What is a Dental Implant? – Exploring the Basics

A dental implant is more than just a typical replacement; it’s practically a new tooth root surgically placed within the jawbone. As time passes, the implant fuses with the bone to create a seamless, steadfast foundation to which an artificial tooth, known as a crown, may be attached. This method allows for a natural-looking and robust tooth replacement that seems as natural as ever.

What are the components of dental implants?

A dental implant comprises three key elements:

•The implant post: This is made from titanium or other biocompatible materials and is surgically placed into the jawbone.

The abutment: This connector attaches the crown to the implant.

The crown: This is an artificial tooth that is custom-made to match your natural teeth.

What are the benefits of dental implants?

Dental implants offer various advantages compared to other choices for tooth replacement, such as dentures and bridges. These include:

A more natural-looking appearance: Dental implants look and feel like your own teeth, so you don’t have to worry about them looking artificial.

Increased comfort: Implants are stable and secure, so you don’t have to worry about them slipping or causing discomfort like dentures can.

• Improved speech: Dental implants are securely anchored into your jawbone, which helps improve your speech and prevents slurring while talking.

• Increased durability and longevity: Dental implants can last a lifetime with proper care and maintenance.

• Improved oral health: Dental implants provide a splendid substitute for traditional bridges since they don’t affect the surrounding teeth. The implants help conserve the natural teeth, ensuring their well-being and captivating look for a long time.

Who should get a dental implant?

Dental implants prove to be a fitting solution for individuals who are missing one or more teeth. Nonetheless, not everyone may be a suitable candidate. Your dentist will evaluate your oral health before proceeding with the procedure to ensure you meet the necessary qualifications. Generally speaking, candidates should:

• Have no gum disease

• Have enough bone density in the jaw to support the implant

• Have good oral hygiene habits

• Not have severe bruxism (teeth grinding or clenching)

• Not smoke or use any form of tobacco products.

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Types of dental implants

  • Endosteal Implants

Endosteal implants are the most frequent type of dental implant used to support single teeth, bridges or dentures. They are made from titanium, whose strength and durability are known, and placed directly into the jawbone. This makes them an excellent choice of material and renders them biocompatible with the human body.

  • Subperiosteal Implants

Subperiosteal implants are a smart alternative for individuals who do not possess enough bone density to accommodate endosteal implants. These implants are placed underneath the gum but on top of the jawbone and consist of custom-fit metal frames.

  • Mini Implants

Mini implants are the smaller, titanium-based version of endosteal implants usually deployed to support a singular tooth or for an appliance such as dentures or bridges. By offering greater flexibility than their traditional counterparts, mini implants remain a preferred choice for those seeking optimum oral health and are usually favoured when a less invasive option is necessary.

  • Zygomatic Implants

Unlike traditional endosteal implants, Zygomatic implants are not placed in the jawbone. Instead, they are placed in the cheekbone and are mainly used for patients with insufficient bone density in their jaw. Similar to their traditional counterparts, zygomatic implants are also composed of titanium.

  • All-on-4 Implants

All-on-4 implants are an advanced type of endosteal implant that provides comprehensive support for dentures. Unlike traditional options that sit on the gums, All-on-4 dentures snap onto the implants for added security and comfort. These implants can be crafted from titanium or zirconia, a robust and long-lasting ceramic material. With their strength and durability, All-on-4 implants significantly improve traditional dental restoration techniques.

How do you prepare for a dental implant procedure?

To undergo a dental implant procedure, an oral exam and X-rays are a prerequisite. This helps the dentist determine if you are a good candidate for dental implants and which type is best suited for your needs. The dentist may also recommend that you undergo bone grafting to increase the density of your jawbone. This minimally invasive surgical procedure aims to fortify the jawbone, increasing the likelihood of successful implant placement. You may also need to thoroughly clean your teeth before the dental surgery.

You should also inform your dentist of any medications you are taking, as some medications may increase your risk of complications during or after the procedure. Finally, you should arrange for a friend or family member to take you home after your procedure, as it is not safe to drive following implant placement.

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How does a dental implant procedure work?

1. Consult with your dentist: Your dentist will conduct an initial consultation to examine your mouth and evaluate whether or not you’re a suitable candidate for dental implants. This assessment is crucial in determining the appropriate course of treatment for you.

2. Prepare the implant site: The implant site must be prepared to ensure that the implant is securely placed into the jawbone. This generally requires minor surgery, such as drilling and shaping the area.

3. Place of the implant: Once your site is ready, your dentist will use a specialised tool to precisely place the dental implant into the prepared area.

4. Allow for healing and integration: Once the implant is in place, it takes time to fuse with the jawbone, usually 3-6 months, ensuring a secure hold. This vital process should not be rushed.

