing tooth. Ultimately A dental implant crown will be cemented on top of the fixture and therefore offer patients a more natural look and feel as compared to traditional dentures.
What is a dental implant?
Some people may lose their teeth for any number of reason. As indicated in the photo above, a dental implant or fixture is placed in the site of the missing root in the same size as the root of that patient’s tooth.
Fixtures are titanium screws in the size of natural teeth. These fixtures are made of titanium and designed the way offer patients a natural look and function.
The two main parts of the dental implant shown in the photo above are Fixture and Abutment. The part that is placed inside the jaw bone is called Fixture and abutment is a metal connector that your dental professional will place into your dental implant above the gum when implant is ready to be loaded. Abutment represents the prepared tooth structure for the implant crown to be cemented on the abutment .
The base material of the implant is titanium. Since the titanium used in dental implants are completely biocompatible, and jaw bone doesn’t reject them, therefore there is no risk of further bone damage.
Who can get dental implants?
- All the teeth of the front jaw or back jaw are missing (Toothless patients).
- One of the front teeth is missing and the distance between side teeth (inter proximal distance) is normal.
- More than one tooth is missing and the inter proximal distance is normal.
- One or more teeth are missing at the end of each dental arch.
- People who cannot use denture due to speech impairment it may cause.
- People who want to regain their natural function and look.
Dental implants do not have age limit, and any person who is able to practice good oral hygiene are the case for dental implant. When a person has reached the certain age of growth, he can have the missing tooth replaced with dental implant. For example, if a child who lost his permanent tooth due to an accident during his childhood can get an implant when he or she has reached the age of 16.
Of course, any person can get an implant, that said, there are still some cases who are not suitable for dental implant where is we mention in the following.
Who is not suitable for dental implant?
- People with gingivitis, periodontist or any other form of gum disease cannot have dental implants. This is because this condition destroys the gums and the bone beneath. As a result, too much bone loss leads to lack of sufficient bone for the implant to attach. Dental professionals often suggest treating gum diseases first.
If the periodontal infection is being untreated and ignored, after the implant placement, and the problem still persists, the implant needs to be removed and it will be waste of time and money for patient and dentist.
- Anyone with diabetes should note that implant placement should be done with special precautions. Before a dental implant procedure, the blood sugar level of a diabetic person should be observed by a doctor so that if the person’s diabetes is controlled, an implant can be placed. The chances of diabetics are the same as other normal people and there is nothing to worry about. For more information, read the article about dental implants in diabetic patients.
- If you smoke, it is better to quit smoking for a while or at least cut back on smoking as much as possible. It is necessary that people who smoke should consult their doctor before dental implant. For more information, read how to implement implants for smokers
- Patients who take blood anticoagulants or aspirin should stop their medication 5 to 7 days before surgery
- People who have undergone radiotherapy, especially in the jaw and face area, and patients who have been under Bisphosphonate treatment for a long time, are not suitable for dental implant treatment.
- Dental implant during pregnancy is one of the things that doctors are strongly against doing during pregnancy and avoid doing this as much as possible.
Due to the fact that missing teeth can alter the facial structure and change the facial appearance and consequently lead to low self-esteem. Dental implant replacement can result in restoring natural look and function, and it redeems the self-confidence.
Dental implants are one of the fastest ways to replace missing teeth, and if there is no medical condition for patient and also jaw bones are desirable, they can be replaced quickly.
Long lasting method
One of the advantages of dental implant that contributes to its popularity among patients and doctors is its long lasting. The lifespan of implants is such that if you practice oral hygiene correctly, it can restore your natural function for the rest of your life without causing you any problems.
- Restoring oral health
The stability of the implant
Complications and risks of dental implants
Complications of dental implants can be short-term or long-term, and some of these complications occur due to being performed by non-specialists. Therefore, choosing a dental implant specialist can significantly reduce the complications.
In addition to this, oral and dental hygiene observation is another factor that can guarantee the dental implant longevity
Among the risks and complications of dental implants, the following can be mentioned:
- Infection at the implant site
- Possible damage to other teeth
- Nerve damage that can cause pain, numbness, tingling in a person’s gums, lips, and chin.
- Sinus problems occur when dental implants placed in the upper jaw protrude through one of your sinus cavities.(need for sinus lift)
Dental implant steps
Dental implant surgery is usually an outpatient surgery that is performed in stages with recovery time between stages. The process of placing a dental implant includes the following steps:
- Examining the person and determining the type and number of implants
- Removing the damaged tooth (tooth extraction) if needed Jaw bone
- preparation (bone graft) if needed
- Implant fixture placement
- Bone growth (Osseointegration) and repair
- Taking impression, Color selection and sending it to dental lab
- Final implant crown placement
Immediate or one-day dental implant
Usually, the treatment period and the time it takes for the patient to reach his goal, which is to gain health, are important for both the patient and the doctor, and the shorter the treatment period, the more popular is that treatment method.
Immediate dental implant is one of the treatments that has this feasibility and the patient can quickly get the desired result. In fact, dental implants are an effective technology to replace teeth that have been lost for any reason. For this, titanium bases (fixtures ) are placed in the jaw bone and after fixing these fixtures, a dental crown is placed on it.
