Know all about Dental Implants


How Do I Fix Tooth Loss?

Tooth loss is a common problem which occurs with the ageing process. Besides old age, individuals may also experience tooth loss due to bad oral hygiene resulting in formation of plaque and consequent cavities, irregular dental check-ups, excessive smoking and drinking, diabetes, trauma, and teeth grinding (bruxism).

Tooth loss has several ill effects. It reduces the chewing ability of the individual, thereby limiting their food choices, resulting in poor nutrition. It also leads to sagging appearance of the face and impaired speech. This may in turn affect a person’s self esteem and heighten his/her self conscious. In such a situation, it becomes necessary to use surgical methods for the reconstruction of falling teeth.


Dental Implants can fill the gaps of your missing teeth in a natural looking way.

Dental Implants

Dental implants provide a permanent, natural looking and relatively less invasive solution to missing teeth.This procedure can be conducted on an outpatient basis in your dentist’s office. In most cases local anaesthesia is employed, however, oral or intravenous sedation can be opted for.

Dental Implants are also known as Tooth Implants and Endosseous Implants.

Who Are The Ideal Candidates For A Dental Implant Procedure?

Anyone who has realistic expectations can enjoy the benefits of a dental implant. Some features an ideal candidate would have include:

A patient who has sufficient bone density to support the implant.

Have gums free of disease. In some instances a patient may have to undergo periodontal treatment before the procedure.

Do not suffer from autoimmune disorders like diabetes that can impair healing.

Must be able to maintain good dental hygiene after the procedure.

What Are The Different Types Of Dental Implants?

Implants are frequently made of titanium and they can either be:

  • Subperiosteal implants: This is placed under the gum, but on or above the jawbone for people who have shallow jawbones.
  • Endosteal implants: These are placed in the jawbone and are shaped like screws, cylinders or plates.

The different kinds of dental implants, also called tooth implant are put in a similar three step procedure. Your dentist will first examine your mouth and then get X-rays of your jaw and teeth. After this, a series of appointments will be planned out for the procedure, these include:

  • One appointment for burying the implant into the root. After this process, the implant is allowed to heal for a few weeks.
  • In the next phase the dentist will insert a post called an abutment into the implant. These are either stock manufactured or custom made at your dentist's office. The gums are allowed to heal and grow around this abutment.
  • At the final appointment when the implants have been integrated with the bone, the false teeth are connected to them.

Some patients may require a bone graft or surgical extraction before the implant procedure, so the price for each patient may vary.



What To Do Before A Dental Implant Procedure?

  • Your mouth and teeth needs to be brushed, flossed and rinsed with mouthwash prior to the procedure.
  • Alcohol intake will have to stopped a few weeks prior to procedure. Alcohol is known to impair the implant's recovery.
  • Cigarette smoking should be stopped about two weeks before the procedure. Nicotine is a blood vessel constrictor and it can slow down healing. It is also not good for the regular maintenance of oral hygiene. 
  • Medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen, herbal supplements, vitamin E and vitamin A need to be stopped two weeks prior to the procedure. These medications thin the blood and prolong the recovery time.
  • Wear loose fitting clothes to your appointment, avoiding shirts with tight collars.



What Is The Post-operative Care For A Dental Implant Procedure?

  • Swelling can be managed by applying ice packs to the surgical site. This needs to be done continuously for at least the first 36 hours.
  • Bleeding is common after an endosseous implant aka dental implant procedure. If it is in excess, you can place a sterile gauze piece in between your teeth for about 30 minutes. If the bleeding doesn’t stop, you will have to consult your doctor.
  • Post operative pain medication and antibiotics need to be taken as per your doctor’s after care instructions.
  • Keep all physical activity including strenuous exercise to a minimum, as this can increase bleeding.
  • Dentures and prosthesis that a patient has been putting in the mouth since before the implants were in place, need to be avoided for at least 10 days post surgery. Using the dentures can lead to application of pressure on the new implants, before they have completely healed.
  • Schedule a postoperative appointment with your dentist in different recovery stages, first, to check wound healing and en to thremove any sutures. 

What Is The Diet For A Dental Implant Procedure?

Opt for liquids and pureed food for the first few days after your procedure.

Over the next few weeks, transition to solid food. It is advisable not to skip any meals.

Avoid food that is really hot, as it will take a few days for the sensation in your tongue to return.

Oral hygiene needs to be maintained after the procedure. This includes brushing and rinsing at least twice a day.

What Are The Realistic Expectations From A Dental Implants Procedure?

  • Patients will need to maintain good oral hygiene after treatment and equal care of dental implants is required as the natural teeth.
  • The bone, after placing the abutment can take nearly 6 months to grow and the different stages of healing after the dental implant can take between 3-9 months.
  • The abutment placed in your gums by your doctor will be visible until the last step of placing the artificial teeth is complete.
  • There exists a minor risk and complications in the procedure like swelling, bleeding and infection.
  • The procedure is not appropriate for all patients with missing teeth and only your doctor can determine whether you need, dental implants, bridges or dentures.
  • While more than 98.6% patients get a successful result, in some cases, the bone may fail to fuse with the metal implant. In such a case, you will need to undergo the procedure again.

What Are The Pros And Cons Of Dental Implants?

  • Pros

  • Cons

  • Lasts longer: Dental implants are built to last for longer durations as compared to the traditional restorations of teeth. Bridgework generally wears out in 5 to 7 years. Implants may need a few periodic fixes, but they can last a lifetime if properly placed.
  • No Harm to the healthy teeth: Conventional techniques like bridges and dentures damage the existing healthy teeth. Adjacent teeth have to be ground to fit in the bridges. However, implants are fixed in the bone, directly below the empty cavity, causing no damage to the already fit teeth.
  • Protection to jawbone: Continuous exposure to the jawbone due to a missing tooth may lead to bone resorption or decay in its height. Implants preserve the bone and encourage its natural growth.
  • Improved Appearance: Who doesn’t need a perfect set of teeth? Implants help you to achieve that perfect natural smile. It boosts your self-esteem and adds to your facial beauty. Also, the implant sizes are made according to each patient's dental measurements.

