What are Dental Implants?
A dental implant is an artificial tooth root made of titanium, which looks like a screw that is placed into
your jaw to hold a replacement tooth or bridge of teeth. This implant is used to provide a support for tooth
that is being restored, preventing jaw bone loss.
It works on the principle of the bioprocess called Osseointegration, where elements like titanium are
bonded to the bone. In this bioprocess, the implant fixture is initially placed for osseointegration and after
the required healing time has passed, the dental prosthetic is then attached to the implant.
Dental implants basically help people with teeth loss to gain the strength and stability to eat normal food
without trouble with chewing. They also stimulate and help maintain the jawbone, bone loss prevention
and supporting facial features.
Dental Implants have the following advantages:
- Prevents damage of the healthy teeth
- Improved appearance and increased efficiency in chewing
- Can provide support and stability for the teeth
- No pain and discomfort that comes with removable dentures
- Eliminates the use of adhesives when compared to conventional dentures.
Types of Dental Implants
The dental implants that are categorized based on the type of procedure used to place them are:
- Single-Stage Dental Implants:
In this procedure, a longer implant is surgically placed into the jaw, basically on the jawbone. The top edge of the implant is at level with the gum tissue, which is then closed or stitched leaving only the implant’s head exposed. This procedure does not require another minor surgery for the attachment of the abutment and temporary restoration to the already accessible implant’s head.
- Two-Stage Implants:
In this procedure, the doctor will perform a surgery where the implant is placed into the jawbone and then the gum tissue is closed or stitched. After the healing has completed a couple of months, the doctor will perform a minor surgery for the abutment attachment in order to provide temporary restoration. An example of this type of implant is explained below:
The patient must have the following for the doctor to perform the dental implant procedure:
- Healthy gum tissues, free of periodontal disease.
- Good general and oral health.
- Adequate bone in the jaw is needed to support the implant. Dental Implant Procedure The different processes involved in the procedure for dental implants are:
- Preparing the Jaw for Implantation: A dental implant restoration is usually composed of a titanium materialscrew and a crown. On the jaw-site where the implantation is to be done, a small-diameter hole (pilot hole) is drilled in order to guide the titanium screw that holds the implant in place.
- Placement: The initial hole that was drilled earlier is slowly widened to allow placement of the implant screw. The surrounding gum tissue will secure the implant and a protective cover screw is then placed on top to allow the site to heal and osseointegration to occur. The dentist will then uncover the implant and attach an abutment, which holds the crown. After the abutment is in place, a temporary crown is created. The process is finally completed when the temporary crown is replaced with a permanent crown.
- The doctor might prescribe pain medications like Tylenol et al to deal with the mild soreness and pain that follows this procedure.
- The patient has to take proper care of the dental implant by brushing, flossing and rinsing with an anti-bacterial mouthwash at least twice a day.
- Periodic maintenance of the dental implants and the teeth has to be done through regular dental checkups.
Authored By Dr Sanjay N - Orthodontics & Dentofacial Orthopaedics, Bangalore