ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT DENTAL IMPLANTS
Dental implants or fixtures are components of a surgical procedure which create an interface between the false teeth and the jaw bone. They are designed to give support to a bridge, crown or any other dental prosthesis. They also support facial prosthesis or serves as an orthodontic anchor. The dental world has been taken aback by the dental implant technology. Dental implants offer reliable solutions to people who struggle with the loss of their teeth. If you wish to know more about dental implants, then this article is for you. Here, we will discuss all you need to know about dental implants including how they function; their benefits and disadvantages; the cost of having one fixed for you; and their possible risks and complications. Continue reading to know more about this great medical innovation.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are structures that are made to replace your natural tooth in the event of an accident, or injury. These fixtures come in the form of frames or metal posts. They are surgically positioned beneath the gums and into the jaw. After assembly, your dentist can then mount an artificial tooth on the implant.
How Do Dental Implants Work?
Implants are fused to the jawbone. This firm bonding allows them to support the artificial teeth and prevents them from shifting, especially when you are speaking or eating. Because the implants are well secured on the jaw, the bridges, dentures, or crowns placed individually over the implants have a feel more natural than conventional dentures or bridges without implants.
Some people may feel very uncomfortable with dentures or bridges due to gagging, poor ridges or sore spots. Also, ordinary bridges must be connected to the teeth on either side of the space left by the missing tooth. In comparison, implants have a significant advantage since there is absolutely no need to prepare any adjacent teeth or grounding them down to keep the new teeth or tooth in place.
For your implants to be properly fixed, you must have healthy gums. The implants will also have to be supported by bones; hence these must be adequate.
According to the American Dental Association, there are two safe types of dental implants. These are:
Endosteal and Subperiosteal Implants.
Endosteal implants are surgically implanted into the jaw. After the completion of the healing process, another surgery is done to fix a post known as “abutment” to the implant. Subsequently, an artificial tooth, a denture or a bridge can be secured on top of the post.
In the absence of necessary bone tissue, subperiosteal implants are used as a substitute. In this technique, implants are placed on the surface of a metal framework. The frame is then attached firmly onto the jaw bone below the gum. Posts connected to the frames pass through the gum tissue and the prostheses are then connected to these posts (Berglundh et al. 2002).
Do Dental Implants Have Any Benefits?
People with dental implants will benefit a lot from it. This is important especially in people who intend to replace a few teeth or even a single tooth. Some of the significant benefits include:
- The similarity to natural teeth: Yes! Having dental implants makes you feel like you’ve regrown your natural teeth. There is no feeling whatsoever that they are artificial. Your dentition feels strong and secure. As a matter of fact, you will not have any trouble eating anything – you can eat whatever you like. Also, flossing and cleaning of your teeth will not require any additional
- The results are long-lasting: Implants offer a lasting solution to your tooth loss. Bridges, which are commonly used, last at most around ten years. Similarly, dentures have a dated shelf-life. Conversely, implants can last for the rest of your life. They are usually produced by biocompatible substances. This implies that the implant fully integrates itself with the bone tissue (Misch, 2000).
- Prevents bone loss: Old age is associated with bone loss. However, having a dental implant reduces this risk. Studies have shown that failure to replace a lost tooth may cause a 25% loss of bone tissue in the jaw within a year.
- The neighbouring teeth also stand to benefit: Loss of one tooth may cause a dispositioning of the adjacent With implants, these nearby teeth can be stabilised.
- The risk of gingival disease and tooth loss is reduced: The chances of having gum disease is increased by gaps in the smile. Studies have shown that this is the major cause of tooth loss in UK adults.
Other benefits include:
- Improvement in confidence and speech
- Enhanced facial expression (Sinn et al. 2011).
How Do Dental Implants Feel and How to Look after Your Implants
Dental implants feel slightly different from the natural teeth. You won’t experience much sensation while eating or when you expose your teeth to varying temperature. There’s no closer match. When your implants are fixed, it is your duty to care for them the same way you would do for your natural teeth. It is best to stay away from chewy or hard foods while recovering from dental implant surgery. Stick to foods that can be masticated and swallowed without much stress. Foods that you may take during this period include yoghurt, soup, mashed potatoes, soft pasta, scrambled eggs, omelettes, ice cream and cottage cheese.
Are There Delays before Having the Implant?
There is no single answer to this question. Every dental case is different from the other. Also, implant systems vary from each other. As such, after tooth extraction, the patient would need to wait for the gum to heal before mounting an implant. Alternative treatments exist with quicker results. Procedures such as All-on-4 and All-on-6 implants give faster results. Your dentist usually discusses these options with you before the surgery.
How Safe is an Implant?
Implants are effective and safe. The most important fact about implants is that they must be assembled by trained specialists. There are some risks associated with dental implantation because of being a surgical procedure. Before the procedure, your dentist will let you know of some of the complications and potential side effects. However, most patients experience just a little discomfort during the treatment. You may experience some slight swelling or pain after surgery. You may also feel some numb sensations in your chin and lips. This can be relieved by taking some over the counter pain relievers. You may also feel a slight rise in your temperature after the procedure. You don’t have to worry. It will disappear on its own.
How Long Does a Dental Implant Last?
Implants are made to last for a long period of time. Some dental implants are made from titanium and do not undergo any degradation inside the body. This is the main reason for their longevity. If you take proper care of your implant, they can last for the rest of your life. However, it is essential that you carry out periodic checks for your oral health and the condition of your implant (Wingrove, RDH Magazine).
Are Dental Implants Recommended for People with Gum Disease?
Gum diseases cause the loss of natural teeth. If the condition is very complex or severe, then the chance of saving the affected tooth or teeth is slim. Your dentist may recommend that you replace the teeth with single or multiple implants. This, however, depends on the extent of the damage.
Susan Wingrove. “Focus on implant home care before, during, and after restoration”. RDH MAGAZINE. 33 (9).
Berglundh, T.; Persson, L.; Klinge, B. (2002). “A systematic review of the incidence of biological and technical complications in implant dentistry reported in prospective longitudinal studies of at least 5 years”. Journal of clinical periodontology. 29 (Suppl 3): 197–212.
Misch, Carl E (2007). Contemporary Implant Dentistry. St. Louis, Missouri: Mosby Elsevier.
Sinn, D. P., Bedrossian, E., Vest, A. K.; Bedrossian; Vest (2011). “Craniofacial Implant Surgery”. Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Clinics of North America. 23 (2): 321–335.