A dental implant is a small screw inserted into the jawbone, which serves as the replacement for the root portion of a missing natural tooth. Dental implants can be placed in the upper and/or lower jaw. They are traditionally made of titanium or titanium alloys. Due to the bio-compatible properties and strength of titanium, a dental implant integrates with the bone, and becomes a solid anchor for the replacement tooth. Dental implants can be used as solutions for replacing single or multiple missing teeth.
The fee for tooth replacement with dental implants depends upon the complexity of each case – the number of teeth being replaced and the number of dental implants required to support your replacement teeth. To obtain a specific fee estimate, it is necessary to consider several variables, including the surgery procedure, whether or not bone augmentation is required, lab work, the type of prosthetic restoration (crown, bridge, or denture), and the dentist’s and dental technician’s fees. After a thorough diagnostic examination, your dentist will recommend the treatment that is best for you. Although associated with higher initial costs, when compared to traditional cheap dentures, in many cases dental implants may offer a more convenient and cost-effective solution in the long term.
There are a number of reasons why you should consider dental implants: With the absence of the natural tooth root, the jawbone can recess. This bone loss will make your face look older than it actually is. Additionally, with dental implants therapy, there are no loose parts to worry about losing. The dental implant is stable and comfortable. No adjustment is needed after placement. Normally, dental implants will serve their owner for life.
According to a survey carried out with 10,000 patients in Germany, 66% of those questioned were “extremely happy” with their implant-supported restorations, 31% indicated they were “happy”. Of patients having conventional restorations, only 42% claimed to be “extremely happy” and 44% said they were generally “happy".
Like all surgical procedures, dental implant surgery poses some health risks, and therefore, patients should always consult a dental professional to evaluate whether dental implants are the optimal solution for them. Risks associated with dental implants may occur due to bad oral hygiene, an unfavorable bone pattern or the presence of pre-existing conditions (e.g., diabetes and osteoporosis). These factors depend on individual medical or other conditions of each patient. Though they exist, complications are rare, and when they do occur – they are usually minor and easily treated. Often, the site can be left to heal for a few months and the implant is successfully reinserted.
How long do teeth last? They should last a lifetime. However, we are all familiar with examples where teeth have not served for a person's lifetime. Improper dental care or lack of treatment when needed, are the most common reasons that originate dental problems. The same holds true for implants. With proper care and routine dental check-ups, implants should last a lifetime. No one can give guarantees, because the health of a person is dependent upon many factors which are out of the control of one's dentist, e.g., proper nutritional needs being met, proper hygiene, genetics, disease processes which might occur. So, the answer to this question really is that no one knows how long each individual implant will last. One's success can be influenced by the way you live and the quality of practitioner that you have chosen to do your implants. These things can tip the scales in your favor.
Anyone who is missing one or more teeth due to injury, disease or tooth decay may be a candidate for dental implants. The determining factors depend on the general and oral health conditions, and include the amount of available bone. Your dentist is the best person to evaluate whether dental implants are a viable solution for you.
The patient should be an adult with a fully matured jawbone. As soon as the jaw has stopped growing and is fully developed, it is possible to insert implants. There is no age limit, given of course that the patient does not display any significant medical risk factors.
Occasionally, older patients express concern that their age may prevent them from enjoying the benefits of dental implants. Health is more of a determining factor than age: If you’re healthy enough to have a tooth extracted, you’re probably healthy enough to receive dental implants. Certain chronic diseases may contraindicate dental implant therapy. Your dentist will determine if you are a candidate for dental implants after careful evaluation of your dental and health history.
Dental implants have many advantages over traditional tooth replacement methods. The materials used in implants are biocompatible with the human body, and offer greater strength and comfort than traditional dentures and bridges. The key benefits of dental implants are:
Dental implants look and feel like your own teeth! Since dental implants integrate into your jawbone, they prevent the bone loss and gum recession that often accompany bridgework and dentures. No one will ever know that you have a replacement tooth.
Preserve natural teeth:
Dental implants don't sacrifice the quality of your adjacent natural healthy teeth like traditional dental bridges do, as the teeth adjacent to missing teeth are normally ground down to be used as anchors for the dental bridge. This represents a significant long-term benefit to the retention of teeth and your oral health.
Preserve bone quality:
Bone loss, which happens in the jaw area when teeth are missing, or when using traditional tooth replacement methods, is reduced or stopped by dental implants. Implants transmit chewing forces to the jaw bones, and therefore help to maintain or even build up the jawbone, retaining its shape.
Permanent and reliable solution:
The success rate of dental implants is highly predictable. There are no loose parts to worry about losing. The dental implant is stable and comfortable. Normally, it will serve its owner for life.