5. Attach the abutment: Once the implant is fully integrated and stable, your dentist will attach an abutment to secure the crown onto the implant.

6. Place the crown: The final step is placing the custom-made artificial tooth (or teeth) onto the abutment.

 Procedure steps for placing a dental implant 

1. To begin, an incision is made in the gums to expose the underlying bone.

2. A drill is then used to create a hole in the bone for the implant to be placed in.

3. The implant is then placed into the hole and secured with screws.

4. The gum tissue is then sutured closed around the implant.

5. For the implant to properly fuse with the bone, a healing period of several months is necessary.

How long do dental implants last?

With proper care and maintenance, dental implants are designed to last a lifetime. Studies have demonstrated an above 95% success rate indicating high durability and reliability. However, it’s important to remember that implant failure can occur if the implant is not properly cared for or if there are any underlying issues with other teeth or your jawbone.

Are there any risks to dental implant surgery?

Like any operation, dental implant surgery carries risks. These can include:

Infection: The implant site may become infected, which can cause pain and swelling. If the infection is severe, you may require additional surgery to remove the implant.

• Damage to surrounding structures: There is also a chance that the implant could damage the surrounding teeth or tissues during placement. This can be avoided by having an experienced and skilled dentist or oral surgeon perform the procedure.

Nerve or tissue damage: Improper placement of the implant can result in nerve damage, leading to painful sensations such as tingling, numbness or paralysis of facial muscles.

Incomplete integration with the jawbone: This means that the implant does not fully bond with the jawbone, resulting in instability of the implant.

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Are dental implants painful?

The implant placement procedure is usually done with local anaesthesia, and most patients don’t experience pain during the procedure. After the procedure, you may experience some pain or discomfort in the area of the implant for a few days, but this can be managed with over-the-counter or prescription medications.

 Aftercare instructions for a successful dental implant 

  1. Follow your dentist’s instructions:

Aftercare instructions provided by your dentist must be followed with utmost care to ensure a successful outcome.

  1. Avoid hard or sticky foods:

It is important to avoid any hard or sticky foods that could damage the implant or cause it to become loose.

  1. Keep your mouth clean:

Keeping your implant pristine is essential, and that’s why brushing and flossing twice a day is so important. Prevent unwanted plaque and tartar buildup by incorporating these simple actions into your daily routine.

  1. Visit your dentist regularly:

Regular dental check-ups are essential for promptly addressing potential issues, hence maintaining good oral health.

  1. Avoid smoking:

Tobacco consumption can heighten the chances of implant fiascos. It’s plausible to cease or bypass smoking entirely to negate the possible risks.

What is the cost of dental implants?

Dental implants cost can fluctuate depending on various factors, such as the number of implants required, the materials utilized, and any supplementary treatments or procedures that may be necessary. Typically, an individual implant procedure may start at a minimum of $3000.

Factors that affect the cost of dental implants

  1. The type of dental implants chosen:

There are different types of dental implants that are available on the market, each with its own set of benefits and drawbacks. The type of implant that is chosen will ultimately affect the cost of the procedure.

  1. The number of dental implants needed:

The total cost of dental implant surgery largely depends on the number of implants you require. Patients needing multiple tooth implants can expect to pay more than those needing one implant.

  1. The location of the dental implants:

The dental implant’s location also affects the cost. Placement in harder-to-reach areas of the mouth drives up the billing, compared to implants in easier-to-reach vicinity.

  1. The type of anaesthesia used:

The type of anaesthesia used during the procedure can also affect the cost. Generally, the cost of general anaesthesia exceeds that of local anaesthesia since it necessitates additional care from the medical team.

               5. The experience of the dentist:
The cost of dental implant surgery can be influenced by the experience and skill set of the surgeon. Those who have honed their craft and performed more procedures may charge higher fees. In contrast, surgeons with less experience may offer cheaper services.

    6. Insurance coverage:

Insurance coverage can significantly impact the cost of dental implants. Depending on the policies, coverage varies and may include associated expenses. However, some may not offer any.

Conclusion:

Dental implants provide a reliable and safe option to replace missing teeth, improving both your oral health and quality of life with their natural-looking appeal. By understanding the procedure, benefits and potential risks associated with implants, you can make a well-informed and confident decision to enhance your smile.

If you’re contemplating dental implants, contact us today to schedule a consultation with our accomplished dental squad. We’ll gladly respond to any queries and assist you in ascertaining if this treatment aligns with your needs.

Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.

References:

  1. https://www.healthline.com/health/dental-and-oral-health/dental-implant-procedure#cost
  2. https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/dental-implant#:~:text=The%20dental%20implant%20is%20fitted,the%20new%20tooth%20or%20teeth.