  • Infections at the implant site: Infections may develop in between the bone and the implant or under the crown applied to the implant. These are not frequent and can be easily treated with proper cleaning, disinfecting solutions and antibiotics.
  • Damage to surrounding structures: Implanting procedure may cause severe damage to adjacent nerves or blood vessels. This may lead to severe pain or absolute numbness. Specialized dentists use X-rays of the jaw structure to prevent interaction with nerves or vessels during the procedure.
  • Sinus problems: The migration of the dental implant into the maxillary sinus may lead to Sinusitis(extreme inflammation of tissue lining of sinuses) or other related problems. Thus, the displaced implant needs to be removed. This can be done with the highly reliable technique of bony window creation.
  • Crown fractures: Porcelain crowns applied over implants deteriorate or develop early fractures than those applied to natural teeth. Different material for crowns can be used to ensure longevity.

Who Should Avoid This Procedure?

Some people are more suited to dental bridges and dentures and less suited to an implant procedure. Those who are generally not good candidates for dental implants are -

  1. People with insufficient jaw bone thickness, length and height that cannot accommodate bone grafting and implants.
  2. People with untreated periodontitis are affected by loose teeth, inflammation and shrinkage of gums and are at high risk of implant failure due to infection.
  3. People with heart disease or renal problems and those have had organ transplants are more prone to infections and will need additional medication after the procedure.
  4. People with blood clotting disorders, uncontrolled type II diabetes, weak immune system should rethink about the surgery as they are prone to loosening of implants.
  5. People with unhealthy gums and teeth. You will have to be treated for these conditions before undergoing an implant procedure.
  6. People who suffer from bruxism, that is clenching or grinding of teeth.
  7. People who are chronic smokers. Smoking decreases blood supply healing gums and tissues and interferes with the implant bonding process.



What Are The Alternatives To A Dental Implant?

An alternative to bridges and dentures, dental implants are used to replace missing roots and support artificial teeth. In case a patient does not want to opt for tooth implants, s/he may can choose from certain other alternatives. 

A tooth-supported fixed bridge is the most common alternative to dental-implant and involves grinding away at healthy adjacent teeth to fix a dental bridge in the place of missing teeth. However, this procedure has numerous drawbacks as compared to dental implants. Not only is it much more invasive, but also a less permanent solution. Moreover, the natural bone under the fixed bridge may deteriorate over time changing the appearance of one’s jawbone. 

A resin-bond bridge can also be considered to replace missing front teeth. It is relatively less damaging because it does not require grinding of the adjacent teeth. However, it is not as sturdy as implants and typically, does not last as long. 

A comparatively less expensive and more temporary solution to tooth loss is removable partial or full dentures. However, these do not provide as natural a look as implants and may interfere with chewing and speaking abilities. 



Will Dental Implants Lead To Scarring?

Most surgeries achieve close to a 100% success rate. However, in some instances, scar formation may require a repeat of the implantation procedure. In some instances instead of a bone tissue forming around the implant, fibrous tissue begins to form which reduces the anchorage of the implant into the bone. This implant will have to be removed and the procedure will be repeated. After a successful implantation procedure, once the swelling subsides scar formations are indiscernible.



What Are the Temporary Side-effects Of Dental Implants?

The most common and temporary complications of a endosseous implant surgery include-

  1. Pain and slight discomfort - This can persist for 3-4 days after the surgery. Pain medication, as prescribed by your surgeon can help. 
  2. Minor bleeding - Bleeding can result due to minor tissue damage due to the implant procedure and subsides in 2-3 days as the tissues heal.
  3. Inflammation - Generally, x-rays are conducted before the procedure to locate nerves and prevent the risk of infection. If inflammation happens, it’s best to take medication as prescribed by doctor.
  4. Infection - Poor tooth cleaning can lead to infection near the mucous membrane in the mouth. Patients should practice strict oral hygiene to prevent buildup of bacteria.
  5. Swelling in gums and on the face - All swelling usually subsides in the first 3-5 days after the procedure.
  6. Bruising of the skin and gums - While minimal, bruising can occur due to use of equipment during the procedure. You will need to eat soft foods for 10-12 days after the surgery as the surgical site heals.



How To Choose A Surgeon For A Dental Implant Procedure?

Choosing a surgeon for a dental implant procedure requires careful consideration. While most doctors in accredited hospital pass rigorous training standards to be considered fit for treatment, the surgery mandates certain considerations to be observed.

  • A periodontist, who has specialized in gum tissues and bone growth is more ideal for performing a dental implant procedure than an oral surgeon.
  • Ensure that your doctor knows the best material suited for your implant and the type of anesthesia required.
  • Your doctor should be abreast with the latest techniques to perform the procedure and use best equipment in the field like surgical guides, 3D imaging software and ultrasonic cleaning.
  • Ask your doctor about the kind of dental lab that he uses and whether the lab if free of tin, aluminum and lead restoration material, that could be harmful to your health.
  • The success rate of the surgeon is very important. A success rate of 94% is ideal for choosing the surgeon.
  • Ask the surgeon how long he takes for the procedure. Ideally, the doctor should not take more than 30 minutes to perform one sitting of the procedure.

Choosing the correct surgeon will help you avoid problems like incomplete fusing of connector with implant, cutting into adjacent teeth and bone and bone loss due to incorrect positioning of the implant.

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