What are dental implants?
Implants are devices that replace the roots of missing
teeth, and are used to support crowns, bridges or dentures.
Implants are placed in your jawbone surgically. Most
of the time, implants feel more natural and secure than
other methods of replacing missing teeth, such as dentures.
What are the most common benefits
of dental implants?
Replacing a lost tooth is vital to
maintaining the overall health and function of the surrounding
teeth. It helps avoid tooth migration and loss of structure.
It is necessary to avoid loss of bone from the jaw in
that area. Having all of your teeth can make you more
self-confident. You don't worry that people notice that
you have teeth missing.
When teeth are lost, the area of the
jawbone that held those teeth starts to erode. Over
time, you can lose so much bone that your jaw will need
a bone graft to build up the bone in your jaw before
your dentist can place implants or make a denture that
fits properly. Tooth loss affects how well you chew
and what foods you are able to eat. Many people who
have missing teeth have poor nutrition, which can affect
The loss of teeth can change your bite,
that is the way your teeth come together. Changes in
your bite can lead to problems with your jaw joint,
called the temporomandibular joint. Losing teeth can
lead to changes in your speech, which also can affect
Dental implants are an effective means
of counteracting these problems. Dental implants are
also very strong and provide a feel as close to a natural
tooth as can be currently achieved. Further, implants
reduce the impact of the lost tooth on surrounding teeth,
as traditional bridge structures often require reduction
(filing down) of the two adjacent teeth to hold the
bridge in place with crowns. Implanting avoids such
alterations to the surrounding teeth when replacing
a lost tooth.
Dental implants, when replacing dentures,
provide even more benefits. Dentures are notorious for
slipping at the worst possible moments. Poorly fitting
dentures can even affect diet, restricting food selections
to easily chewed foods.
Implants eliminate the possibility
of slipping or pinching, and allow food of almost all
types to be eaten (other than extremely hard foods such
as chewing on ice, pits, or popcorn kernels, which is
very bad for the implants and not good for natural teeth,
either). In short, dental implants are the closest way
to surgically restore a natural tooth to its original
Implants Versus Alternatives
Depending on your particular problem, implants can be
more expensive than the alternatives (denture or bridge).While
the upfront cost for implants can be more than for other
types of restorations, the investment can pay off in
the long run. You do not necessarily need an implant
for every missing tooth. Your dentist can discuss how
many implants you will need .Other benefits of implants
Feel - Because implants are imbedded in your bone, they
feel more like your natural teeth than bridges or dentures.
Convenience - You will not need
to worry about denture adhesives or having your dentures
slip, click or fall out when you speak.
Nutrition - You will be able
to chew better with implants. Chewing can be difficult
with regular dentures, especially ones that don't fit
perfectly. A regular upper denture also covers your
palate, which can reduce your sense of taste.
Self-esteem - Because implants
are so much like your natural teeth, you will think
about them less. Your self-esteem and confidence will
be improved because you will not have to worry about
denture problems or people noticing that you have missing
teeth. Regular dentures also can affect your speech,
which can make you less self-confident when talking
What will happen at the initial
At the first appointment, the dentist will examine
your teeth and determine whether implants are the solution
to your dental problems. Often, x-rays are necessary
to discover the state of the jawbone, particularly if
the teeth have been lost for some time. Dentist may
even make dental models for better understanding.This
information can be used to determine if implants would
work for you and, if so, what particular type of implant
that would be best for your situation.
How are dental implant procedures
Under local anesthesia, the first step for many
implant procedures is the exposure of the bone where
the implant is to be made. This is followed by placement
of the implant into the exposed jawbone. Implants that
are placed in the bone are called endosteal implants
and are made of titanium or a titanium alloy because
this metal does not adversely interact with biological
After placement of the implant a cover
screw is put in and the wound is closed with stitches
and allowed to heal. In general, placements in the lower
jaw need to heal about three months, while placements
in the upper jaw need to heal about six months. After
healing, in a second surgical procedure, the implant
is uncovered, the cover screw is removed and a healing
abutment or a temporary crown is placed in the implant.
Temporary crowns are generally used for esthetic reasons,
when the implant is in a place that is visible. Both
healing abutments and temporary crowns allow the tissue
around the implant to be trained to grow around the
final prosthetics tooth. After about two months the
soft tissue will be healed to receive the final prosthetic
Impressions are taken to make a custom
abutment that takes into account the shape of the neck
of the implant. The prosthetic tooth is sometimes attached
to a cylinder that can be screwed into the abutment
or it can be directly cemented onto the abutment. This
multi-stage process, where the two surgical procedures
are separated by a lengthy healing time, has proven
to provide excellent stability in the final implant.
