By Dr Yannopulos · Published June 7, 2019

Understanding dental implants

Understanding dental implants preview image

Preview image for Understanding dental implants

Providing a durable solution for lost teeth using prosthetic replacement teeth is what Dental implants do. They have been in use since 1970s, the advancement of technology has helped this device to be customer friendly and aiding dental health. Research suggests there have been attempts made in using dental implants in ancient history as well.

Dental implants were originally recommended for people who could not use dentures for lack of strong jaw bone. Even now, implants are suggested by dentists after checking on their oral health, precisely checking the jaw bone. This is because these prosthetic devices are implanted in these bones. The implant is fused with the jaw bone and mimics the natural teeth both structurally and functionally.

Implants are used to replace a single tooth or more teeth. They are custom made according to the need of the person. Technological advancements help to increase the surface area on which the bone can be attached to. This widens the coverage of people who can avail dental implants.

Prerequisites for implants and the types available

Anyone who needs to replace missing teeth can be a candidate for dental implants. They serve to restore teeth and also provide cosmetic treatment procedure. When to go for implants depend on the location of the teeth that are missing, the jaw bone where the implant is to be placed. Cost of the procedure and the individual preference of the person also influences when people decide on having dental implants.

Depending on the need of the person there is two types of implants that are generally prescribed. They are endosteal and subperiosteal. The former implant is placed in the jaw bone while the second type of implant is placed on top of the jaw bone.

Besides the known function of replacing missing teeth, dental implants provide few other benefits as well. Some are unable to hold removable dentures due to loss of jaw bone by wear and tear. Implants provide a strong base for the dentures to rest on. Neighbouring teeth do not get affected when implants are chosen. Single tooth replacement is one of the advantages of implants. Diseases like gum diseases can affect the strength of gums, this can be solved using the least possible number of implants.

Dental procedure

In order to understand the condition of the dental challenge, dentists will conduct the consultation. X rays, scans and oral examination are done to obtain a clear picture. After it is decided that the jaw bone can hold the incision, the procedure is planned. If the site where the dental implant is going to be placed has any teeth that will be removed. A cut will be made on the jaw bone to keep the titanium implant. This material is safe and sturdy and is not rejected by the human body. Next procedure after the surgery will be done after a few months as this area needs to be healed.

Surgery will be done conducted under anaesthesia, there will be a pain and discomfort after the effect wears off. Dentists will prescribe antibiotics and pain killers to tide over the pain.

Healing time varies from person to person. This is the time taken for the titanium implant to fuse with the bone. When the root of the tooth is set, a prosthetic is placed on top of this which will hold the replacement tooth or crown. In order to make sure that the replacement tooth is similar to the natural tooth, an impression of the tooth will be made. This custom made replacement tooth will then be fixed on top of the prosthetic device. The colour of the teeth can be chosen to be of the exact colour of natural teeth.

After the surgery, care needs to be taken as bleeding, infections etc. can happen as with any other surgery. Following the instructions given by the dentist after surgery need to be kept in mind. Inflammation will be felt around the area where the implant is placed. Having replacement teeth does not mean that one is safe from tooth related problems. Even with dental implants, proper care and oral hygiene need to be followed. Brushing and flossing need to be followed as well as dental consultations.

Benefits of dental implants

As mentioned earlier this involves dental surgery, it is a procedure that is done to replace teeth. Pain and discomfort will be there, but one can cope with it with medication. The advantages of going through this procedure are many. Implants are preferred to when compared with dental crowns and bridges. They boost the appearance of a person, one need not feel conscious of losing teeth. Dental implants unlike other prosthetics do not need the anchor and support of neighbouring teeth. Instead it supports other teeth. This procedure is long lasting and reliable solution if one takes good care of them. They provide long lasting care to dental health.

Dental implant is a reliable answer for those who have lost their teeth. Loss of teeth can be due to injury, trauma or tooth decay. Dental implants are prescribed not just for adults but for children also. If teeth lost is baby teeth, then dentists will not suggest implants as permanent teeth will appear in due time. But if they lose their permanent teeth, then this will be suggested. In the case of children, if the lost tooth is not replaced, then problems of teeth shifting and misaligned teeth can be experienced.

Before deciding on any type of dental treatment, it is important to have guidance and consultation with a dentist. Understanding which type of treatment is suitable for one’s condition can be decided with help from a dentist. Dental consultations are recommended at least twice a year. This helps in understanding one’s oral health. Changes in food habits also affect oral health, so also changes in lifestyle. Understanding which factors affect oral health and how to continue good habits for increased oral health is important. Oral health always reflects the general health of a person.