According to the Dental Health Association, most Irish adults have a form of periodontal disease. In fact, only 8% of 35-44 year-olds and 7% of people aged 65 and over have healthy gums.
Periodontal disease is one of the main causes of tooth loss along with tooth decay and injury. When tooth loss happens, a patient may require a dental implant procedure to regain their beautiful smile.
In the past, a patient’s only choices for tooth loss were a bridge or dentures. Thankfully, tooth plants are now a viable option for many people.
If you’ve been considering dental implants or are about to have the procedure done, keep reading. We’re sharing with you everything you need to know about dental implant procedures.
What a Dental Implant Procedure Is
In 1952 Swedish orthopaedic surgeon Per-Ingvar Branêmark invented dental implants. Dental implants are a prosthetic replacement for missing teeth.
A titanium post acts like a tooth’s root which is surgically placed into the jawbone beneath a patient’s gum line. This surgical fixture becomes the base for the replacement teeth.
Benefits of Tooth Implants
The biggest benefit of dental implants is that they are a permanent solution to a missing tooth. Also, they closely resemble natural teeth. Dental implants even feel similar to natural teeth. Eating with dental implants is the same as eating with natural teeth, which is a common complaint with denture wearers.
Dental implants act as a strong foundation for fixed or removable artificial teeth. They are surgically fused into the jawbone. Once in place, the implant stays on its own without negatively affecting any nearby teeth, unlike bridges.
Patients can get single and multiple implants depending on their needs and preferences.
Factors That Affect the Decision to Invest in Dental Implants
You and your dentist should carefully go over your options before you decide to get dental implants. Factors that should be considered are:
- Quantity of jawbone where the implant will be placed
- Quality of jawbone where the implant will be placed
- Location of missing tooth/teeth
- Health of patient
- Patient’s preference
Tooth implant cost is also a big factor. It is the most expensive option over a bridge or a denture but also has the best benefits.
However, not all patients are good candidates for dental implants.
Types of Dental Implants
While there used to be two different types of dental implants, only endosteal implants (drilled into the jawbone) are used today. Subperiosteal implants (lie on top of the jawbone) do not yield good long-term results when compared to endosteal dental implants.
Endosteal refers to an implant that’s surgically implanted directly into the jawbone. Endosteal implants have long-term results since they are directly fixed within the bone.
After the surrounding gum area is healed, a second surgery is performed which connects a post to the main implant. The next step is to mount an artificial tooth to the post.
These artificial teeth can be fixed or removable, depending on what the patient prefers.
Other Uses of Dental Implants
Thanks to the stability of dental implants, they can also assist in other dental procedures. They can support a removable denture and provide a more comfortable and secure fit.
Dental Implants as Temporary Anchorage Devices
Implants can also be used for orthodontics procedures. Dental mini-implants are used to act as temporary anchorage devices (TAD). TADs help move the teeth to their desired position.
Since mini-implants are small and temporary, they can be removed after serving their function.
The All-On-4 Technique
Patients who have lost all their teeth as a result of gum disease of the upper and/or lower arch or tooth decay also benefit from dental implants. The All-On-4 technique uses four implants to replace all the teeth in a single arch.
The dental surgeon places the implants strategically in areas where a good amount of strong bone is found. A thin denture prosthesis is then screwed into place.
This procedure provides stable teeth replacement but is not removable. It provides patients with a more natural feel than dentures and can replace single and multiple missing teeth.
In patients who have some teeth left which need to be extracted, you may want to consider Click-tite dentures. At the time of extraction, dental surgeons place the implants.
This reduces procedure time and allows you to be fitted with your dentures sooner. Click-tite dentures help maintain the health and security of your jawbone.
Click-tite implants are strong but comfortable. They’re also easily removed in order to clean them. They’re even tax-deductible.
Bone Grafts and Sinus Lifts
With patients who have lost some or all of their natural teeth, they may have experienced bone loss or resorption. Resorption occurs when the jaw bone where the missing teeth once were, end up shrinking back and dissolving.
In those cases, your oral surgeon may require a bone graft to restore the bone. In cases where there isn’t enough bone height in the upper jaw or in cases where the sinuses are too close to the jaw, a sinus lift is necessary.
Bone grafts and sinus lifts help support dental implants and allow them to be placed.
Consult and Planning Stages
Your dental surgeon will examine the area(s) in your mouth where dental implants are being considered. X-rays, panoramic films, and/or CT scans will be taken at this time so the dentist can assess the quality and quantity of your jawbone.
Your dental surgeon’s team will also discuss tooth implant cost with you at this time. The cost ultimately depends on what type of dental implant you need.
Talk with your dentist to ask about whether insurance covers any of the procedures. You can also ask about any possible payment plans they may offer.
The First Stage of Dental Implant Surgery
Once the area has been properly numbed with a local anaesthetic, the first step is to extract any teeth that are damaged. At this point, you may also need an alveolar bone graft to ensure a solid bone base necessary for the implant.
