Despite the improvements in dental care, millions of people suffer from tooth loss, largely due to dental cavities, gingivitis, periodontitis or following trauma. For a long time, the only treatment options available for people with missing teeth were dentures and bridges. Bu today, there are dental implants!
What are dental implants?
The dental implant is an artificial root made of titanium placed in the mandible or jaw to support a crown or a dental bridge.
What are the advantages of dental implants?
There are many advantages of dental implants including:
- Improved aesthetic appearance. Dental implants look and feel like your own teeth and are designed to fuse with bone, becoming permanent.
- Improved speech. Dentures may slip in the mouth causing speech defects.
- Increased comfort. Dental implants are becoming part of the patient, eliminating the discomfort of a mobile prosthesis.
- Improved chewing. Dentures can make chewing difficult. Dental implants function as natural teeth allowing you to chew food with confidence and without pain.
- Improved oral health. Since the surrounding teeth are not affected – they don’t require polishing to support the implant – the patient’s teeth are kept intact, improving oral health in the long term. The works on the implant also allow easier access between interdental spaces, thereby facilitating better oral hygiene.
- They are comfortable. Mobile dentures are exactly as they are called: mobile. Dental implants eliminate the embarrassing inconvenience of removing the prosthesis, and the need to use adhesives to keep it in place.
- Dental implants have a success rate of up to 98%. With proper hygiene, implants are the solution of choice in all edentation classes and can have a long life.
What do dental implants entail?
The first step is the development of an individualized treatment plan. The plan addresses the specific needs of a patient and is prepared by a team of professionals of the clinic, specially trained and experienced in oral surgery and restorative dentistry. This team approach provides coordinated care based on the patient’s right implant option.
The first step consists in inserting the implant (the future root) in the jaw or mandible. Once inserted, the implant is perceived by the body as a bone fracture and thus begins the process of osseointegration. This process usually takes between 6 and 12 weeks. The next step is the prosthesis of the implant. After 6-12 weeks, a simple and fast process follows: a mold is taken, and on the inserted implant an abutment will be fixed, on which a dental technician will create the permanent dental crown. In this stage, the color of the prosthetic work is also chosen. Because the implant is placed in the jawbone, the tooth replacement will look, feel and function like a natural tooth.
Myths about dental implants
Dental implants are painful
Most patients say that there is very little discomfort involved in the procedure. Local anesthesia is used during the procedure, and most patients report that implants involve less pain than a dental extraction. There is some postoperative discomfort, as after any surgery, but it’s bearable due to analgesics and the patient’s compliance with a few indications given by the physician.
Dental implants require the same care as natural teeth
No! Dental implants require enhanced hygiene, more rigorous than that of natural teeth. Besides traditional methods of cleaning the teeth, interdental brushes should be used, floss, mouthwash and regular check-ups.
Dental implants are for life
Indeed, dental implants have a very long lifetime, but only if the patient has a healthy lifestyle, an impeccable hygiene, and regular checkups. Otherwise, patients with dental implants can lose them faster.
Dental implants are expensive. More expensive.
Yes. Dental implants are not cheap. But they aren’t the most expensive alternative.
Taking into account several factors in the long term, we conclude that dental implants are actually cheaper than a suite of interventions that an edentulous patient should undergo over several years. For example, a simple bridge with the necessary dental treatment can reach the price of an implant. Following this intervention, at least two teeth are affected, that within a few years can be irreversibly compromised, needing a series of additional costly procedures.