The difference between the immediate dental implant and the traditional dental implant is that recovery period of the immediate method is much less than the traditional method, so that it can be done in one day. That said, it is important to mention that the crown placed on the dental implant fixture in this method is temporary and must be replaced with the permanent crown.
Dental implant methods
Dental implants are performed in three ways: one-stage, two-stage, and immediate load:
One-step implant: (Non submerged)
In some cases, after tooth extraction, the gum may not have enough overlap and dentist finds it necessary to use the non-submerged method, in which the dental implant is placed in the jaw bone and the extra maxillary temporary part of the dental implant is outside the gum.
Then gum is sutured around the dental implant in the first stage of the surgery, and there is no need for a second stage surgery and removal of the soft tissue of the gum.
After 2 months for dental implants in the lower jaw and 3 months for dental implants implanted in the upper jaw, impression is taken to make the permanent crown . This method is usually applicable in most patients.
Two-stage implant (submerged)
One of the advantages of this type of implant is that the dental implant inside the mouth is being intact, which may be exposed to the oral microbiome .
Therefore, after the surgery, the dental implant inside the mouth will not be visible. In this case, the implants are under the gums so that they are not under any load.
After about 2 months for dental implants in the lower jaw and 3 months for dental implants placed in the upper jaw, the gum will be removed from the dental implant site again.
By placing a temporary piece of dental implant, which is like a screw, the cover of the dental implant ( cover screw) is removed from the gum and fixture becomes visible.
One to two weeks recovery is essential for The healing of gum tissue which is a highly important process because it constructs the site for further steps of prosthesis.
Once the gum tissue is fully healed, impression is taken to make the final piece connected to the dental implant( abutment), the final abutments are placed so that the prosthesis can be connected to the implant.
In order to maintain the patient’s aesthetic appearance, an acrylic removable partial denture (flipper tooth) is usually provided for the patient if needed, which must be removed from the mouth at night. In this method, more beauty is provided and the final prosthesis will be placed on the dental implant base.
Immediate Loading Implant
In this method of implanting, the crown is also made and placed on the dental implant at the same time as the dental implant surgery. This method is mostly used for the front teeth so that the patient is not toothless during the 2-3 months of the recovery time.
However, it is worth mentioning, the important thing to notice is that this crown is temporary and the permanent crown will be placed for the patient in the next stages.
The advantage of this method is that in one session, the tooth or root extraction surgery is performed and, if necessary, the bone augmentation is performed at the same time.
Care after dental implant
- Avoid brushing your teeth for 1 day after the implant.
- Do not wash your mouth for 8 hours after the implant.
- Avoid smoking, drinking tea and coffee for 3 days after the implant.
- The use of drugs and alcohol decreases the success rate of the implant.
- After the implant, use dental floss and toothpaste for implants.
- It is possible to drink water after implant, but in the case of eating, it should be done after the anesthesia is disappeared.
- Avoid drinking liquids with a straw (at least two weeks).
- Avoid drinking liquids and hot foods.
How much does a dental implant cost?
The cost and price of the dental implant depends on the dental conditions of the person. This price will be determined by the implant specialist after the visit.
There are many factors that determine the price of dental implants. Among the factors that can be mentioned:
- Is it done by a specialist or general practitioner!?
- Does it need a bone graft or not?
- The need for a sinus lift
- Implant system
What is dental implant made of?
Today, the material of the dental implant that is used is titanium. Since dental implants were made from titanium, there have been no reports of anyone being allergic to it.
However, in order to solve concerns about using titanium as a dental implant, a group of experts use zirconium as a dental implant.
But what are the benefits of zirconium?
- There is no piezoelectric current between different types of metal in the mouth.
- It does not cause any dark shadow on colar of implant prosthesis.
- There is no erosion or wear.
- It does not conduct heat
Frequently asked questions about dental implant
Some of frequently asked questions are as follows:
Are dental implants safe and how long do they last?
Implant is a safe and effective treatment method. It’s probably fair to say that implants are just like natural teeth, and will last as long as you take care of them.
How well you take care of your implant and whether you visit your dentist regularly to maintain and clean them will have the greatest impact on their longevity and durability.
If you don’t take care of your implanted teeth, they will create similar problems to your implants as they did on your natural teeth that you neglected where can lead to gum infection, bleeding, and overall pain and discomfort. You can get rid of all these problems by caring your natural teeth.
If your dental implants are well taken care of, and if the bone they used for this procedure is enough and healthy, you can expect them to last for many years. However, just like other implant surgeries (such as hip replacements) there is no guarantee of longevity.
I have some of my teeth. However, can I still have the implant procedure?
Yes. You can have any number of teeth replaced with implants, from a single tooth to a full set of them.
Can dental implants always and at any time be used instead of missing teeth?
It depends on the condition of your jaw bones. Your dentist will order a number of special examinations to find out how much bone is still there. If there is not enough, or if the bone is not healthy enough, the dentist may first place the implant in the desired area without bone grafting.
