Millions of people are suffering from tooth loss mainly due to periodontal disease, tooth decay, or oral injury. Dentures and bridges are traditional ways to treat oral issues. These conventional approaches have been replaced by dental implants.

Dental implants (1)

A dental implant is an approach to tooth replacement. It is a surgical biomaterial that supports a dental prosthesis by interfacing it with the jaw bone. It provides a solid base for a removable or fixed replacement tooth, which is tailored according to the needs of the patient.

Advantages of dental implants

  • Improved speech

A patient mumbles when poor-fitted dentures slip and move within the mouth. Dental implants keep this from happening.

  • Improved appearance

Fine teeth impact greatly on appearance. A person with a missing or damaged tooth hesitates to communicate freely. Dental implants look like natural teeth. They are made to fuse with the jaw bone and improve the oral appearance.

  • Enhanced comfort

Traditional oral dentures are needed to be removed for cleaning or some other purposes. This discomfort has been eliminated by dental implants.

  • Easier eating

Movable dentures cause difficulty in eating. Dental implants are embedded in the jaw bone and the patient can easily eat his favourite food without any pain.

  • Improved oral health

The traditional approach of using bridges requires the reduction of nearby teeth as well. Dental implants eliminate this procedure and leave nearby teeth intact. This enhances the oral health of a patient.

  • Durability

Dental implants have long durability and last for a lifetime when oral hygiene is maintained.

  • Convenience

A patient needs various adhesives to keep dentures in place. Moreover, the patient feels uncomfortable and embarrassed while removing dentures. Dental implants provide convenience to the patient as they are implanted in the gums permanently.

Types of dental implants

  1. Endosteal implant

Where the implant is placed in the jaw bone

  1. Subperiosteal implant

Where the implant is placed on the jaw bone

Functions of dental implant

Teeth replacement is the main function of the dental implant. Besides this function, it also assists in some other areas of dental processes. Such as mini-dental implants are used as temporary anchorage devices (TAD). They anchor the teeth at their position. Moreover, dental implants provide comfortable and secure support to non-fixed dentures.

 Procedure (2)

  • Planning

A dentist designs the treatment plan of a patient. In this plan, he generally considers the health condition of the place where surgery is going to happen. He assesses the quantity and quality of jaw bone. After examining all dental images (panoramic films, X rays, and CT scans), he moves forward towards the surgical procedure.

  • Surgery

Stage 1

Local anesthesia is given to the patient to avoid any inconvenience and pain. At this stage, the dentist clears up the mission place. In the case of tooth loss, it is all cleared already, but in the case of the damaged tooth, he extracts out the remaining damaged part of the tooth. In some cases, bone grafting seems significant to provide a solid base for the implant. Bone grafting is done before the surgery and takes almost six months to heal.

 Stage 2

Once the implant site is prepared it’s time to make incisions. The dentist exposes the bone by cutting off a small circular portion of gum at the target site. Holes are drilled in that bone to place the implant. At first, these holes are drilled at high speed, but it is also important to prevent the site from overheating as it can harm the osteoblasts. Once the hole is drilled, dentist now expands this hole by drilling it further at low speed.

Stage 3

A dental post, mainly made of titanium or titanium alloy, is placed in the hole, which is then covered by a healing cap. After that, the process of Osseo-integration starts. This process refers to the fusion of osteoblasts with the dental post. It usually takes two to six months to heal up, all depending upon the bone’s quality.

Stage 4

After the healing time, dentist determines the condition of the dental post and surrounding bones. Then he connects a prosthetic component known as an “abutment” to the dental post. The abutment acts as an anchoring base to the Crown.

Stage 5

The dentist takes mold (impression) of abutment and tailors a crown according to the mold.The Crown is either screwed or cemented to the abutment.

Follow-up care

  • In rare cases, the tooth develops infection due to poor osseointegration known as “peri-implantitis”. A patient needs to get proper follow-up care after dental surgery to avoid this type of infection.
  • Eating habits have an impact on dental surgery’s life span. If the patient is eating hard food then too much force on the implant might cause bacterial infection. So a patient must eat a healthy soft diet in the initial months of surgery.
  • Patients must follow good oral hygiene, which includes flossing and daily brushing. Through these practices, he can avoid plaque formation.

Cost of dental implant

The cost of dental implants varies according to the countries and dentist who is performing the surgery. But an estimated cost of dental surgery lies between $3000-5000.

The life span of a dental implant (3)

The durability of a dental implant depends upon its nature. It also varies according to the patient’s oral health and his hygienic practice. Dental implants can last an entire lifetime through regular cleaning and good care of dental implants.

Rate of dental implant failure (4)

There are 5% chances that a patient can face dental implant failure. It means 1 among 20 patients can experience implant failure. If a patient smokes, then the failure rate rises to 20%. It happens because nicotine and other substances in cigarettes constrict the vessels and eventually reduces blood flow. It makes the healing procedure go slower.

Risk factors of dental implant failure

  • Gum disease
  • Smoking
  • Bad oral hygiene
  • Placement of implant in maxilla
  • Certain medications