Dental Implant Overview
A dental implant is the modern replacement option for a missing tooth or teeth. Essentially an implant is a titanium screw post, that is shaped like the root of a natural tooth. These are screwed into the jaw bone of the patient and then an artificial tooth (crown) is placed on top.
At Stoke Road Dental Practice, we feel dental implants are ideal solution for a missing tooth as they are:
- Helpful in preserving bone
- Conservative (no drilling of teeth required)
A dental implant may be used to enhance stability / retention / support for a loose denture.
After titanium dental implants are placed into healthy bone, studies have shown how the body accepts the implants by fusing with the surrounding bone over the preceding months – a process known as Osseointegration (bone-implant fusing). Surface / design modification to dental implants is a rapidly evolving field and newer implants allow for a faster Osseointegration.
If you have lost more than one tooth – multiple implants may be linked together and used to support a bridge or denture. You do not necessarily need 1 implant per missing tooth.
The procedure is usually carried out over several months and involves some / all of the following:
- Thorough PLANNING with dental models and CBCT (Cone Beam Computed Technology) scan. A lengthy CONSENT process to treatment is also undertaken.
- SURGICAL phase of placing implants (possibly with temporary prosthesis depending on case OR continuing with modified existing prosthesis).
- UNCOVERING – after a sufficient healing period, a small surgical procedure to uncover the head of the implant and the attachment of a transmucosal abutment or temporary implant restoration – this stage does not always have to be done.
- RESTORATIVE – impressions are made for the laboratory dental technician to construct “teeth” that are finally attached to the implant.
Success of dental implants are improving with improved implant surfaces and designs. Studies have shown that in good conditions, they should last at least 15 years. If in the unfortunate event that an implant fails – the reasons for failure will be investigated. It is possible to remove a failing implant and after a period of bone healing, it is possible to place a new implant.
If the amount of available bone is not sufficient to place an implant, artificial bone may have to be placed before or during implant placement.
The surgical placement phase of treatment usually takes 1-3 hours. It is usually carried out with local anaesthetic only. However, if you feel nervous about the procedure, oral or intra venous sedatives may be given to make the procedure more tolerable.
After the procedure, frequently patients do not feel severe pain. Paracetamol / Ibuprofen is usually give to control mild-moderate pain.
Maintenance – plaque around a dental implant, may result in hard and soft tissue inflammatory reactions, with eventual bone loss and failure. Therefore, like teeth, dental implants need maintenance, monitoring, x-ray monitoring and cleaning around the junction of the implant and the superficial tooth part.
Please note: Dental implants are unlike transplanted vital organs (such as heart), and hence do not require blood matching, tissue typing and anti-rejection drugs.
Please discuss this treatment option in detail with Dr Vijay Raichura.