Do dental implants hurt?
Implant placement is often easier than tooth extraction and is usually done under local anaesthesia. You will never feel pain, but just like after a tooth extraction, you may feel discomfort during the week after your dental surgery.
In case you are very nervous or if you have any complication, your dentist can prescribe a sedative. General anesthesia is rarely used for normal dental implant surgery and it is usually used for very complex cases.
How long does the implant treatment take?
Your dental team will be able to give you an approximate timeline before treatment begins. Some temporary teeth can be replaced at the same time as implant placement.
Consult with your dental team to see if these options (such as immediate loading implants) are right for you. Temporary teeth are usually being replaced 3 to 4 months after the implants are placed. Sometimes treatment will take longer and your dental team will be able to discuss with you how long it will take.
What happens after implant surgery?
After your dental implants are placed, the bone in your jaw must grow over them and integrate into the implant fixture(Osseointegration). This process usually takes several months. Sometimes dental implants have enough primary stability when they are used to place temporary teeth on them.
Whether one, two or three of your teeth need to be replaced by dental implant, an acrylic removable partial denture (flipper tooth ) may be provided for you. However, if you already have a full dentures, you can use them (dentures) while the implants are healing.
In order to fit your denture in your mouth after the operation, your prosthesis need to be modified and usually a healing cap is needed to protect your dental implant. (A cap that is placed on the implanted tooth to protect it) is placed on the dental implant.
Is it difficult to clean the implanted teeth?
No, but if you want to have a durable and healthy dental implant, taking a good care of it during recovery is crucial . Your dental team should provide instructions on how to care your dental implant.
Cleaning around gum tissue attached to implant is not more difficult than cleaning your natural teeth.
However, there may be areas that are hard to reach and it takes more time and effort to clean them. You may need to visit your dentist again and again, but your dental team will be able to talk you through this.
If I had a history of gum disease when I had my natural teeth, is it possible to get it again when I get implants?
Yes, it will if you don’t pay enough attention to them, but If you keep them clean and have them checked regularly by your dental team, you won’t find any problems.
Smoking also affects the health of dental implants. Therefore, if you smoke, you may need to take extra care of your implants . There are some articles suggesting there is contraindications between heavy smoking and dental implants.
Can I remove the crowns that are mounted on implants?
Most crowns placed to implants can only be removed and replaced by a dentist. However, if you have removable dentures attached to the implants, you can remove them for cleaning.
Does the shape of the implants indicate that they are not natural?
Most implants look exactly like natural teeth.
Can I have implants for any of my missing teeth?
Those who have only one missing tooth, they will need an implant for support. In case you have more than one missing tooth and these are next to each other, you may find that you need two or more implants, each one may be able to support more than one tooth on its own. Your dentist will discuss the best options for you.
What should we do if the implanted teeth are accidentally damaged?
Implant crowns and dental implants that support them can be damaged in an accident in the same way that natural teeth can be damaged. Therefore, it is important to use a professionally made mouth guard if you are doing intense sport that involves contact with other people or moving objects.
You may find our information on mouthguards useful. If only the teeth are damaged, they can usually be removed from the implant and replaced.
In cases which the titanium implant fixture itself is damaged beyond repair, it can remain in the jaw without causing any danger if it is too difficult to be remove. Another implant may be placed next to it to replace the damaged implant.
What happens if the bones surrounding the implant reject the implant ?
This is very rare. However, in case the implant is failed during or just after the healing period, it can be easily removed and your jaw will heal back to normal. After the jaw has healed, another dental implant can be placed there. In some cases, your dentist can place a bridge that has been successfully supported by an implant.
Can I have dental implant done in the national health service centers (such as social security)?
Dental implants are not routinely available in the NHS. Implants are available privately. However, in many situations, the cost of treatment is only marginally more than the cost of dental treatment with an insurance policy at a health care facility with crowns and bridges. In the long run, dental implants are usually a more cost-effective and satisfying option.
There are other benefits for dental implants as well. If you intend to do a dental implant to replace only one tooth, there is no need to remove the adjacent teeth (which is the opposite of using dentures in most of the cases ). On the other hand, as for dental bridges on natural teeth your dentist needs to place a bridge on adjacent teeth where have been prepped even when those teeth were completely intact. your dentist must do this to support the bridge and place crowns on these teeth.
Sometimes dentures slip around making it difficult to speak and eat. But teeth attached to implants do not cause this problem, because they are more firmly attached to the bone than natural teeth.
Where should I go for implant surgery?
Talk to your dentist. They may perform some or all of these treatments themselves and give you the necessary advice. Or they may refer you to an dental implant specialist (implantologist) for evaluation and treatment.
Remember to ask these questions:
- Exactly what treatment is recommended for you?
- How experienced is the dentist in this field?
- What is the total cost of treatment?
- What are the different options for you?
Make sure you complete a treatment plan, along with your assessment and evaluation, and be sure to ask questions about whether or not your treatment is guaranteed. If you are unhappy with any answer you get, ask for another opinion. You will spend a lot of time, effort and money, so you need to be sure of what you will get at the end of the treatment.