If it’s a very involved procedure you may have to wait two to six months in order for the area to heal properly. However, if there’s enough bone present, once the tooth is extracted, the implant placement procedure can commence immediately and is known as immediate implant placement.
The Implant Placement Procedure
The dental surgeon will place the dental implant (titanium post) into the bone using a special drill and other tools. Next, a healing cap is placed over the implant and the gum is stitched up. It’s then time to heal before your next appointment.
You may receive a temporary denture while waiting to heal to replace any missing teeth. This is purely for aesthetic purposes.
Healing time depends on the quality of the bone. It usually takes anywhere between two to six months to heal properly
Healing Allows the Implant to Integrate with the Bone
While you’re waiting to heal the implant will integrate itself with the bone. To avoid any problems, do not place any force or stress on the implant during the healing phase.
You’ll need a follow-up appointment so your dental surgeon can check to ensure everything is going well. Once you’re healed, they’ll test the dental implant to make sure the surrounding bone took it up.
It’s Time to Get Your Crown
If it was successful, a prosthetic component known as an abutment is connected to the dental implant using a screw. The abutment holds the replacement tooth or crown.
The dentist takes an impression of the crown in order to have the implant crown custom-made to fit your mouth. Once the implant crown comes back, the dentist will cement on or secure the crown using a screw.
Potential Risks and Complications
There is always some type of risk and/or complications with any surgery. It’s important to carefully work with your dental surgeon to create a successful plan.
You should take good care of yourself to ensure you’re healthy enough to undergo oral surgery. Being in good health also helps you heal more rapidly.
Tell your dental surgeon if you have any of the following conditions:
- Bleeding disorders
- Existing medical conditions
You should also notify your dentist of any medications you’re currently taking.
High Success Rate
While the success rate is high, it is possible for the following conditions to occur:
- Fracturing the dental implant
- Overloading the dental implant
- Causing damage to the surrounding area
- Poor positioning of the dental implant
- Poor bone quality and/or quantity
However, it’s not uncommon to be able to make another attempt if there’s an issue with the first try. You’ll just need to wait to heal first.
Whether There’s Discomfort and/or Pain
Your dental surgeon will use a local anaesthetic to numb the area. Let her or him know if you can still feel anything at any time during the surgery.
However, once the anaesthetic wears off, you will typically feel some form of discomfort. How much and for how long depends on the individual.
OTC Pain Medications are Typically Recommended
For most people, it feels similar to having a tooth extracted. You’ll be given a cold ice pack to place on the area immediately after surgery. This helps reduce swelling.
Your oral surgeon will recommend managing any additional pain and swelling with over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil). If your surgery was more invasive, your surgeon may prescribe you stronger pain medication as well as antibiotics and an oral rinse.
In those cases, you can use all three to support the healing of the area for a few weeks.
One risk dental implants have that differs from other types of surgeries is peri-implantitis. It’s a periodontal disease for natural teeth.
The gums and bone surrounding your new implant may become inflamed. This happens due to excessive biting forces on the implant. A bacterial infection can also cause peri-implantitis.
Take Care of Your Teeth and Gums
To avoid this problem, it’s important to take good care of your teeth and gums at home. Brush and floss regularly.
Make sure to schedule and show up to all your follow up visits to your dentist. He or she will examine the surrounding soft and hard tissues. If any harder calcified deposits are found around the implant, your dentist will remove the using special tools.
They can also adjust your bite to make sure the implant won’t sustain any heavy biting forces.
Benefits of Dental Implants
There is a myriad of benefits to getting dental implants. Your overall appearance will improve.
Those with a healthy set of teeth tend to smile more. Smiling helps make you feel more confident and promotes better mental health.
Implants look and feel like real teeth. This helps improve your speech. Dentures can slip but implants stay where they’re supposed to.
Enjoy Your Favourite Foods
It’s easier to eat and enjoy your food with implants. You can eat without pain and chewing is easier than with sliding dentures.
With a tooth-supported bridge, it requires reducing some of your other teeth. Dental implants don’t need nearby teeth to be altered in order to support the implant.
Instead, more of your own teeth are left intact. The result is improved oral health. Individual implants also make it easier to gain access between teeth which also improves oral hygiene.
With Proper Care Will Last You a Lifetime
Dental implants are durable and last for many years. If you take good care of them, they’ll last you for a lifetime.
Dental implants are also convenient. Since they act like real teeth, you don’t need to remove them. There’s also no messy adhesives necessary to keep them in place.
Where to Get Dental Implants
If you’re considering a dental implant procedure and need a good dental surgeon, you’ve come to the right place. We have two convenient clinics which are open seven days a week.
We’re happy to work with nervous patients and can help alleviate any anxieties you may have. Don’t wait to get the smile you deserve. Click here to contact us today.