The modern dental implant techniques have been scientifically tested and used for decades. For over 30 years, qualified dentists and oral surgeons are offering their patients this attractive long-term solution.
Dental implants will allow you to once again talk, laugh, eat and kiss with comfort and convenience! They are secure and offer freedom from the irksome clicks and wobbles of dentures. They'll allow you to say goodbye to worries about misplaced dentures and messy pastes and glues.
Dental implant-supported replacement teeth look, feel and function like natural teeth. You will, once again, be able to talk, laugh, eat and kiss with confidence. But most importantly, dental implants often improve quality of life in a very concrete way. People, who have felt embarrassed and worried because of their tooth problems, are often overwhelmed by what new permanent teeth can do for their self-esteem.
When dental implants are used in combination with modern restorative dentistry, their appearance, comfort and function are very likely to exceed your expectations. Often they are hard to tell apart from your natural teeth.
The journey towards a new smile may be less complicated and time-consuming than you would think. The conventional process can take from 3 to 6 months. First, the dentist places the dental implant, which is left for 3 to 6 months to heal and integrate with the jawbone. During the healing period, you may be given a temporary prosthesis until the permanent crown is put in place.
The procedure chosen depends on several factors, such as your dental health, the number of teeth involved and which teeth are replaced. These factors will also determine the total number of visits to the dentist throughout the treatment period.
Today, state-of-the-art guided surgical techniques are convenient alternatives, as they significantly simplify the procedure, for both patients and dentists. The major advantage of the guided surgical technique is the minimal amount of manipulation of the soft tissue due to keyhole surgery. This significantly reduces the healing time and the discomfort normally associated with traditional dental implant surgical techniques.
While any form of dental surgery does come with some discomfort, patients generally find that the pain of dental implants is minimal, and the results are well worth the recovery process. Placing one implant normally causes less discomfort then placing several. Local or general anesthesia and patient sedation are commonly administered to help reduce any discomfort during the procedure. Most patients report that they were much more comfortable following the procedure than they had anticipated. Your doctor will prescribe medications to ease any discomfort that may occur following the treatment. If you are concerned about discomfort during the procedure itself, ask your dentist to recommend another patient who has already had dental implant therapy to assess their personal experience.
Your doctor and his team do their best to minimize your discomfort, and start you off properly on the road to wellness. But the next phase, recovery, is in your hands. There is much you can do to assure that your recovery time is as short, painless and complication-free as possible.
Can I drive home?
If you were asleep for your surgery, it will take some time for your alertness and coordination to return to normal. You may also experience some blurring of vision following anesthesia. For these reasons, we recommend that you do not drive or operate machinery for the first 24 hours after surgery.
Will there be bleeding or bruising after the treatment?
It is normal to have some bruising and swelling in the gum and soft tissues. But usually the discomfort, if any, is treated with an ordinary painkiller. You should expect to be able to work the next day.
Some oozing of blood from the surgical site is common after dental implants. This may occur for up to 48–72 hours following surgery. Your doctor has placed gauze sponges over the surgical site. Please continue to bite down firmly on these sponges for the first hour after surgery to help stop any bleeding. Please remember spitting and rinsing aggravates and stimulates bleeding. If you had implants placed in the upper jaw or if you had a sinus graft procedure, bleeding from the nose is common. Do not blow your nose only blot and apply pressure.
When can I have something to eat?
About an hour after surgery, you may remove the gauze sponges that have been placed in your mouth and have something to eat. Be sure to eat foods that are soft for the first 24 hours after surgery. Avoid hot foods and drinks for several hours after surgery. Also do not drink from a straw for at least 24 hours. These precautions will give your mouth a better chance to heal properly.
Will my recovery time be painful?
The amount of discomfort you’ll feel after surgery usually depends on how extensive your surgery was. If your doctor did not give you a prescription for pain medication at the office, it is most probable that your discomfort will be minimal. The local anesthetic used during surgery will begin to wear off within 2 to 4 hours and you may begin to feel less comfortable after this time. Please take your first dose of the prescription pain medication after having something to eat and before the anesthetic starts to wear off.
Will my face become swollen?
Swelling often occurs as part of the natural healing process, especially after bone grafting procedures. Facial swelling usually increases for 3 to 4 days after oral surgery, soon after that it will begin to subside. The swelling may make it difficult to open your mouth wide or to swallow. You may also notice some bruising on your face where the surgery was done, or experience numbness or tingling of the lip and/or tongue on the affected side. If you had implants placed on both sides of your mouth, it's not uncommon for one side to be more swollen or uncomfortable that the other.
