Dental Implants – An Excellent Remedy to Dental Problems
Some or the other time, a moment comes in our life when we face the bitter truth of tooth decay. How much ever we take care of our teeth and clean them, some food particles are left behind, caught within the teeth and collect microbes that go on eating our teeth, making them ache like hell and eventually, we decide to get our teeth extracted. But one remedy has given all of us a huge relief – it is dental implant. Today even same day dental implants (teeth-in-a-day) are available wherein you get the implant done within 48 hours! Here I would like to mention that, while it is possible to get dental implants in one day, please be aware that these implants have somewhat higher failure rates than regular implants. But let’s first know about dental implants.
Who can Get Dental Implants?
Anyone who has lost a tooth/teeth can get dental implants. However, some other factors also decide if dental implants would be right for you, e.g. your overall health. Conditions and diseases like uncontrolled diabetes, smoking, cancer and radiation to the jaws, uncontrolled gum disease or alcoholism may decide whether the implant will fuse with your bone or not. Therefore it is important that your dentist should know your entire medical history and medicines you are taking, whether prescribed, OTC or alternative.
A detailed examination is also required regarding how and where the implants are placed. This requires compilation of records including models of your oral cavity and bite, and also x-rays which may include computerized tomograms (3D CT scans). Computer imaging helps ensure that the implants can be positioned exactly at the right place in the bone.
Is Bone Lost too when Tooth/Teeth is Lost?
Bone always requires stimulation so as to maintain its density and form. The bone that surrounds and supports a tooth is a sac-like (alveolar) bone and it gets stimulation from the tooth itself. Naturally, when tooth is lost, there is no stimulation for the alveolar bone, and so, yes, the bone is lost after tooth loss. The width of this bone reduces by 25% during the 1st year of tooth loss and the loss increases during the next few years.
Teeth loss is not limited to affect our looks. Because more and more teeth are lost, the bone supporting them is also lost which leads to functional problems. Further, after the loss of alveolar bone, the basal bone (bone below it) or jawbone proper also starts melting away (resorb).
Dental Implant Surgery
Your dentist’s team assesses and plans a dental implant surgery for you, which includes placement and restoration. Restorations include bridgework, crowns or dentures that sit atop the implants and can be seen from outside. The team may consist of a periodontist, dental surgeon or a general dentist having an advanced training in dental implant surgery, a restorative dentist (whose job is to plan and place tooth restorations) and a lab technician who fabricates restorations.
The surgical procedure includes creation of precision channels in the jawbone, normally with the help of a surgical guide. The implants are then placed into the sites in such a way that they are in close contact with the bone. Usually two to six months are required for the implant to fuse with the bone before tooth restorations can be attached to them to finish the process.
Alternatives for Dental Implant Replacement
Single Tooth Replacement: Immediately or after the healing period of placing the implant, an abutment is fixed to the implant. This device does the job of “abutting” or joining the implant to an artificial tooth or crown. The crown is fabricated by a dental laboratory in such a way that it will match your natural teeth. This custom crown is screwed on the abutment to keep it permanently in place. Once it is placed, it should be impossible to differentiate it from your natural teeth.
Multiple Tooth Replacement: With single tooth replacement, temporary abutments or healing caps can be positioned on multiple implants till there is total healing. Once healing is completed, permanent abutments are fixed to the implants. Custom-made bridgework or crowns fabricated by the dental lab can be attached. The final step consists of cementing or screwing of the custom bridge that replaces multiple teeth on the abutments. The teeth are replaced carefully without disturbing the neighboring healthy teeth and bone loss is thus prevented.
Detachable Implant-supported Tooth Replacement: If you have lost all your lower teeth, two to six implants may be used for supporting a lower denture, depending upon the design of detachable restoration. In case of missing of all upper teeth, at least four implants may have to be used for supporting an upper denture. Detachable dentures are usually used to replace an extensive loss of teeth, bone and gum tissue, thus offering support to the cheeks, lips and facial skeleton. The new denture can possess attachments that clip or snap it in place on the implants. Or a customized milled bar can also be fabricated for extra support and strength for the restoration. The variations in design are usually associated to bone density and number of implants. During consultation, these options will be discussed with you by your dentist. The prime advantage of detachable denture is ease of cleaning.
Same Day Dental Implants
Same day dental implants and temporary tooth/teeth are placed within 48 hours unlike traditional dental implant surgery where the implants are left for many months to heal before placing the restorations (crown, denture or bridge) on them. In the same day dental implants too, permanent crowns are attached in place of the temporary teeth after the healing period. Also the surgery is carried out using the surgical guide. Actual procedure to insert the implant is fairly quick and can usually be done under a local anesthesia. If multiple dental implants are involved in the surgery or if you are quite nervous, you can ask for extra sedation. Once the surgery is completed, your replacement tooth/teeth are attached to the implant.
Same day dental implant has a major advantage of reduced treatment time with only a single surgery involved. Plus, in this procedure, the temporary crown shapes up the gum tissue so as to match the permanent crown, whereby better aesthetics is achieved.
Risks involved are chances of failure with even with the slightest movement and suitability of the technique to only specific situations. But considering the fact that all implant surgeries involve at least a small amount of risk, same day dental implant is worth considering.