A Reason to Smile
How Do They Work?
Dental Implants are metal roots made of titanium, inserted into the bone to replace your missing natural teeth. They can be used to replace single or multiple teeth and in fact are a very convenient way of stabilising your old denture which keeps flopping in your mouth.
Titanium has a unique property by which the metal roots form a bony bridge with the surrounding natural bone. They are also known to prevent further bone loss and therefore useful in preserving bone going forward into old age. When the implant is placed in the jaw, it integrates in a matter of 3-6 months at which point it starts behaving like a part of your own body.
Is It Painful?
This is the most common fear of all patients and rest assured the procedure can usually be performed under local anesthetic with some sedation if required. In a normal course they should not be more difficult than your extraction, but some sites may be difficult, which may require more time to implant and integrate.
How Long Does It Take?
Many implant restorations today can be provided immediately or in a very short time span after implants are placed. However depending on the quality of bone and other local factors it may take anywhere from 3-9 months or rarely even more for process to be complete.
What To Expect After The Implants Are Placed?
It is normal to have some pain and swelling at the implant site after surgery. Your dentist will explain all the relevant complications that you may expect after the procedure. Fortunately in a well performed procedure the risks are very low. Especially in the lower jaw at the back there are certain nerves which can be present in the vicinity of surgery which can make them not to work well in the immediate phase after surgery. Most of it settles down without issue.
Is There A Risk Of Failure?
Like any foreign body implantation there is certainly a risk of failure, although this is about 2-3% in general. Sometimes this can be higher if there are any health related issues, smoking or poor quality and quantity of bone.
What Is Bone Graft?
Absolute minimum requirement for a successful implant treatment is adequate bone volume. Unfortunately due to age related changes and bone resorption there may not be adequate bone necessary to place an implant. In these circumstances your dentist will request a bone graft, by a specialist. This means a small amount of bone is taken form your lower jaw and grafted to the deficient site. There is a good chance of this taking up and leading to successful implantation. In recent times bone substitutes derived from bovine bone or even artificial crystalline materials have replaced many situations where bone graft was considered the only option in past.
What Is A Cone Beam CT Scan?
This is a special investigation requested by your dentist who will then use the images to plan the implant treatment. This is very helpful tool as one can develop replica of your bone not only to study them but can perform virtual surgery to know the risks even before the actual surgery happens.
As with any aspect of science, dental implants have been researched extensively and are now used very commonly across the world. They were very expensive to begin with and now gradually due to advances in material research technology and demand they have become more affordable than ever before. They still remain relatively expensive but taking into consideration long term costs and trouble with bridge and dentures they are cost effective in providing an optimal solution.