Dental Implants are replacements for the roots of teeth. They are surgically placed in the jawbones and allowed to fuse with the bone. Then they can act as strong and sturdy foundation for teeth replacements. They are made up of titanium and other biocompatible materials.
Dental implants can be used to replace a single tooth, several teeth or complete dentition. The aim is to restore function and esthetics. It can be used in any age and to replace teeth lost due to any reason.
To maintain its shape and density bone needs stimulation. Teeth, when present, give such stimulation to the alveolar bone. Once teeth are lost the lack of stimulation causes resorption of the bone. This can cause esthetic and functional problems. Titanium dental implants when placed inside the jaw can fuse to bone (osseointegration) and thus stabilize the bone and prevent its loss due to resorption.
First step is the assessment and planning of restoration of missing tooth/teeth. It is done with the help of X-rays and other imaging techniques. Quantity and quality of the bone is determined prior to placement of implants. Medical evaluation is necessary to determine whether implant is the right choice because uncontrolled diabetes, heart diseases etc. can interfere with the healing process.
Next step is the surgical placement of the implant into the jawbone. After local anesthesia, precision channels are drilled into the bone socket of the missing tooth with the help of surgical guides prepared using X-rays and/or CT scans. Then the implant, usually conical or cylindrical post made of titanium, is screwed into the drilled holes. After placing it the surrounding gum is secured over the implant and allowed to heal. During the first week diet should be restricted to soft foods.
During the healing process the bone grows around the implant (osseointegration) and securely anchors the implant into the bone. The healing can take 2- 6 months.
After healing the implant is uncovered and an “abutment” or a connector is placed on the implant post. It is to this connector the replacement tooth is attached. In some cases abutment is placed during the initial implant placement itself.
After abutment is placed impressions are made and temporary tooth crown can be attached to the abutment for esthetic purposes. The process is completed when permanent crowns are placed on the abutments.
Implants can be used for replacing single tooth, fixed multiple teeth, removable, partial or complete dentures etc.
Implants, abutment and replacement teeth- all can be placed together in some cases. But in most cases 2-6 months are allowed for osseointegration to take place before teeth are placed. Time frame varies with different factors such as the condition of the bone, oral hygiene and the teeth to be replaced.
No two cases are identical in quantity and quality of the jawbone, the type of implantation, number of appointments and the procedures required. So the cost can vary a lot. A single implant with the replacement tooth can cost between $2000- $3000. One important factor to be considered is the durability and long term cost benefits of implants over other restorative procedures. However, Regal Dentistry is extremely flexible in pricing, and has services to help accommodate the needs of any patient.
- Dental implants have the highest success rate among implanted devices in human body.
- Osseointegration, the ability of titanium to fuse in to the bone, is the basis of implant dentistry.
- Dental implants are the next best things after natural teeth as they provide the sturdiest anchor for replacement teeth.
- Good oral hygiene is very important in long term success of implants.
- Dental implants are cost effective compared to other tooth replacement options because of its durability, convenience and comfort.