Dental implants are a type of prosthesis used by dentists to replace missing teeth. An implant consists of two parts –
- A titanium post that is inserted in the jaw bone surgically
- The abutment rests on top of the post, filling in space. These can be a single crown, a bridge, a partial denture, or a full denture.
Per-Ingvar Brånemark was a Swedish orthopedic surgeon who invented the first implant in 1952. Since then, multiple developments in the field of implant dentistry have now made dental implants the most sought-after tooth replacement option.
Numerous Americans suffer from tooth loss, despite all the progress made in dental care. The usual causes include gum disease (which affects about 60% of Americans), injury, etc. Replacing missing teeth is imperative for oral health since it restores the function and aesthetic of the oral cavity.
There are several options for replacing teeth, which include partial and full dentures, fixed dental bridges, and dental implants. The restorative option depends on the following factors –
- Location of the missing tooth/teeth
- The quantity and quality of the jawbone
- The patient’s general health
- The patient’s preference
- The cost of treatment
What Are The Advantages of Dental Implants?
Compared to the traditional methods of tooth replacement, dental implants have added advantages.
- No healthy tooth structure has to be removed or cut off to make space for dental bridges. The implant is placed in the area of the missing tooth with the abutment on top.
- They have an extremely high success rate – about 98%. This makes them ideal for prosthetic purposes.
- Since implants are placed into the jawbone, they mimic tooth root after the post fuses with the jawbone through osseointegration. This fusion also ensures the strength and longevity of the implant.
- Implants not only look but also feel just like natural teeth. Aside from increased aesthetic, the patient has a renewed sense of self-esteem.
- Dental implants completely negate the discomfort that comes with wearing dentures. They don’t slip, don’t become loose, don’t affect speech, and aren’t embarrassing or uncomfortable to handle.
What Are The Disadvantages of Dental Implants?
Aside from their many advantages, dental implants also have some disadvantages.
- The biggest con associated with a dental implant is that of cost. Implants aren’t covered by dental insurance and they can burn a hole in your pocket.
- The entire process of getting an implant can be incredibly time-consuming. It can take anywhere from 6 weeks to 6 months for the entire procedure to be completed.
- If the health of the jawbone is compromised or if the patient fails to comply with their dentist’s instructions and doesn’t take care of their oral health, it can lead to implant failure.
- Certain patients might have to undergo additional procedures such as a bone graft or a sinus lift before the implant. This increases both the cost and time of the entire treatment.
What Is The Procedure For Dental Implants?
- The process of getting an implant starts with a consultation with your dentist at Le Sueur Family Dental. X-rays and 3D images might be taken to assess the bone and oral health.
- The second step involves taking impressions of your oral cavity.
- The third step includes any additional procedures (extractions, bone grafts, etc.) that might be required.
- The fourth step consists of the placement of the titanium post in the jaw bone under local anesthesia or combination with IV or oral sedation.
- The final step is the placement of the abutment on the implant post.
In cases of simple placement with minimal or no grafting, patients don’t experience a lot of post-operative swelling or discomfort. However, in complex cases which involve grafting, the recovery period can be extended.
Patients experience mild discomfort accompanied by minor inflammation and occasional bruising that might last a few days. This is managed by medication and post-operative instructions given by the dentist. Patients normally return to their regular diet after approximately 7-10 days. In certain cases, patients might be advised to follow a soft diet for up to 6 weeks.
What Is The Recovery Time For Dental Implants?
The recovery period after getting an implant can be affected by the following –
- The number of implants placed (single, multiple, or whole jaw)
- The health of the bone
- Any additional procedures
- The patient’s oral condition and lifestyle choices.
The patient’s lifestyle greatly impacts the healing and recovery time. For example, smokers are advised to either avoid smoking or minimize it for a week or two to not hamper the recovery. Aside from the extended time taken to heal, smoking also harms the healing process, particularly if grafting is involved.
Additionally, the patient’s oral habits also play a huge role in the success of an implant. If the patient fails to comply with proper brushing and flossing, they can cause the site of surgery to get infected. As a result, this could lead to implant failure.
If you experience prolonged pain, it could be any of the following issues, and you should get in touch with your dentist immediately –
- Poor or hampered blood supply to the surgical site
- An allergic reaction to the titanium
- An infection
- Tissue or nerve damage
- Overloading, which is a complication of implants
- Rejection of the implant
How Long Do Dental Implants Last?
Dental implants, unlike natural teeth, aren’t prone to decay, but gum health is essential to maintain its longevity and success. Patients are advised to care for their implants by going in for routine professional cleanings, regular follow-ups, and caring at home. The success of an implant relies on not only the planning and diagnosis of the procedure, but also your medical history, and your lifestyle choices during the healing period.
Usually, with a proper oral routine and regular visits to the dental office, implants can last a lifetime, barring any complications.
For more information on dental implants, their indications, and the cost, feel free to get in touch with the family dentists at Le Sueur Family Dental. Call us at (507) 665-6812 today to book an appointment.