Single step surgical implants are available,
but skipping the healing step often loses some stability
of the final implant.Immediate placement with instant
crown has specific indications and may not suit every
How long does the surgery take?
Surgery time will vary greatly depending on the
number of dental implants. For each of the two visits,
one implant, going very smoothly, will take a little
over an hour. Time goes up proportionally from there.
Where will the procedure be performed?
The implant procedure generally occurs in the office
of a dentist,and doesn't require special operation theatre.Though
specialized equipment like physiodispensor, is needed
with good sterilization control.
How much pain is there?
Local anesthesia avoids the pain that would be involved
in the surgical procedures during implantation and uncovering
of the implant fixture. Most patients state that implants
involve less pain and discomfort than a tooth extraction
What can I expect after dental implants?
Following surgery, there will probably be some or no
bleeding, controlled by biting down on some gauze. Swelling
may be controlled using an ice pack. Gums are generally
sore after both surgeries for seven to ten days. You
may be given antibiotics to take during the period immediately
following the surgery.
What is the recovery period like?
Many people have very mild soreness, bleeding, or
swelling, which can be treated with first aid and over
the counter medicines and can return to work the day
In between the first and second surgery,
there is a recovery period of three to six months while
the implants associate with the bone. This growth of
the bones around the titanium posts may induce a few
weeks of soreness. This discomfort can usually be controlled
using over the counter medicine.
It is very important during your recovery
to practice scrupulous oral hygiene. Poor care, resulting
in chronic swelling of gum tissue, is a major contributor
to implant failure. You may need to see your dentist
about four times a year to keep track of the implant
What is the long-term outcome with
For most people, dental implants last between fifteen
and twenty-five years. They may last significantly longer,
but implantation is a new procedure and data has not
been gathered. Between about 5 and about 10% of implants
fail, but they often can be replaced with another implant
The primary consideration for the suitability of dental
implants for a particular patient is the amount and
condition of the bone in the area where the implant
is to be placed. With the loss of a tooth, the area
of the jaw without the tooth naturally undergoes resorption,
or a thinning, of the bone in that area. The less bone
available in which to place the implant, the greater
chance of the implant not "taking" in the
region. A common type of implant, called root form implants
due to their similarity in shape to a tooth root, actually
undergo a bonding with the surrounding bone called Osseo
integration. Without enough healthy bone at the implant
site, this process cannot occur and the implant will
There are two solutions commonly used
for highly resorbed bone in the area where the implant
is to occur. The first is bone grafting. This involves
undergoing a procedure that moves bone from one place
in the body to another to enlarge the bone structure
at the implant site. Often bone can be moved from one
place in the mouth to another. Sometimes a graft from
a donor or an animal or artificial bone can be used
if bone from the patient is not available. Grafting
usually is done four to eight months before the implant
procedure, to allow the graft a chance to heal before
it is disturbed with the implant process.
Other important information
A further consideration as to suitability for implants
is the patient's general health, especially whether
or not the patient smokes. Although the exact cause
of the connection is not known, dentists hypothesize
that the nicotine in the cigarettes, known to shut down
blood vessels, interferes with the healing of the dental
implants. Whatever the cause, heavy smokers are known
to have a higher failure rate for implants than those
who do not smoke. Other chronic conditions that affect
healing, such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes,
and immunosupression can also increase the chance of
Risks and Limitations:
The greatest risk following the surgical procedures
is that the implant will fail. For implants placed within
the bone, most failures occur within the first year
and then occur at a rate of less than one percent per
year thereafter. Location of the implant can also predict
the risk of failure. Implants in the back upper jaw
fail most often, followed by the front upper jaw, the
back lower jaw, and the most success seen in implant
of the front lower jaw. Overall, the success rate for
all implants runs from 90 to 95%. Most failed implants
can be replaced with a second attempt.
Dental Implant Costs
Implants can be a very expensive procedure, particularly
if a number of them are needed to restore the teeth
lost by the patient.
In United States and Europe , a single
tooth implant costs between about $1500 to about $4000(i.e
Rs 60,000-1,60,000). Full sets of implanted teeth can
run as high as $30,000. In general, insurance does not
cover the cost of implants.
However, in India, the costs range
from Rs 25000-50,000 per implanted unit as per the implant
(less expensive options are UNITI ,kos,
;moderately expensive are ALPHABIO and HI-TEC the most
expensive options are ENDOPORE,NOBELBIOCARE,BIOCON IMPLANTS).Implant
patients generally say that the results that were obtained
were worth the cost of the procedure.
|Be sure to:
||Tell your dentist about any allergies you have
(to foods, drugs, environmental elements)
||Tell your dentist about all medications you are
taking (both prescription and non-prescription)
Carefully follow any instructions your dentist gives