In most cases, you can help minimize the amount of swelling by applying an ice pack to your face over the area where surgery was done for the first 24 hours. If you had surgery on both sides, switch the ice pack from one side to the other every 30 minutes.
Is it normal to run a temperature after surgery?
Some patients develop a slight elevation in body temperature following oral surgery. You shouldn't be concerned unless your temperature rises above 38.5. If it does, please call your doctor.
Why do I need to take an antibiotic?
Dental implant surgery requires antibiotic therapy. Antibiotics are use to prevent infection on or around the dental implant or bone graft. It is important that you follow the dosage directions on the bottle and continue taking the medication until it's finished. If you should develop a reaction to the medication, such as skin rash, stop taking the medication and call your doctor.
Will I have sutures (stitches)?
Most oral surgical procedures require suturing the tissue together to aid healing. Most of the sutures we use fall out themselves over 3-5 days. Some sutures may need to be removed or take longer to dissolve.
Can I brush my teeth?
Good oral hygiene practices are as essential after oral surgery as at any other time. After 24 hours you can resume tooth brushing. It may also help to gently rinse your mouth every so often with mild salt water (1/4 teaspoon of salt in a glass of water). Do not use mouth wash or hydrogen peroxide rinses for 14 days.
Can I smoke?
No. Smoking of any kind after oral surgery interferes with the normal healing process and can increase your chances of developing an infection, failure of the implant and or bone grafts. Smokers have a higher risk of implant failure.
Yes. The doctor usually wants to see you 3 weeks following the surgery. Then you will be called for the second stage procedure to uncover the implant and place the healing abutment. This is usually 3 to 6 months after the implant surgery. If you had only a bone graft, the implants are usually placed 3 to 4 months following the grafting procedure.
You can resume light activities as soon as you feel up to it. We do ask, though, that you limit strenuous activities for about 3 days. Do not perform activities which require coordination or concentration while taking narcotic pain medication; this includes driving.
Impeccable oral hygiene is vital before and after an implant is placed. Your new teeth must be cared for and checked regularly, just like your natural teeth, to ensure satisfactory long-term results. You must brush and floss as recommended by your dentist or dental hygienist. See your dentist for regular check-ups and preventative appointments as advised.
After a detailed evaluation and treatment plan, standard dental implant procedure usually takes place in 3 stages:
Stage I: Surgical extraction of any diseased or damaged tooth, followed by insertion of the implants into the jawbone. The gums are then sutured, and the bone is given time to integrate with the implants. At this stage, patient is usually given a temporary prosthesis to wear.
Depending on the individual case, a temporary restoration may be placed on the implant during the healing stage. This allows the patient to already enjoy a natural looking smile early in the process.
Stage II: 3 to 6 months later, a small incision is made to the gum, so that the abutments can be connected to the implants. Temporary crowns are added, and the implants can now withstand the forces applied during chewing.
Until the implant is securely attached to the jaw bone, a healing phase of between 6 weeks and a few months is necessary – depending on the individual medical situation.
Stage III: Some 2-6 weeks later, the dental professional will take impressions of the patient’s mouth, including the abutments, to create a cast. The final crowns are fitted precisely, using an X-ray to check the accuracy. They are then fixed, or loaded, on to the implants. The third stage is usually completed within 4 to 8 weeks.
Total treatment time for most implant cases will usually be 5-8 months. It could be longer if bone or gum procedures are needed.
Other procedures include:
- Placing the implants and abutments at the same time, removing the need for the second surgical procedure.
- Placing the temporary crowns at the same time the implants are inserted, is known as immediately loading the implants.
Dental prosthetics range of solutions includes laminates, crowns, bridges and dentures.
A laminate is a thin, all-ceramic shell, custom-made to fit over existing teeth. Laminates can be used to repair chipped teeth or to improve the appearance of existing teeth.
A crown or cap is used to cover a cracked, broken or decayed tooth, to restore it to its natural size, shape, and color. A crown is fitted in two stages. First, any fillings and decay are removed and an impression of the tooth is taken to create a crown that looks like the original. A temporary crown is fitted. Then, when the new crown is available, the temporary one is removed and the permanent crown is cemented onto the tooth.
In the case of a missing tooth, a crown can be retained by an implant.
A fixed bridge replaces one or more missing teeth. It is usually fitted by cementing two crowns on to the natural teeth flanking the gap, to provide an anchor for the bridge. A bridge can also be fixed in place by implants. An all-ceramic dental bridge on dental implants is one of the best esthetic and functional solutions. A dental bridge on dental implants can prevent the teeth adjacent to the missing teeth from changing position to fill the gap, and can halt jawbone shrinkage.