A dental implant is an artificial structure that resembles the natural tooth of a person. A dentist uses this structure to compensate the tooth loss.
What is a dental implant? (1)
A dental implant is a popular intervention for tooth failure. There are several reasons for tooth failure such as gum disease, tooth decay, tartar, and plaque build-up, and lack of oral hygiene. A dental implant is made of biocompatible material known as “titanium”. An implant is inserted into the jawbone. It acts as a building base of the crown, which is an artificial tooth. The abutment is then used to connect the implant with the crown. The crown is customized according to the oral needs of the patient. It matches the colors and structures of the rest of the teeth. It gives the feel of a natural tooth.
Why it is necessary?
A healthy smile has a great impact on a person’s appearance. With a missing or a damaged tooth, a person hesitates to communicate or smile. A dental implant enhances the virtual aspects of someone’s life. A dental implant gives the feel of a natural tooth, so a person can enjoy a meal easily, communicate and address confidently. A dental implant is not needed to be removed before brushing and flossing. One can easily floss and brush by having a dental implant inside.
Benefits of a dental implant
A dental implant has several benefits over dentures. Dentures are also a type of artificial teeth that are not for permanent use. A dental implant:
- Is more comfortable and realistic
- Has higher success percentage
- Improves eating functions
- Induces lower cavities threat to surrounding teeth
- This leads to good bone maintenance at the target site
- Causes less sensitivity in surrounding teeth
- Does not need to be removed and rinsed every night
However, this treatment is not meant for everyone. Those with weak bones cannot handle dental implants effectively.
Types of a dental implant
A dental implant has been categorized into two types.
- Endosteal implant
- Subperiosteal implant
- Endosteal implant
It is the most predominant type. In this type, the implant is embedded into the jawbone. Each implant can fasten more than one crown.
- Subperiosteal implant
This type of implant is suitable for individuals who do not have sufficient height of the jawbone. The implant is simply fixed on the roof of the jawbone and is then connected to the crown.
Techniques used in the dental implant (2)
At first, the surgeon examines the physical condition of the patient. He may consider the following factors during examination:
- Patient’s general health
- Condition of jaws and mucous membrane
- Position, size, and shape of jawbones
- Position, size, and shape of opposite and adjacent teeth
A surgeon plans the dental implant procedure based on factors of examination, because several health conditions lead to failure of the procedure. This impacts the decision taken by a surgeon. Some cases such as osteoporosis, smoking, diabetes, and poor oral health conditions cause peri-implantitis or implant failure. Based on such elements, the surgeon decides whether to conduct surgery or not.
In the case of surgery, a surgeon makes an acrylic guide to demonstrate the accurate angle and positioning of the implant.In some cases, models made of plaster are used to determine the appropriate position and number of implants required. Computed tomography (CT) scans or X-rays are used to check the inner oral conditions and bone density. These two factors lead to successful implantation.These images are loaded into a CAM/CAD software program to imitate the expected results.
A tiny incision is made in the gum. A hole is drilled in the exposed bone to alter the site according to the requirement. This procedure can be done in one as well two stages.
In the single-stage technique, a healing cap is placed over the implant embedded in the prepared location. The healing cap is removed after the process of osseointegration. This process takes almost 3 to 6 months. After that abutment is affixed to the implant and a crown is positioned over it.
In a two-stage technique, the implant is covered by the cover screw. The surgeon sews the gum over the screw. The site is allowed to heal. Then an incision is made on the gum to expose the implant and the healing cap is attached to it. The period of gums’ healing is then followed by the removal of the cap. The abutment is then fixed on the implant, which acts as a connecting element between the implant and the crown.
Fitting of bridges or crown
Gums take almost forty days to heal. At this point, another mouth’s impression is taken with a CT scan or X-ray. With the help of the impression, a teeth model is created. This model is important in the construction of the bridge or the crown. The crown or bridge is bonded over the abutment. The surgeon then assesses the function and appearance of the complete implant. He makes sure that the lower and upper jaw joins together appropriately.
Expected complications in dental implant
A patient may suffer from multiple complications such as:
- Nerve damage, causing an altered sensation
- An unfolding of incision
- Implant’s movement
- Implant’s exposure above the gum line
- Infection at the site of implant
The failure rate of dental implant
The failure rate of a dental implant depends upon the procedure, maintenance, and hygienic conditions of the oral cavity. If a person has a proper surgical treatment and then maintains the oral hygienic conditions, then the dental implant lasts longer than expected. However, the failure rate is about 10% only. It is considered a safe procedure. In the United States, about 3 million people have dental implants. The risk of failure increase in patients with:
- Smoking habits
- Para-functional habits
- Psychiatric disorders
Cost of dental implant
The cost varies from region to region. The main elements that influence the cost are:
- Implants’ number
- Implants’ types
- Implants’ location
- Additional procedures
In comparison to dental implants, bridges are less costly. But their maintenance and replacement boost the overall cost.