When one thinks of dental implants, one thinks of the aesthetic appeal and the permanence of the procedure. These two factors in particular have transformed the dental implant into the standard of care in terms of teeth replacement.
Dental Implants – The Basic Information
While dental care has significantly improved over the years, millions of Americans still go through tooth loss – particularly due to gum disease, tooth decay, or injuries. Swedish Orthopedic surgeon, Per-Ingvar Brånemark invented the dental implant as a more permanent option for replacing a missing tooth. With modern-day developments, dental implants have become the go-to treatment of choice for both patients and dentists worldwide.
Dental implants are essentially units replicating a tooth root. These are placed surgically into the jaw bone and then topped off with a crown (or bridge) to fill in the space left behind by the missing tooth.
Dental Implants – The Types
Two types of dental implants have existed in the past –
- Endosteal: an implant that is present “in the bone”.
- Subperiosteal: an implant that rests on the jawbone just beneath the gum tissue. These are no longer used since they offered poorer long-term results when compared to endosteal implants.
Essentially, tooth replacement is the primary function of a dental implant. However, implants are capable of assisting other dental procedures. Owing to their stability, they are sometimes used in cases of removable dentures to provide a comfortable and more secure fit. Additionally, they are also used in cases of orthodontics as temporary anchorage devices. This helps move teeth to their desired positions. These are temporary and are removed after their function has been served to completion.
An additional option involving dental implants is full mouth dentures for patients who have lost all of their teeth because of either gum disease or decay. These provide a stable foundation for the dentures. One such technique is called the “All-on-4”. Coined by Nobel Biocare, an implant manufacturer, this technique devises the use of 4 implants to replace all teeth in either the upper or the lower arch. The dental implants are placed surgically in areas of healthy bone and then the denture is fixed on top of them.
Dental implants have vastly improved oral health and allow for a variety of treatment options involving the replacement of single or multiple teeth.
Dental Implants – The Procedure
Patients considering a dental implant undergo a thorough screening process to assess whether or not they’re a suitable candidate for the procedure. A normal healthy individual with proper oral hygiene and no debilitating medical conditions is the prime choice for a candidate. Additionally, since the procedure is carried out over time, having thriving relationships for moral support is also considered pretty important.
Candidates who smoke, have poor oral health, or suffer from cardiac disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, etc. aren’t advised dental implants, and especially not without the consent of their primary health care provider. Furthermore, patients either undergoing or about to undergo radiation therapy are also advised against the approach.
But no matter what the situation, your dentist has the final say on whether or not they think you should opt for an implant.
- If you’re given the green light for the procedure, your oral cavity will undergo a thorough examination. Digital imaging will also be done to assess the quantity and quality of the jawbone. Additionally, any teeth with visible signs of decay and damage might be removed. Your dentist will chalk out a custom treatment plan for you after the assessment is complete and the preventive measures are taken.
- The procedure involves the use of either a local anesthetic or a sedative to keep you pain-free and comfortable. To place the titanium base, your dentist will cut the gum and expose the bone. After drilling the ample amount of space required, the implant will then be placed within it. Post-procedure, you might feel a little sore and will notice some swelling. These will be managed easily by the medication your dentist provides.
- Over time, the jawbone grows around the titanium post and fuses with it owing to osseo integration. This process results in the dental implant having a long life and occurs over 6 weeks to 6 months. Your dentist will ask you to come in regularly to ensure proper healing of the surgical site.
- When the dentist feels that the integration has been completed, they will place a small connector called an “abutment” above the gum line.
- Following the gum healing, impressions of your upper and lower jaws will be taken and then sent to a lab. The lab will manufacture the crown/bridge/denture to be placed on the implant. You can opt for the prosthesis to be either fixed or removable depending on the requirement and your dentists’ recommendation.
- On a subsequent visit, the prosthesis will be placed on the implant. You will be asked to come to the dental office regularly to assess the implant’s progress.
Dental Implants – The Problems
Dental implants usually have a success rate of about 98%. But that doesn’t mean you might not run into an issue with it. Most implant-related issues are either due to a lack of good oral health or rejection by the body’s immune system. Other issues usually include the lowered health of the jaw bone, certain diseases, or faulty procedure.
Certain other problems involving dental implants are the amount of time it takes from start to finish. Moreover, most insurance providers do not cover the cost of an implant, making it a pretty big bill to be paid out of your pocket.
Dental Implants – The Cost
The cost for a single implant to a full-mouth restoration varies from one dental office to the other. They usually cost up to thousands of dollars. And because dental insurance providers aren’t much help, it can be a pretty nerve-wracking task to come to a decision. But before you decide to forego this route entirely, get in touch with us at Le Sueur Family Dental. Because we believe you can’t put a price on a great smile.