Dental Implants

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Dental Implants

Dental implants are artificial tooth roots used to support a restoration for a missing tooth or teeth, helping to stop or prevent jaw bone loss. The dental implant procedure is categorized as a form of prosthetic (artificial replacement) dentistry, but also is considered a form of cosmetic dentistry.

People who have lost teeth might feel too self-conscious to smile or talk. Additionally, biting irregularities caused by tooth loss can have a negative effect on eating habits, leading to secondary health problems like malnutrition.
By replacing missing tooth roots, dental implants provide people with the strength and stability required to eat all the foods they love, without struggling to chew. Additionally, dental implants stimulate and maintain jaw bone, preventing bone loss and helping to maintain facial features.

Tooth Loss

Teeth are lost because of:

  • Tooth decay
  • Root canal failure
  • Gum disease (Periodontitis)
  • Trauma to the mouth (tooth injury)
  • Excessive wear and tear
  • Congenital defects

Dental Implants: Consultation, Placement, and Recovery

To determine if implants are right for you, a consultation with your dentist, oral surgeon, and/or periodontist or prosthodontist is needed. During this appointment, your dental professional will thoroughly examine your teeth and gums and evaluate bone density and quantity. This may involve X-rays and computer tomography scans (CT scans) to ensure there is sufficient bone structure for placing the implant(s), and to determine exactly where the implant should be placed.

Based on the condition of your oral tissues, oral hygiene and personal habits, and commitment to follow aftercare instructions, your dentist will advise you of the most appropriate dental implant treatment plan. Some patients with insufficient bone or gum tissue require bone or soft tissue grafts and/or the use of small diameter implants (also called mini implants).

Depending on your situation, your dental professional will advise you of how long the entire treatment process will take, how many appointments will be necessary and what you can expect after each procedure. During the consultation, options for local anesthesia (to numb the affected and surrounding areas) and sedation dentistry, if necessary, also will be discussed

The Dental Implant Placement Procedure:

Today’s dental implant restorations are virtually indistinguishable from other teeth. This appearance is aided in part by the structural and functional connection between the dental implant and the living bone. Implants are typically placed in a single sitting but require a period of osseointegration.

Osseointegration is the process by which the dental implant anchors to the jaw bone. Osseointegrated implants are the most commonly used and successful type of dental implant. An osseointegrated implant takes anywhere from three to six months to anchor and heal, at which point your dentist can complete the procedure by placing a crown restoration. If osseointegration does not occur, the implant will fail.

Dental implantation, which is performed to replace missing teeth, can be done any time after adolescence or when bone growth is complete. Certain medical conditions, such as active diabetes, cancer or periodontal disease, may require additional treatment before the implant procedure can be performed.

Implant Surgery Follow-up and Aftercare:

For five to seven days after surgery, your diet should be restricted to soft foods. If stitches are present, they may need to be removed by your dentist; however, self-dissolving stitches that do not require removal are typically used.

If provisional restorations were placed along with the dental implant, it will be important to clean them as you would your natural teeth to ensure the best possible healing and fusing of the implant.
Failure to floss and brush is a leading cause of implant failure, and infection can occur if the implant and surrounding areas are not cleaned properly. Smoking also is attributed to high failure rates with dental implants and should be avoided following implant procedures.

Dental Implants Recovery:

Dental implant recovery depends on a number of factors, one of which includes the various procedures required to complete your treatment. However, it is generally recognized that once an implant has been placed, maintaining diligent oral hygiene habits is required to ensure proper fusing of the implant and bone structure. If cared properly, an implant restoration can remain in place for more than 40 years.

After the initial surgical procedure, discomfort should be minimal. Swelling of your gums and face may occur, as well as minor bleeding and bruising of the implant site. Prescription pain medications may be prescribed by your dentist to relieve any pain or discomfort you feel after the procedure.

Healing from the surgical procedure to place the dental implant(s) takes up to six months, while the fitting and seating of the crown(s) can take up to two months. Again, this timeframe depends on individual cases and treatments. Follow-up appointments with your treatment coordinators are essential for monitoring your progress.

Minor surgery

The most common procedures are

Tooth Extraction

There are several reasons for extracting a tooth. These include:

  • Severe Tooth Damage/Trauma
  • Malpositioned/Nonfunctioning Teeth
  • Orthodontic Treatment
  • Extra Teeth
  • Radiation
  • Chemotherapy
  • Organ Transplant

Commonly Extracted Teeth:

Wisdom teeth removal is one of the more common categories of tooth extraction. Many dental professionals will recommend removing wisdom teeth (third molars) before they are fully developed — usually in the adolescent years — to help eliminate potential problems. One problem that could occur is development of an impacted tooth that has surfaced and has no room in the mouth to grow. Other problems associated with impacted teeth include infection, decay of adjacent teeth, bite interference and gum disease.

Types of Tooth Extractions

Simple Extractions: These are performed on teeth that are visible in the mouth. General dentists commonly do simple extractions, and most are usually done under a local anesthetic, with or without anti-anxiety medications or sedation.

Surgical Extractions: These involve teeth that cannot easily be seen or reached in the mouth, either because they have broken off at the gum line or they have not fully erupted. Performed by dentists or oral surgeons, surgical extractions require some type of surgical procedure, such as bone removal, removing and/or lifting and folding back all or part of the gum tissue to expose the tooth, or breaking the tooth into pieces (called tooth sectioning).

Surgical extractions can be done with local anesthesia and/or conscious sedation. Patients with special medical conditions and young children may receive general anesthesia.

Apicoectomy

A surgical removal of the root tip and the surrounding infected tissue of an abscessed tooth.

Tissue regeneration:

Surgical procedure involves grafting the bone to offer a better chance of destroyed bone to regrow and strengthen the gum as well.

Surgical curettage:

A gum flap surgery performed to reduce the pocket gaps between teeth and gum.

Gingivectomy:

A surgical procedures In which excess soft tissue is removed.
The gum usually heal within one week and teeth contours are restored.

Nowadays many surgical procedures can be done simpler with laser technology on both soft and hard oral tissues